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Should I Work For A Big Company Or A Small Company?

04.02.14   |   Job Search & Career   |   Sam Swartz, Sales Consultant at Treeline, Incorporated

Deciding between joining a big company or a small company start-upThe size of a company is certainly important to think about when considering a new opportunity. Different factors come into play when considering a job, like culture, benefits, commute, work-life balance, growth, compensation, training and sustainability.

I wanted to take the time and break down some of these factors and talk about how they play into a small company versus a big company. Being able to decide what’s important to you in your job search should help narrow down what type of opportunity will be the right fit.

  • Culture

Culture is important to the success of a company.  Without a strong culture and happy employees a company limits its chances of being successful.  People are drawn to an opportunity and company that values its employees. Larger companies may be able to afford the luxuries of offering bigger vacation packages and comp time which may also include personal days. However, they may not offer the flexibility of allowing you to step out of the office for an hour appointment without counting it as a day off or half day. Culture may be dictated from a corporate standpoint as well for a larger company, meaning that company policy determines the dos and don’ts, since it may be harder to maintain the ideal culture while overseeing thousands of employees. In a small-midsize company, culture is usually determined by the established team and is further shaped as the company grows. You may not have the luxury of several weeks of vacation time, but the company may value team building on a regular basis. For instance, they may do Friday “happy hours” once a month or even allow for a more casual dress code. Weigh what is important to you and what kind of structure you see yourself being more successful in.

  • Compensation and Benefits

Chances are that a large company will typically offer a better benefits package than a small company, but that’s not always the case. To some people this matters a lot and some people could care less about benefits.  Some large companies will also have partners and affiliates where you can receive discounts on products and services.  This may not seem like a big deal but if you take advantage of good perks you could end up saving thousands of dollars each year.  You may find yourself considering opportunities that offer great benefits even if the start compensation isn’t necessarily what you had in mind for your search. Money isn’t everything, but it is something. And we as salespeople, understand the importance of revenue and a good deal. Research companies, and pay attention to how they describe and promote their company. Remember great compensation and benefits varies at both large and small companies and doesn’t necessarily determine happiness and success. Decide what is important to you and how the compensation plans may vary over the years. Inquire about how many sales reps actually hit their numbers and if quota is attainable, this may help you have a more realistic understanding of financial rewards.

  • Training

Nearly all companies today have some kind of training program in place for new employees.  Large companies may have a mandatory class or course that all new hires must attend. It may be in a formal classroom or they may send you offsite to another headquarter location. Smaller companies, will offer training as well but the structure may vary. You may find a mentor or a coach at the company and someone who will invest in your training and success. Or you may even find that it provides too much flexibility and not enough instruction/structure. If one-on-one training is important to you, inquire about the management structure. Are you someone that is more independent and can hit the ground running or are you someone that thrives in a micro managed setting?  Know your strengths and weaknesses and decide what tools will help you be successful at a company.

  • Growth and Sustainability

Do you want to make a direct impact on the success of a company? Are you looking for a company where you can see yourself staying at for several years? Is growth, promotion and the ability to sustain success important to you? Larger companies, generally have several different departments and programs you can be part of. Some large companies offer rotational programs where you work in several different roles in a company over a period of time to better help you understand what kind of position you want to be in. However, promotions may be far and few in between.  You may find yourself confronted with HR policies and lots of competition. In a company with 70,000 employees you can make an impact on the success of your team or region, but in reality your performance alone may not dictate the success or failures of the organization. You may find yourself asking yourself does recognition matter to me? I hear this from candidates all the time who tell me that they “don’t want to be just a number.”  When you are part of a much smaller group the impact can be much greater.  You may have the ability to be promoted faster and find yourself having several different responsibilities in a smaller company since there may not be multiple departments. You may also feel that your success and failure plays directly into the success of a company which can be both rewarding and scary. However, you may feel like a more integral part of the team rather than a cubicle. Ultimately, you want to find a role and company that allows you to achieve your personal and financial goals as well as simultaneously achieving the company goals.

The reality is that there is no formula to determine whether a large or small company is the best option for you and truthfully both small and large companies vary on all of these factors.  It is something that needs to be evaluated on a case to case basis.  Hopefully listing some of these factors helps you in your job search and helps you make a better decision when trying to decide your next career move.

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