In the summer months, the employment market is flooded with newly minted graduates. In an environment where there are more supply chain, logistics, and related jobs than there are qualified candidates, this can be an opportune season to attract talent. Today, pursing a job at a startup, particularly a high-tech, electronics startup is all the rage.
First, let’s make sure we agree on what a startup is. A startup is a pre-company that was formed to establish a company. A hot shot disruptive technology startup has the potential to change the way we do business, to create a new business model. It goes well beyond offering Web site or app development services.
Someone said executing a startup is like jumping off a cliff without anything, then building the plane on your way down and getting it to fly before you hit the ground. If you fail, you crash and die. At the same time, even after you get it in the air, you have to not only keep it flying but also continue to climb and take multiple pinnacles one after another. In the business world, that translates into monetary rewards for investors, and satisfaction for everyone involved. If you have the right temperament, it’s a rewarding exercise, but at the same time it creates some of the most difficult situations imaginable.
A typical startup goes through several ups and downs before it hits that most coveted hockey stick ramp up. Many of them fail within the first three years due to a variety of challenges. Successful founders are more than just lucky. They put in the hard work and the struggle. They were smart, whether they had a strategic funding or had an early on consulting revenue. And, it’s important to remember, many did everything right and still failed.
Even with all the risks, startups offer a lot of opportunities to young graduates, including a chance to:
- Learn to solve a problem in a fitting manner
- Understand non-siloed thinking while learning the activities of each business function
- Relentlessly pursue the critical goal of adding value
- Understand the ins and outs of building a great team and successfully overcoming challenges with them
- Gain career-building skills
- Help make a vision come to life in reality
Learn to solve a problem in a fitting manner
Successful startups solve a real problem that people have. The first step is to talk to the target group of users. They will be glad to help because they have a problem that needs a solution. These are the people who can get into the nitty gritty of the problem. In the end, you need to be able to offer big value that will convince end users to switch to your solution. These companies are able to express their value proposition simply and elegantly. Users will be anxious to climb on board.
Understand a non-siloed thinking while learning the activities of each business function
It is very important to understand the true goals of every organizatoinal activity. For example, the goal of marketing is very simple: collecting leads which are pursued by sales and eventually result in a new customer. Similarly, there is no point in spending $1 million in product development and another $1 million in product marketing. A product that solves a problem thoroughly is the first and the foremost thing, especially in the consumer world. If your product does not speak for itself, if there is no solid differentiation, there is no point in even making the product. That is why Steve Jobs declared that Apple wouldn’t be part of Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Instead, Apple had its own show on its campus. The premise here is that product excellence gets attention—so if you focus on that and being groundbreaking and innovative the attention will naturally follow. Another leader, Tesla, spends zero dollars on marketing its cars. The Tesla cars are so ground breaking and innovative that it sells itself. The product needs to speak for itself.