Big Company Small Business

Is A Big Company Or Small Business Best For You?

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Finding a job can be a pain. Whether you’ve just graduated or decided it’s time for a change, searching for a job is an intensive and confusing process. The pressure is on to make the right choice that will lead you toward the career you want, and one of the biggest decisions you have to make is whether you want to be a big fish in a small pond or a minnow in the ocean.

Related: Gen Y: What Sort Of Company Do You Want To Work For?

You can choose to work at a small, close-knit organization where your work will have a direct impact on the success of the company, or you can be one of hundreds of employees working for a large, established corporation. No matter which route you choose, you will gain valuable experience, but thinking about which role will bring you closer to success is important when making this decision. Here’s what you should consider.

Being A Big Fish Is Great, But How Far Can You Swim?

Working in a small company can be a great choice, especially for young people right out of college. You will have the opportunity to take on more responsibility, gain valuable decision-making experience, and wear multiple hats across several departments. With smaller companies, learning across many different areas means you’ll get to make decisions that affect the entire process, ultimately making you responsible for more than just one narrowly defined area.

Because there are fewer people in the organization, your work will have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line, and you can develop close relationships with both your team members and leaders who could become valuable mentors.

However, before taking a job at a small company, it’s important to understand what you’ll be giving up. There may be less room for advancement at small companies, and smaller budgets mean fewer perks. More importantly, the pay and benefits might not be as strong as what larger corporations have to offer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, companies with fewer than 100 employees pay 36% less for wages and salaries and 57% less for benefits than companies with 500 workers or more.

You May Be A Minnow, But You Get To Swim In The Ocean

Larger corporations have non-monetary benefits as well. If your goal is to hone a specific skill, choosing a larger corporation could be the right decision for you. You’ll have more defined, narrower job responsibilities within your department, allowing you to advance more quickly in your field.

Big organizations also provide more potential for upward mobility, and you can get valuable feedback from reputable professionals. Finally, choosing a large company provides important brand recognition on your resume that will make you more desirable to future employers.

The downside to large companies is that these employers usually offer less flexibility in schedule and location and have a more rigid company culture. You will most likely have less autonomy, and it’s much harder to see your individual impact when you are one of hundreds or thousands of employees.

How To Make The Right Choice For You

The appeal of a big-name company could sway you from taking a job with a smaller company, but small companies with exciting opportunities for growth are popping up every day. Whichever path you choose, you should always seek a position in a company that you believe in. Asking yourself these five questions will help you determine which direction to go:

  1. Do you crave a close-knit culture?
  2. Do you thrive on autonomy, or do you prefer clear direction?
  3. Do you want to see your work directly influence a company on a large scale?
  4. Are you looking for a flexible schedule or clearly defined hours?
  5. Are you looking for diverse experiences or to grow within your defined skill set?

As you answer these questions, remember that there’s no right or wrong choice. Both types of companies have a lot to offer in terms of experience and benefits. However, you should consider your strengths and career goals to figure out which path is best for you. Once you choose the company, it’s up to you to sink or swim.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Matthew Gordon

Matthew Gordon is President and CEO of The Gordon Group, a holding company that primarily manages GraduationSource and Avanti Systems USA.

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