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7 Things One Should Know Before Joining A Startup

Working for a startup can be an exciting, inspiring experience, allowing you to get into the real business world and enhance your learning on the ground floor of what could be the next big thing

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With small businesses responsible for nearly half of all private-sector employment, it is inevitable that a startup will eventually be part of your interview process.  The startup India and digital India programs soaring high in the Indian economy explains the growth of entrepreneurs as well as the making of a skilled workforce. Working for a startup can be an exciting, inspiring experience, allowing you to get into the real business world and enhance your learning on the ground floor of what could be the next big thing.

USP/Value Proposition

The individual should look at the products or service offerings of the firm and its unique service proposition. The candidate should also consider the kind of value that the company can add to their customers. The candidates are also advised to check whether the offering can solve any of the burning issue/ current challenges in the market. The offering must bring innovation and provide superior technological benefits.  The service or product offered by the company should also satisfy value for money and should be reliable for the targeted clientele. In short, the USPs of a Startup should be completely satisfactory for their discerning customers and should look at the challenges from a different angle. Today is the time to sail against the winds and startups must find innovative approaches to address the needs of their clients.  There is no sense of working for a startup where the candidate cannot challenge his own capabilities and utilize His true potential to the fullest. 

Promoter credentials, their Track record, Management Team, and Investors

The track record and credentials of the promoter and Management team should be carefully evaluated. An entrepreneur with leadership skills is the quintessential part of a startup, and the complete management team with all the qualities of a perfect leadership is also important. This is one of the key parameters to take a decision whether it is worthwhile joining the firm. Understanding the fundraising strategies and the background of the investors is very important otherwise this may have an impact on the scalability of the offering in the long run. When the investors are global, they would certainly bring a variety of experience and expertise to the startup. Right from a small startup to a grown organization, promoters’ credentials and successful track record of the management team should be considered important while joining the company. It is said that the foundation must be strong to build a better organization. Therefore before taking the decision of entering any of the startups the potential candidate must check the complete hierarchy of the management and their background.

The addressable market for the product or service, and Potential to grow 

“The market size” or “the potential for the offering”, plays a major role for the startup. Scalability of the product or service is critical to take a decision whether the firm can sustain the short term and long term headwinds in the industry or market. Innovation is the key in the market; hence every product or service that enters the market should address the existing issues or should provide the needful services.  In case if a Startup fails in the field of innovation and R&D, candidates should stay away from such organizations rather than making a hasty decision.  One needs to evaluate whether the offering is a copycat or new innovation which is first of its kind in the market, as it means a lot if the organization is a leader or follower in the industry. To understand, if the offering has high entry barriers and intensive investments, the survival of the firm can be very high compared to a low entry barrier business.


Your passion towards the Products or the Services offering of the company is the real decision point that you will stay with your organization for long or part your ways sooner than decided. Right from the invention of the bulb to the airplane, it was the passion that drove the entrepreneur or the leader and their workforce to achieve their goal.  With the evolution of Technology and Science, there have developed uncountable avenues of work field where a people can show their true potential driven by their passion. Passion has always been a key factor to succeed in anything that we do, in that way the individual should have a clear understanding and interest in the products or services offering of the firm. As the wise have said be with people who are equally passionate as you and follow the leaders who can motivate you to become even more passionate and dedicated to your work.

Societal impact, Macro or Micro Economic environment and Political Scenario

As we see today the offerings which have a high societal impact will last long with the customers. With the development of society and economy, people are having higher disposable income than before, and the requirements in daily life have also increased. The services or products which can be part of daily essentiality of people have the maximum probability to grow and flourish. The startup firms would get a major boost from the policymakers and the governments where the offering has a high impact on the society.  This is advisable that one should target his career in industrial vertical which has a greater consumer base because that ensures the stability and future growth of the organization.

Work Culture, Ethos and Values of promoter team

Work culture, ethos & values, the way it deals with stakeholders of the organization matters a lot when it comes to a promoter-driven company. It is important to understand and gauge the clear intentions of the promoters whether they are here to stay long term or to create value and sell the firm on reaching a certain mass. This can be drawn from the teams and people closely work with the promoter team and infer some of the data points from the discussions. Empowerment, Freedom to take decisions and allowing employees to take risks are a good sign of promoter’s intentions of building a highly capable team and an organization.

One needs to look at the startup as a platform that provides an opportunity to create wealth, long-term equity and profit sharing or not just as another employment. The individual needs to think thoroughly whether it’s really worth jumping into a startup which has a toll on work-life balance and financial stress. As the millennials have the tendency to look for an accelerated growth, startup companies can pave a way for a fast track career growth.

Financial risk

On the risk side, as there is always an uncertainty of the market growth one should prepare themselves to face certain financial risk when stepping into a start-up. Although Domestic and international banks extending their services to Financially help the startups and even the grown organizations have made it simpler for the new Ventures to enter the market,  yet the potential financial risk of failure of the startup model or underperformance of the services/ products can hamper the startups in long run.  The evolution of BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance) sector has also helped the startups to establish themselves and gain grounds.  This is suggested that before joining a Startup the candidate should analyze the financial risk sector of the company and take the decision accordingly.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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startup entrepreneurship

Venkat Rao V

The author is Managing Partner of Executive Access, a leading executive search firm

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