Career Advice

Big Corporation Vs. Small Business: What’s Best For You?

Smiling young woman looking away while standing in food truck at city

“Would you rather be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a sea of water?” Weighing out the pros and cons of large versus small companies is not a foreign task for most of us. So, you have your chosen field, now which environment is right for you: a big corporation or a small business?

Apple, Google, and Walt Disney rank as the top companies undergraduates believe to be their “ideal” employers. Furthermore, business majors are still eager to join big name firms like JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs.

Alternatively, there are those searching for something entirely different. A more intimate work setting without the big name appeals to other job seekers, and for different reasons.

No matter the size, most companies are looking for good, honest, and hard working individuals to fill their next open positions. If you have those three nonnegotiable traits and the proper skills to match the position, the ball is in your court. When choosing you next job, it is important to consider a multitude of aspects directly affecting you and your future happiness and success: one of which being to go big or go small.

Below are characteristics describing the culture of large corporations and small businesses. Know yourself and imagine how you might fit:

Large Corporation

Structure: If you are an individual who thrives off of structure and organization, then a large corporation might be for you. Most Fortune 500 companies have rotational and training programs in place to prepare their employees for their future roles in the company. Your position comes with a list of very specific responsibilities and they will often be outlined for you. Though not immune to the unpredictable economy, entry-level positions can be considered risk-averse and respectively stable.

Your role: You are one of many working on a team at a large corporation. If you enjoy collaborating and relying on a group dynamic, then you will be productive on the job. Be aware of the ever-present diffusion of responsibility existing in the companies. “That’s not my problem” can only be used as a reason when many people are involved in the same project.

Your future: On your very first day on the job, you will be handed a competitive network on a silver platter. You will have successful leaders in your field surrounding you during the workday. As far as moving forward, you will know the exact corporate ladder of your company. The vision of working your way up is clear and you know what you have to accomplish to get there.

Small Business

Structure: The structure of small business is often times a little more flexible than those of large corporations. Because the environment in a small business is ever-changing, your schedule may be also. You may have the opportunity to take longer lunches, work from home, or spend a little more time on balancing your personal life. For those who choose not to set a predetermined trajectory of a career path, the small business route gives you a little more wiggle-room.

Your role: Rather than having a strict and straightforward title attached to many corporate workers, you may be expected to juggle many roles when you work for a small business. If you find a small business opportunity with a mission you are passionate about, you can be a driving force in the company’s success and you have the ability to receive more responsibility sooner.

Your future: In a small business, you are competing for a higher position with less people than Fortune 100 companies. You are in control of you own destiny in a small business and your voice will get heard, whether you like it or not. If you find the company you chose isn’t for you, employers love seeing small business experience on a resume. A candidate with small business experience usually is more of a self-starter, company-focused and has ideas.

Big or small, if you have a will to succeed, your future will be bright. Consider the structure, your role, and your future when deciding what size company is the best fit for you.

What has attracted you to a big corporation or a small business? Let us know below.

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