• Rajiv Dalmia
  • Published: 13 November 2019

Resistance to change is rarely irrational, however, its historically been evident time and again that businesses resistant to change tend to be on borrowed time. Indeed, bygone world-leading companies such as Kodak, Blockbuster, Palm showed that tide and time wait for no-one.

In this digital era, where change, disruption and innovation are the new normal, organizations, both big and small, are embracing the so-called ‘start-up mindset’. So, besides the hip developers in skinny jeans and ping pong tables in offices, what does this mean exactly? To me, it means doing what you love, so that work never really feels like work. I also believe that being in an environment where freedom to think, ideate and experiment are prioritized, the chances of innovating and succeeding are far more likely.  

In this article, I share my top ten ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ for nurturing a purpose driven, start-up mindset and successful business.


1. Have a clear vision, strategy, budget and timeline.

2. Create an environment where every employee is working to one common goal and takes personal responsibility for their part to play.

3. Consider these two key ingredients: firstly, the idea/product/ service, and secondly, people (the rest should then auto-slot into place).

4. Follow the core principles of minimum viable product, build – measure – learn, continuous deployment, actionable metrics and continuous innovation & improvement.

5. Constantly work on ways to create an ethos where people are geared toward experimentation, have hunger for new ideas, embrace risk and invest in opportunities created by new technologies, markets and ways of business.

6. Foster a culture to back every initiative with proper research & consulting.

7. Build a culture where your team is always open to learning new things – whatever their level! 

8. Create a ‘safe’ environment where constant and fearless ideation and questioning is embraced by all.

9. Train your people and utilize tools such as business model design, how to iterate products, methods of analysing customers and markets, early feedbacks, failures, mistakes, case studies, best practices and designing effective rebound strategies.

10. Pay attention to your employees’ needs and build a robust rewards and recognition program to keep them motivated.


1. Lose your END GAME. Always remember what you’re trying to achieve and work backwards.

2. Partner with third party/vendors/another company simply based on brand name but based on the trust, value & commitment. Hunger to deliver and prove, sometimes is worth betting on more than just a known brand. 

3. Spend too much on things not entirely necessary to your business at the start. Office perks are great, but a good work-life balance and fair pay is even better. 

4. Be an absent leader. If you’re not regularly communicating with your employees, they’ll not only be suspicious, but less invested in delivering towards the common goal. Teamwork makes the dream work, remember! 

5. Hire just for the sake of hiring; make sure every employee has a clearly defined role and purpose in your organization. 

6. Put off investing in new technologies. This shows the gap in say do ratio, makes it much harder & costlier to catch up later

7. Underestimate the power of research and consulting/advisory. 

8. Create a culture where people are not allowed to fail. Otherwise, they will be reluctant to try new things.

9. Forget to give credit where credit’s due when you succeed. 

10. Just work on solutions for today, but solutions that will keep you and your clients future relevant.

Now that you’ve read these do’s and don’ts, you might be thinking, “So, where’s the proof that the start-up mindset works?” Here are some recent Indian success stories which have gone global – and why:

OYO, the world’s third largest hotel and hospitality chain attributes its success to its “OYOpreneur” culture which aims at growing talent across different roles, regions and geographies to build a robust, resilient and diversified group of leaders & distributed leadership.

Bounce, India’s first smart mobility solution and the world’s fastest growing bike sharing start-up attributes its success to passionate individuals and embracing constant transformation & change.

Bizongo, the end-to-end packaging solutions platform attributes its success to the urge to create an organization where they put people first, listen to them and enable them to take ownership and make an impact. This approach has worked well since inception and being part of the list validates their thought process. They now are focusing on values of collaborations, upscaling, learning and transparency to hold them in good stead in the future.

Happy investing, learning and innovating!