Why you should not start a startup
Friday November 28, 2014,
4 min Read
I was working in a big company of 10,000 employees. I was coding, debugging, doing code reviews, compiling status reports and attending useless meetings. The only reason for happiness was getting a salary cheque at the end of the month.
There was so much buzz about startups and people raising millions of dollars from investors. I was thinking that technically it’s not difficult to make something like Whatsapp or opening an e-retail store.
One day, my great idea of starting my own business took shape. All was set, we incorporated the company, put our savings into a company account, hired ninja developers and started the ‘awesome’ product development. We were waiting for the product to be finished and launched in the market. We were sure that it would sell like hot cakes.
Unfortunately, things did not go as planned.
We made a lot of mistakes during our startup journey, which is bound to happen when you walk on unexplored paths. From my little experience, I want to share a few reasons why you should not start a startup.
If you want to build a startup which can raise million dollar VC investment like Flipkart or be acquired in billions like Whatsapp or bang in market with $100B IPO like Facebook, I would say it’s a great thought!! But don’t chase money.
Keep your focus on making useful product and money will follow.
Don’t start a company for sake of just making big money. Build startup for creating valuable products and services so that people fall in love with your products.
Power (I am the boss)
You may tag yourself with the title of CEO soon after starting your company. It feels great to wake up the next morning as top executive of the company. But remember what Peter Parker said in the movie ‘Spiderman’:
Great power comes with great responsibility.
In startups, the most difficult and helpless job is that of the CEO, which means Chief Everything Officer. Unlike in big companies, here you are at the bottom of the hierarchy.
It’s a difficult job because you have to finish every pending work — from ‘brooming’ to accounting, marketing, hiring and sales.
You are helpless because you have to listen to everyone’s complaints but you don’t find anyone to complain to about your problems (lucky if you have co-founder).
Your customers and investors will be THE BOSS and you don’t control lives of your employees like in a big company.
You always dreamt of working from anywhere/anytime and now that dream has come true. You can start your day at anytime and close your laptop whenever you want; no one to question you.
Avoid being in a startup if you are afraid of working more than 40 hours a week.
Actually you have to work more than ever because now you are not working for someone else. Everything is so messed up. You end up working 80 hours a week and work is still pending.
Sundays are no more holiday, and Mondays are no more scary than ever.
Seriously? I met a few people who wanted to do ‘startup thing’ to become a celebrity. Let me tell you, we only hear of success stories, no one ever talks about the R.I.P startups. More than 90% startups fail in the first two years of operation, and celebrity level success is far away for rest of the 10%.
The probability of making a billion dollar startup is less than being hit by lightening in a storm.
My first startup got shutdown within its first year. If you are looking for name and fame then there are much better and easy ways available.
Don’t start a startup with the wrong reasons. The only reason to be in startup is when you feel making this world a better place than it is today. Solve real customer’s real problems, which no one else is solving, or if you can provide a better solution than anyone else.