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Syju John

Syju John is a Digital Marketing Professional with over 5 years of experience in different Marketing Roles. She is currently the Head of Marketing and Content of an upcoming startup, Italyx Ventures. She is also the co-founder of a learning and development organisation Just Another Cliché. Having done her Masters in Marketing and International Management from Henley Business School in UK, she returned to India inspired by the startup culture in the country.

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Startups: Current Place Worth The Effort?

Startup cultures are usually very different to work in. The team is usually like a family working long hours to reach one common goal.

Photo Credit : ShutterStock,

Working in a startup is the new 'normal'. Many accomplished professionals have taken the plunge to pursue their passions in a hope to find success. The plunge comes with more sacrifices than just free coffee and team lunches, it's an emotional journey with the odds stacked heavily against you.

Are you currently working in a startup and are unsure if it's the right one? Always remember, making an informed choice of whether you are in the right startup can go a long way. It can either change your life or it can be a hard lesson.

Work Ethic over Passion

While it is important to be passionate about a cause, I think it is more important to partner with people who have a great work ethic. It is nearly impossible to judge passion these days as social media has paved the way to keyboard warriors chanting slogans and sending prayers while not actually contributing to the cause. While lengthy posts, rants, sending prayers and garnering likes can all be a part of the digitalized passion, you need to be looking for people who are more than willing to work the 8-10 hours every day towards creating the product. You can easily identify this trait by just analyzing the progress so far Vs time lapsed. If you think that a lot more could have been accomplished in the time given, you are probably right.

Chaos over Yes-Men

Some may argue that a startup is only successful when there is a harmony among the team. That is only half true. While it would wonderful to have some harmony in the team, what really gets it going is when every individual has the power to challenge every decision on the table. If the team is full of yes men, you might just be on route to a great fall. The best way to identify if you have only Yes-Men on the table can be just asking the partners the intent and the direction of the startup. Cleverly placed questions can get you the answer to this one quickly.

Professional over Personal

Startup cultures are usually very different to work in. The team is usually like a family working long hours to reach one common goal. However, the biggest challenge is whether the team can separate personal and professional behavior. If the team eats together, parties together, goes on trips together and brings that same energy into the workspace, it is a guarantee that it won’t bode well for the startup. It is important to ensure you aren’t working with ‘family’ but a bunch of serious professionals who are determined to create something new.

Business Plan over Passionate Speech

This is a very important quality to look for while identifying a startup. It is of the utmost importance that they have a business plan in place rather than a passionate speech of conquering the world or saving lives. A business can only work with objectives created and time allotted. If not, the team would just while away the time thinking of countless possibilities and doing nothing. No business plan? A huge red flag.

Morals over Smarts

It is imperative for you to know whether the partners are moving toward product creation morally or not. The smart way of working is desirable but always remember smart can always spill over to shrewd and shrewd can work well initially until you find yourself on your backside. Trust is invaluable in a startup and you need to ensure you can always trust your partners.

The sense of entrepreneurship and ownership one develops while working in a startup is absolutely unparalled. Therefore, it is vital to be a part of the right one and stick to it. If you feel like you are working in a pseudo-startup, leave now and find what works for you. You can only truly enjoy work when you feel a sense of accomplishment, belonging and purpose. Don’t ever waste your potential on what is not real.

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


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