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Corporate wizards with startup dreams - just watch out !!

Startup world looks very glamorous from outside. One needs to see inside out view


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Anil Gupta

3 years ago | 4 min read

Over the past few years, a regular trend is observed. After building a long career, about 20-25 or more years in corporate IT world, senior people are looking for alternative ventures – either voluntarily or are pushed into looking alternative ventures.

Startup seems to be a favorite block that falls in this alternate venture series. Confidence plays a role too. Multi-decades of IT and management experience gives the needed boost to that confidence and then a new startup is mushroomed.

A lot of such startups are being mushroomed. Approximately 1,64,636 companies got registered in 2019, How many of them really get into 2nd stage of success. Hardly even 10%. And those who are constantly producing success after say 5-10 years of their entry – the number is minuscule.

What is the reason that high successful senior management professionals find it difficult to taste a decent success in the startup world. There are several points that need to be addressed here:

Startup world is a not a natural extension of regular IT world : Startup world is very different than IT world. Startup is just like any other tech or regular company. It can’t be compared with a services company or a department. Almost all the other functions that are part of the company needs to be performed with startup, though at a small scale. Considering it as natural extension of IT world is a grave mistake.

Technology is not the focal point to Startup world : Nothing can be farther than truth than this. Technology provides support function. A platform. It is not the core. Most of the time, technology is a peripheral function to the problem.

Core is the problem itself. Startups appear to be technology centric, but most of the times, that’s where they may be making mistake.

A huge support system is around in the corporate world : When You are in corporate world – things are so well defined, very well planned, processes are there to follow, instructions are very well laid out, people are there to review, people are there to guide, people are there to correct your mistakes.

There is a special function for everything – Sales are Marketing to understand Customer and Market requirements, and later on performing marketing and Sales, Product development team to draw the specification of product, designing the products and get the necessarily approvals, HR to take care of human resources needs, Finance department is there to manage the finances, Travel department is there to meticulously plan your travel – anywhere in the world you want to go, Infrastructure and Facilities group is there to deal with your infrastructure and office needs, Legal department is available to you to take legal advice and get you out of the trouble in case you get into legal hassels.

Budgets are less of a problem. You are getting regular fat paychecks, your staff is getting regular paychecks. What to do next month to pay salary of everyone --- hardly your business. You need not worry much about cash flows and finances to support your operations. And even you fail, there is alway Plan b or Plan C waiting for you.

When you are founder of a Startup, you have to completely swim on your own : Corporate luxuries find a huge miss in the the Startup world.

Ideation, Market research, company registration, finding out and setting office, registering your company, creating all sorts of contracts between different parties, forming a team, especially a co-founder, working on HR issues, Raising funds, Constantly keeping an eye on cash-flows, managing company compliance, liasioning with all sorts of stakeholders that company may have, working up with investors, setting up company infrastructure, facilities and so on.

As you can clearly see, all of a sudden, a startup founder is entrenched in so many responsibilities. Problems keep on piling on his/her head at much larger rate than his capacity and resources available to solve such problems.

All of a sudden, one needs to think about so many things that were automatically being taken care in his/her corporate world. Not only that, one has to change the approach also to deal with people.

Your corporate jazzy tag is now completely gone, and you are in the same boat, as another founder who may be fresh out of college.

So, you should be ready to give up all your attitude, arrogance, or any other such traits that you may have developed during your corporate job. Be ready for real competition in the market at level playing field.

Things may be difficult but not impossible. As long as one is prepared in all aspects – mentally, physically, socially and whatever else.

We have a lot of examples of people who have successfully transformed themselves as per the requirement of startup world and earned their reputation. The numbers may be small, but they are there. Find out about them and read as much about their success, as the failure of others – before you plan to jump in the well of startup.

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Anil Gupta


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