Pros and cons of working in a start-up environment

startupAt a time when there is palpable enthusiasm among professionals about working in a start-up environment, there are certain key points which must be evaluated by the aspirants before taking a leap into the start-up arena. Ritesh Raj Gupta, VP-technology at AaramShop, a three year old start-up, shares his thoughts.AaramShop is a three year old start-up which is currently enabling more than 2,800 kiranawallas spread across 31 cities in India to reach out to its internet savvy customers through a web-based FMCG retail platform. This is an innovative business model where the brick and mortar, local mom and pop stores are getting a mileage from extending their business in the online front as well.

Ritesh Raj Gupta, vice president-technology, AaramShop, has been at the helm of devising innovative technology strategies based on cloud computing, mobile apps as well as analytics tools to boost this evolving business. He has been working with the start-up since its inception and has firsthand experience of what it takes to work and succeed within a challenging start-up environment.

At a time when there is a lot of excitement among young graduates as well as seasoned professionals about working in a start-up environment, Ritesh talked about the pros and cons of working in a start-up environment which an individual should carefully evaluate before taking a leap.

What are the challenges of working in a start-up environment, which individuals must be aware of?

1) Job role not limited to one business function: When you opt for working in a start-up you would be expected to get your hands dirty with multiple business functions within the organisation.

One day you are a techie and the next day you might be required to try your hand on design. And if you are a marketing person, you may be required to work in logistics or even packaging. This could be a big let-off for many individuals, but it eventually trains you to become a better manager.

2) Limited infrastructure: While working in a start-up that is trying hard to carve its own niche and establish itself, you might not get to work in swanky offices at best locations or have access to latest gadgets and software. If you are expecting a luxurious work environment, then you should think twice before planning to join a start-up.

4) No fixed working hours: Regular office hours are an unknown term in almost all start-ups. The reason being, these businesses are just starting and trying to establish a foot hold in the market already flooded with established players. So, the resources in a start-up have to work twice as hard as other established players.

5) Job security: A lot of start-ups don’t survive more than two years and usually there is a big risk involved when it comes to whether the business would take off successfully or not. If you are planning to join a start-up, you should be aware of this aspect linked to job security.  

What are the motivations for an individual who wants to chart a successful career path in a start-up? 

1) Rich experience and extensive exposure: As you are required to work in multiple domains within a start-up, you gain rich hands-on experience in multiple business functions. Such an experience enriches the individuals with valuable understanding about how a business functions and what it really takes to make a business successful. Such an exposure is rare to obtain in large enterprises.

2) Thinking innovatively: While you work in a start-up, you are expected to continuously keep creating new things. While doing this, the approach of an individual towards issues becomes more and more innovative. You start learning the art of focusing on solutions rather than the problem and this helps you to evolve as an innovator.

3) Strong business relationships: Through your journey in a start-up, you would have to interface with a large number of individuals belonging to different business functions. You will be continually meeting new people and building great business contacts that will last you throughout your career. Perhaps one of those new business contacts will become the catalyst that leads you to your next job.

4) Achievement: Once the start-up becomes successful you will have an unmatched sense of achievement and pride. You will cherish the long work hours and other efforts you have put in.

5) Monetary gains: Most start-ups work on a very tight cash flow. All funds, which are generated through any source, are put into the product R&D, development or marketing. Hence, in most of the start-ups the initial compensation packages offered to individuals are no-where near the regular established enterprises.

Though, in your initial years of working with a start-up, the salary might not seem to be competitive compared to industry standards, but once the start-up is successful, you will definitely earn much higher compensation than what you could have earned from a job in a large enterprise.



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