What It's Like Interning For A Startup
Hi. I am Asrul, the marketing intern.
Being an intern at a startup company is dynamic, fun and interesting.
I have to admit - I was clueless to begin with. I had no idea what Lalamove was about, or what was the company’s principal activity. I recalled myself researching about it on the night before.
“A startup specialising in same day delivery? WOW… IS THERE SUCH A SERVICE?” My life would have been WAY easier if I had known about Lalamove earlier.
Instantly, my mind flashed back to the moment when I was searching high and low for a delivery company for my CCA group’s stage performance. As the then logistics manager, I was tasked to find a cupboard, design and then move it to the venue. I ended up texting all my WhatsApp group chats to source for such delivery or moving services. The painful process took me quite a long time as none of my friends knew any delivery drivers. Finally, I managed to get in touch with a delivery driver through a friend. But that was besides the point.
My initial impression of a delivery company was that it is restricted to conventional services such as SingPost or Fedex. However, as we all know, the proliferation of the sharing economy has evolved in a way that it now expands progressively to all kind of industries. Including logistics.
When I first opened the door and stepped into the office, I realised that the work environment is open. No one is confined to their cubicles. Everyone is allowed to walk around and seek clarifications from one another. Being a relatively new company with a small headcount, the people are always helping one another. There is no clear-cut definition in terms of job scopes. This allows everyone to have a chance to try out and learn new things. Another thing cool about the office layout is that there is even a ‘chill out’ corner (which is my favourite part in the office!) with soft and comfortable cushions for you to complete your work if you are getting bored of sitting in front of the screen.
Things are always dynamic here. Potential clients are always walking in and out of the office to have business meetings with the management team. I was lucky enough to sit in during a meeting with one of the world’s most renowned French patisseries and also an iconic shopping mall in Singapore. These meetings gave me a first hand experience as to what it is like meeting potential clients, as well as understanding their delivery needs and requirements even before going for the meeting. I have learnt that it is crucial to have a plan B and C on standby, in case the initial operating plan A does not work out.
Waking up every morning knowing that there is always potentially something new and interesting to work on never fails to keep me at the edge of my seat. As a startup, Lalamove is always on the look out to acquire new business clients and investors. Thus, attending tech startup events such as Echelon and InnovFest Unbound is extremely crucial to keep our business growing. Such events are also very fun because I get the chance to meet and speak to random people from various walks of life!
It was a nerve wrecking experience having to speak to so many potential clients and investors as early as during my second week of the internship. Initially, I started off with the mentality that I am just an intern, how will I know how to do this? Do I have the knowledge at all to manage the questions and issues? My team mentors hardly took that as an excuse and instead, encouraged us to just give every new challenge a try. Eventually, rather than worrying about that, I shrugged off my negative thoughts and mustered the courage to speak to all the potential clients and even some potential VCs and investors and share more about what I have learnt about Lalamove. What’s there to lose right?
It paid off because I was able to learn a lot about other industries and clients. I also understood the concept of how to align our services to how it would add value to theirs. I have to admit - it can be quite embarrassing when I was not able to answer some queries and had to direct them to my colleagues instead but hey, these questions gave me a greater understanding of the entire business model when I seek answers from my colleagues. I was careful to ensure that the information that I conveyed was accurate. On a side note, I was also able to train myself to be a better speaker.
Being an avid social media user, I was particularly keen to know how Lalamove positions itself among competitors when it comes to social media. In this digital age, many consumers as well as corporate clients would refer to a company’s Facebook page rather than their corporate website to learn more about their service offering. Thus, it is extremely necessary that Lalamove constantly interacts with our followers in order to build a greater brand following so as to keep our brand at the top of mind.
I was assigned to source for new partnerships and marketing collaborations. This seemingly simple task turned out to be quite a challenge because it was not easy to acquire sponsorships from companies. Some companies were initially more apprehensive of a partnership but I’ve since realised that effective communication skills are imperative to maintaining close relationships with our partners, so that the needs and wants of both parties are communicated clearly to one another. This meant that our partners need to be constantly updated with new details through phone calls or emails so as to inculcate mutual trust between both parties.
Indeed, the enthusiasm and love for working in a startup is infectious! Everyone is so passionate about their roles and the disruptive service that we providing. I could only learn how to develop such passion from my team in my future endeavours. Being able to talk to them about matters apart from work make me appreciate the work culture here so much more.
With that, I have absolutely no regrets choosing to to START my internship and hopefully my future professional journey at a startup!
Want to kickstart your career in a startup? Apply now for an internship with Lalamove!