T.N. Hari, head of HR at BigBasket, recently joined Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO of Simplilearn, for an insightful webinar to discuss the parallels between building a startup and building a successful career.  They shared the lessons from their startup experience and put them in the context of the steps one needs to take in one’s career development. 

Starting a business from the ground up is a big decision: after all, it has been reported that roughly 42 to 45 percent of startups fail for one reason or another. The individuals who take the leap, create startups, and ultimately succeed offer lessons in how to beat the odds of failure and grow a successful business. 

Similarly, when it comes to building a career, approaching the process the same way you’d approach the start of a new business can be the key to success. In the webinar, Hari and Krishna explore and compare the two, and share the traits the two processes have in common. 

The True Definition of a Career, and How It Compares to Startup Principles

When launching a startup, it’s crucial to look at the entire picture. Are you pursuing a field or industry that is in high demand? What inspires you and what are you passionate about? After all, a startup will become the focus of your waking hours, so it’s imperative to pick something that motivates you.

You’ll also want to look at your strengths and weaknesses. How can you progress on the areas that need improvement? What are the potential ways a new venture could fail, and how could this possibly be avoided based on past and current trends?

These are just some of the many questions that someone may ask themselves when they are about to start a new business. They are also the same key points that people should address when they are building their careers. Is your career choice something that inspires your passion and that you are good at? If you’re passionate about a career path and know you have weaknesses in key areas of that path, are there ways you can address these skills gaps and improve in those areas?

The Importance of Creating and Sticking to Good Habits

If this year taught us anything, it’s that life can be unpredictable and anyone working in a thriving industry can easily be blindsided. Everyone has good days and bad days, and even if it’s not something life-altering, we all face obstacles.

Whether you’re building a career or starting a new business, it’s important to become rooted in good habits, which can prepare you for just about anything. If you fall into these good habits when things are going smoothly, you will be more equipped to handle rough patches when they do happen. 

If this year taught us anything, it’s that life can be unpredictable and anyone working in a thriving industry can easily be blindsided. Everyone has good days and bad days, and even if it’s not something life-altering, we all face obstacles. With good habits in place, you will be better prepared to overcome obstacles and recover from setbacks.

What are some of these good habits?  Have a strong desire to learn new things, be responsible and professional, stick to your commitments, avoid shortcuts, focus on your customers, and be easy to work with. 

The Five Stages of Startups and How They Relate to Career-Building

It’s easy to get stuck in your ways when it comes to building a new startup: after all, this is a field you likely have a solid foundation in, have experience in, and that you’re passionate about. But you also have to be willing to adapt by taking on new challenges and learning new things, which can only enable you to grow in your business.

This same attitude is also applicable to career-building: be willing and eager to take on new responsibilities, new roles, and be open to learning new things. Build on the foundation that brought you to where you’re at, but don’t let it limit you, either.

Hari observed that startups grow and adapt through a predictable series of stages, and so do careers.

1. Growth Through an Idea

As an entrepreneur, having the right idea and passion to start a business is what creates a connection with customers. When it comes to career building, we similarly begin our careers as individual contributors, applying our own knowledge under the directions of others.  

2. Growth Through Direction

When founders of startups begin to learn more about running their businesses and they start implementing policies, it quickly becomes apparent that they cannot do everything and micromanage everyone. Instead, they must delegate certain tasks and responsibilities to individuals on the team who have filled specific roles. Learning to let go of some of the responsibilities you take on in the workplace is also essential for career building, as it enables you to focus more on your own important tasks. 

3. Growth Through Delegation

Once a business becomes more established, team members and managers have more responsibilities and become motivated to accomplish their goals. In our career, we also learn independence as we adapt to our roles, which includes making judgments on our own with the experiences and wisdom we now have. 

4. Bureaucracy

In both new startups and established businesses, rules and policies begin to interfere with accomplishment. The typical response is to eliminate bureaucracy and find more effective ways to get people to work together, which leads to the final stage.

5. Collaboration

Teamwork and collaboration are crucial for businesses across all industries, so this final stage for startups is also relevant to those building their careers. Even if you are more of an independent worker, you won’t give yourself room to grow in your career if you’re not open to the idea of collaboration. After all, you and your team members are usually all working toward one common goal, and together, you can get there more efficiently and with better results. 

The Significance of Relevant Training

An entrepreneur should never stop learning. Someone who makes the decision to launch a startup is likely familiar and knowledgeable with the industry they’re starting a business in, but this doesn’t mean that they know everything and that there won’t be industry changes or new trends to learn about. 

The same can easily be said for the industry you’re building a career in. At Simplilearn, we offer a wide range of sources for those working in the tech industry, enabling lifelong learning and upskilling in the digital economy.

Watch the Webinar to Learn More

The complete webinar is now available to watch on our YouTube channel. Whether you’re ready to take your career to the next level, building the foundation for a new career, or just starting out with your first career, this webinar is a great way to learn how approaching the growth of your career like an entrepreneur can be a key to accomplishing your goals.  

About the Author


Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

View More
  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.