Deciding to move to a startup can never be an easy decision. Not to sound harsh, but not everyone is made for working in a startup and even if one is suited to work in one, the journey may or may not end up being memorable.
Whenever I reminisce about my journey at PharmEasy, it always takes me back to my MBA college days where ‘work’ was fun, ‘pressure’ is used to get the best out of oneself and the students were constantly finding innovative ways to finish their projects on time with minimum effort. It is true that an MBA experience, as expressed by many time and again, takes one to a different level not because of the bookish knowledge that one may get from the countless lectures but from the life experiences wherein one gets a flavor of the real world. Working in a startup is no different, it actually prepares one for the life ahead.
The 9 months that I have spent here, have actually felt like years, considering the pace of growth and the changes that have happened at PharmEasy. Accordingly, over the course of my time here, I have realized that there are certain skill sets that can actually make your experience fun and worthwhile.
1.Think and act like an entrepreneur – In a startup, projects are not handed over by your seniors, one has to think and come up with tasks, projects and activities. Ownership is one more factor that needs to be showcased to drive these projects to a closure. Risk-taking ability is at the core of how an entrepreneur thinks and behaves.
2. Prioritization of work – There is always so much to do but so little time. One is behind schedule even before the start of a project and the sky is the limit in terms of the deliverable. It is important to understand the overall context in which one is working and come up with the projects/activities which will have the maximum impact in the least possible time. Going after perfection is ludicrous and accepting your minimum viable products is the key.
3. Move on from your failures – Whenever one fails, be it missing a commitment, sub-standard quality output or any other issue, there is a tendency to deep dive and understand the cause. While it is important to understand the issue in-depth in order to solve it, there is a propensity of many individuals to not move on whether it be in the form of carrying grudges against the team/ stakeholders (who fell short in terms of your expectations from them) or penalizing oneself emotionally by continuously reminding oneself of the failure. In the corporate world, we are so used to see the perfect picture where even small mistakes are seen as unacceptable but when one works in a startup, mistakes are bound to happen and one needs to take them in stride.
4. Forming meaningful relationships with stakeholders is the key to enjoying the experience. Considering the pace of operation, there is usually no time to second guess many of the decisions that your stakeholders take. Without trust and respect, it becomes impossible for you or your stakeholders to move quickly and make the desired impact. Also, when the team cares for each other, there is a tendency to over-communicate and cross-check the work which further helps in improving the quality of the work.
The experiences of working ‘on your own’, ‘under pressure’, ‘racing against time’ are few situations which gets one ready for absolutely anything in life. While some of the points that I mentioned above are applicable to most organizations, startups like PharmEasy actually help you take larger responsibility by putting you on a pedestal and giving you that ownership to do much more than you could ever do in any other corporate set up.