Making the Corporate to Start-up Switch? Here's What You Need to Know Not just getting lured by the trend but the conviction in a professional to create something of value should be the driver to join a startup

By Sanchita Dash

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Given the entrepreneurial boost that has taken over not just India but all over the world, it comes as no surprise that established and experienced professionals from big corporations are making their way into the startup ecosystem.

However, when they do make the switch from the glamour and glitz of the corporate world to the struggling start-up world, it's not an easy one. From the hierarchy to the culture, experienced professionals have to gear up for a completely different scenario than the one they were used to. Having said that, it is also this "change" that drives professionals to join a startup.

Entrepreneur India talks to start-up founders about what should professionals keep in mind before they turn to a start-up.

Understand the Fast-paced Environment

In a start-up, there's always the big hustle. Things are constantly moving forward and you do not always have time to analyse a setback. Working with a start-up has its own perks that can't be matched by a corporate environment. It offers a fast-paced environment with lots of hands-on opportunities and a tremendous scope to grow and acquire new skills, said Raghunandan Saraf, CEO & Founder, Saraf Furniture. "Speed gives you the greatest chance of success, especially at a start-up. If you can take quick decisions, do your work well and fast, you will prove to be an invaluable resource for the start-up that you're joining," he said.

Experienced professionals are seasoned professionals coming from industry with lot of extensive knowledge and experience; therefore, experienced professionals from the corporate world have and will always be in demand in the startup world, believes Nilay Mehrotra, Founder, Chariot Tech Pvt Ltd. "But they need to understand switching from an experienced well stable corporate world to fast and dynamic moving startup world," he said.

Get The Job Done

For start-ups a lot of times things could be unorganized. However, the only thing that matters is that the important deadline is not missed. "In any business, there is no space for excuses. It's all about getting the job done and achieving the end results. This is more relevant in a start-up setting where even a small mistake or a day's delay in executing vital tasks can prove to be costly," said Saraf.

Saraf further added that when a start-up is just establishing itself and trying to break the clutter in a highly competitive market, every second counts. "Ensure that you meet all timelines and are always ready to respond to critical e-mails, tasks etc.," he said.

Greater Responsibility

When a business is just starting up, not just the founder but also his/her team has to be ready to take on multiple challenges at the same time. In a start-up, your work requires you to do more than what's mentioned on your work profile. "You might be hired for a sales job position but there might be a day you will have to wear a different hat, and work for different departments as well. Start-ups calls for less team and more work, as compared to the corporate World, where everyone in the team has different responsibilities for their own specific category," said Mehrotra.

And here's where you need to take responsibility for your own work. "This will not just help the venture reach its full potential, it will also allow the professional to grow and develop in tandem. Just coming in to work, doing one's basic minimum in order to earn a monthly salary is simply not enough in a start-up environment," said Saraf.

Welcome to the Hustle

It's not for nothing that the start-up culture is one recognized by all today. The cultural change is also an important aspect that a professional needs to keep in mind when joining a startup. Say goodbye to the 9-5 and hello to all nighters. "The work culture in a startup looks more casual and requires a lot of hard work. Startups have been seen across the globe to experiment with their style of working which a professional from corporate has to adapt," said Mehrotra.

Saraf explains it as it is - in the start-up world, everything is new and there are no time-tested processes. "My advice to anyone working in or running a start-up is simple - be ready for more. The roles in the corporate world are well-defined. However, in the start-up world, the dynamics require everyone to manage more and oversee greater responsibilities," he said.

Sanchita Dash

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

In the business of news for 5 years now. Making my way across India thanks to my career. A media graduate from Symbiosis, Pune, I have earlier worked with Deccan Chronicle (South India's leading English daily), T-Hub (India's largest incubator) and Anthill Ventures (a speed-scaling platform). 

Stories, movies and PJs are my thing. 

If you hear 'The Office' opening score randomly, don't worry it's just my phone ringing. 


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