Throughout my career in recruitment, I have been privileged to talk, know, and hang out with folks from all functions - tech, marketing, sales, finance, infra - you name it. I saw all those functions evolve, most times, supported by cutting-edge tools.
All, but my own function - recruitment.
The most we got was an ATS. ATSs aren't bad. In fact, I loved them as a recruiter. But they aren't enough and hardly evolved. So when I told my family and friends, I was going to start and build a company that offers a recruiting software, they were surprisingly happy about the decision. They saw people like Girish preparing to hit the NASDAQ bell and envisioned the same for me. I was wearing suits, meeting investors for lunch, customers for coffee, and chilling with the single malt at night. In reality, it has been a year of stocked-up caffeine, questionable fast food, and several all-nighters. And did I enjoy it? Hell yes.
It's been a year since that decision and I first began working on bringing the idea to life - and it has been quite an experience. Jotting down those first-hand lessons, that might help fellow first-time founders.
- Onboard the right people
The single most important thing you can do as an entrepreneur is to identify the right people to ride the journey along with you. I knew the importance of this from my previous experience and I am extremely picky in bringing the folks who can compliment everyone on the team. I along with my co-founders - Sathappan and Suman are extremely proud of the team which we have assembled at Kula.
- Document the tiniest details
As a founder, we make a lot of decisions on a regular basis. Most of these decisions will have a butterfly effect on the company you're building. You are going to learn a lot almost every day, and you are going to be way more experienced every week. But it’s also very easy to forget what decisions you made a quarter ago as the speed of execution at early stages is crazy. Documenting helps you to reflect on why you made a particular decision and the necessary context around it. We are always harsh on ourselves in hindsight. Documenting helps you stay kinder to yourself and have lesser sleepless nights.
- Take that time off
Here's a cliche for a reason - a startup, especially in the early stage, is a lot like a newborn baby. It needs constant care and attention, whether it is at 2.00 PM or 2.00 AM. Throughout the past one year, I found myself in moments where I am super focused on the business and lose sight of myself - personal relationships, health, and emotional well-being. This is very unhealthy and has almost irreversible repercussions, professionally and personally. And the moments you push too hard, you end up causing more damage to your company than good. Learnt it the hard way, but those days off work, doing silly things, and spending time with family and friends really helps bounce back stronger. Take that time off your mind and body deserves.
- Wear your brand on your sleeve
You’re a startup and in most cases, nobody even knows about you. Go ahead, tell everyone about it, show your brand and vision to everyone, and talk about it like you have been in business since the beginning of time. I'm extremely proud of our brand and every employee at Kula generally walks into a meeting talking about Kula and why we are building and what we are building. I have seen that the enthusiasm and excitement will be contagious, and your future customers/employees will also feel like the brand is great and would want to work with you.
- Be patient
It's easy to forget that in a world where instant gratification rules the day, compounding is more rewarding. Results take time. Each day 100s of startups launch globally, and few succeed. End of the day only hard work and grit win. So whenever things go south, remember why you began building what you are in the first place; stay patient, and focus on solving the issues.
An add-on to the list of learning is - to be okay doing things for the first time, doing things you never thought you would do. Like figuring an electric connection for your new office, ensuring water supply, buying Air Conditioners, and or negotiating with vendors and banks across geographies.
But in the end, what’s a startup without hiccups? I am loving it all - building Kula, taking it to new heights each week, marching along with my dedicated team, and serving what the recruiters have always deserved - the best!
To making recruiting easy!