startup vs corporate enterprise - which is the best option for you?

Both have unique advantages, so deciding where you’d prefer to work can be a real challenge.

This is why it’s essential to carefully consider your priorities for your current situation and your long-term career and if the companies in question can meet your expectations.

Here are our top tips for working out if you’re better suited to a startup or a corporate giant.


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think about the long term.

If you don’t know precisely what you want to do in the future, you could benefit from the broader focus required in a startup job. Employees of these smaller organisations tend to have a more expansive remit than those in more prominent companies. The variety could give you the chance to do things you never expected, as well as the opportunity to figure out what you enjoy.

However, if you have a clearly defined career path ahead of you, a corporate environment, with the associated narrower focus that comes with the job, is the more logical choice. Augustine explains that when she started in a corporate role, it was “a more focused position” that didn’t require her to “wear all those other ‘hats’”.

consider the impact you could make.

When evaluating the company you want to join, consider the impact you could make. Do you want to come in and make an immediate mark on the company, or would you prefer to take a little time to settle in?

Augustine points out that in a corporate environment, you will “have a lot less influence” than you would at a smaller firm. If you’re an idea-driven individual, a startup could be the most appropriate place for you, according to Nikola Otasevic, co-founder of interview practice firm Refdash. He highlights that if you have an idea in the morning, “in a startup, you can have that idea live and serving users by that afternoon”.

A corporate company will likely have longer processes to get ideas. Although this may sound negative, the fact that there are different rounds of approval for the plan to get through means that it will likely be well-thought-out with fewer potential glitches. It will also probably end up serving more users than a startup, so a corporate firm is a suitable place to be if you’re looking to impact as many people as possible.

evaluate what you need to succeed.

When you’re deciding between a startup and a corporate job, you’ll need to evaluate what a company will be able to offer you. Do you want guidance and advice from senior colleagues? Or do you want to be able to use your initiative?

Typically, you’ll be given more support at a prominent firm, where managers can offer you training and assistance with specific projects. This makes them better suited to workers who prefer the security of a solid managerial team. As most roles are specialised, issues can be addressed by the most appropriate person, often leading to things being taken out of your hands.

However, if you want to solve problems yourself, showing that you’re a vital team member, a startup environment is where you want to be. Smaller companies often won’t have the resources necessary to tackle significant complications, allowing you to impress your bosses and co-workers. This kind of work will allow you to enhance your problem-solving abilities and add real value.

The most important thing is that you focus on the company, whether it’s a startup or a corporate enterprise. This will ensure that you align with your chosen firm's company culture and values.

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