You cannot manage your startup like you managed your team at your previous job – Here is why

21st Jun 2016
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Many brilliant minds from reputed MNCs are constantly migrating to startups, either to work at senior positions, or venture into entrepreneurship. If you are/intend to be one of them, ask yourself these questions – are startups and MNCs the same? Are they managed in the same way? Are the skills required to work for a startup and a large corporate the same?

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The answer to all of this is a blunt ‘NO!’

Every MNC was once a startup that was formed with an objective of making a difference in society. Over time, they established their brand and position in the market. The working environments in startups and large companies are vastly different, and naturally, they need to be managed differently. Managers in an MNC need to manage various resources of the company, whereas in a startup, they will have to lead by example.

If you are a recently turned entrepreneur, do you think it would be wise to manage your startup the way your manager in your previous company managed your team? The answer is no. Firstly, managers in MNCs have the backing of a well-established system. They just play a small part in a much bigger system, like a cog in a machine. The decisions they make may not have a notable impact on the company. But in the case of a startup, the decisions managers make will have an immediate and significant impact on the entire company. As startup manager, you will need to be more responsible and accountable for your actions. Managing a startup requires much more commitment and agility than managing a team in an MNC.

Though managing a startup is a riskier prospect than managing an MNC, it has its own advantages. Your ownership and position in a startup is much higher than what you could ever achieve in an MNC. Your growth will also be directly proportional to the growth of your startup. The team you lead is also likely to be vastly different from what an MNC manager works with. Employees in a startup chose the inventiveness and the dynamic nature of a startup over the stability offered by an MNC. Naturally, leading them is more about inspiring them and constantly motivating them to achieve success.

You might have been a specialist in your big company, and as a specialist, you might have had to focus only on a single stream of work. But once you leave your MNC to start your own venture, you will have to become more of a generalist. You will need to develop an interest and gain knowledge in more than one field, and of course, you need to be able to multitask. One of the hallmarks of working at a startup is the necessity to manage multiple tasks simultaneously.

The problems and issues faced by an MNC manager are limited in scope. Most often, they can be solved using status-quo solutions. But in a startup, you will face a wide variety of issues every day. You will need to develop an inventive mind to come up with unique solutions for all such problems.

Thus, a right mix of entrepreneurial and managerial acumen is needed to manage a startup environment.

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