Why Not to Do a Startup

If you’ve watched Silicon Valley, you’ll probably know about the startup culture more than a normal person. However, real life is not as smooth sailing as you see in these TV shows and rarely that funny. While there are amazing reasons to do a startup, there are equally compelling reasons not to. It is only up to the decision of the individual, whether they can outnumber the pros against the cons in order to be successful starting from the ground up.

Startups, even in the wake of the crash in 2000, have become wrapped up in real mystique — you hear a lot about how great it is to do a startup, how fun it is, how you get to revolutionize the future, all the free meals, that foosball table in the office. It is true there are great things to experience when you startup. Some of them include:

  • You have the opportunity to be in control of your own destiny. You are the boss at your firm. You control what happens. And if you make a mistake, you are the one responsible for it. Simply put, you are in control and you are the one responsible.
  • The opportunity to create a solution for a real-world problem. Innovation is the key to growth. Solving a real-life problem with world changing innovations will lead to growth.
  • Fulfilling that dream of creating an impact on the world. The end goal is to create something that has a lasting impact on everyday life of people.
  • The ability to create your ideal work culture and working with a dream team. Have your own team, work with them on your own terms and creating the ideal work culture that you’ve always wanted,
  • Money! In the end, it all comes down to generating revenue. Money to keep the business running, to pay the people who work for you, saving capital for various purposes, giving back to your team and investors.

If done right, startups can be highly lucrative. When everything goes right, your team and employees will do themselves very well, and you also get the opportunity to change society for the better. But it’s not all free flowing as you might think. There are some downsides as well:

  • Uncertainty and risk. There’s always an uncertainty when people are starting up, with a thousand different questions and doubts in mind especially when you’re in it for the first time.
  • No established systems, rhythms and infrastructure. Since you are the one who has to setup the systems, which is something that cannot be accomplished instantaneously, it takes a while to figure out the chaos. Creating systems is key to bringing order to the activities.
  • Have to get used to listening to ‘no’ a lot. The road to starting up is filled with rejection. There have been people who have been rejected nine out of ten times, and yet have been successful in their businesses.
  • Hiring is a huge hassle. Hiring great candidates is tough, especially when a majority of them are already working cushy jobs at big firms, which makes it all the more important to have a lucrative offer to lure them, and the resources to pull off the same.
  • Hiring top-level management is an even bigger hassle. If you thought hiring employees was easy, wait till you get to the executive positions, such as a CTO, CFO and more. Work-life balance gets disrupted. The hours that need to be put in during the formative years are enormous, as opposed to what you see in TV shows. It is often not possible to maintain a work-life balance, which is a big sacrifice to make for some people.