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Column by Dippak Khurana, vServ

A tech start-up needs people, not capital



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Start-ups, often overwhelmed with competition and limited financial resources, tend to put their people strategy on hold till later, but that can prove to be a mistake, says Dippak Khurana, co-founder and CEO of Vserv.

With the capital required to start a tech business plummeting over the last decade and high-quality tech talent available globally, technology seems to be the industry of choice for many of today’s aspiring entrepreneurs.

This is a broad, fast-growing sector that investors and venture capitalists are paying close attention to, and if you succeed, the payout is enormous. As a result, many tech start-ups have sprung up in recent years worldwide.

Despite lower barriers to entry, tech start-ups still face many challenges to sustain a profitable business. In their early stages, they are most vulnerable due to limited financial resources, immature products and general uncertainty about market needs.

That’s not all. MNCs are now competing with start-ups to attract the best web developers and software engineers. Those with the right skills can pick and choose from the hottest vacancies because the demand for skills is at an all-time high.

Although it seems to be a tough world out there for tech start-ups, we believe all these challenges can be addressed with a sound people strategy.

Hiring the right talent

Any start-up that wants to survive, scale and succeed has to be able to attract and retain talented employees.

However, one common hiring mistake among tech start-ups is to hire too many too quickly. In fact, the 2011 Startup Genome Report found 74% of high-growth internet start-ups fail due to premature scaling.

Even if there is investor money in the pot, stretching resources too thin can quickly become a burden.

The key is to hire smartly. Companies can opt to tap on social communities like LinkedIn and industry networking events, where potential candidates with the right skill sets gather.

These events provide the perfect opportunity to strike up a conversation and nurture relationships even before the need to hire arises.

Even if there is investor money in the pot, stretching resources too thin can quickly become a burden. The key is to hire smartly.

We believe it is more productive to look for candidates in advance, so that you have the luxury of time to meet more people and engage with them to ensure that they will fit into the culture and job scope.

This in turn will help increase the chances of recruiting the right people.

Building a culture that inspires

When a business closes its doors, one of leading causes is leadership or management which is often stated as poor team composition and incompetence, both of which can be linked directly to culture.

Without a doubt, culture is the foundation of any business, the roots of which are beliefs shared among employees.

Use Vserv as an example, we believe in innovation, meritocracy and excellence in our day-to-day operations.

While tech start-ups may face steep competition, as well as unique challenges, the level of dedication towards excellence will ultimately determine the chances of success.

Being in the tech sector, we have to constantly innovate, hence, we encourage creativity through free-wheeling discussions, structured workshops and rewards.

However, innovation cannot be restricted to a specific department. It is very important every employee pushes themselves towards continuous improvement and excellence in their daily tasks.

This will spark micro innovations leading towards overall organisational success.

Global local company

We work in an era of globalisation and cannot escape imbibing best practices from other countries and cultures.

 

When a business closes its doors, one of leading causes is leadership or management which is often stated as poor team composition and incompetence.

Companies are advised to adopt a global culture and working style that can be easily implemented in different continents and resonate with the people no matter what background they come from.

At the same time, localisation” is of critical importance.

For a global company to be successful in every country it operates, it needs to possess strong local market knowledge and have a team of world-class local leaders to spearhead the business growth.

Start-ups, often overwhelmed with market competition and limited financial resources, tend to put their people strategy on hold till later.

However, this can be a drawback to a successful organisation.

We believe it is only when a company has a well-developed people strategy in place, will it lead to surging morale, boost innovation and enhance productivity and market competitiveness.

Image: Shutterstock

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