Startup vs Enterprise, where to work?

Startup vs Enterprise

Looking for an internship, your first job or just general work experience can be exciting. However, you might be feeling indecisive, “should I work at a startup or at an enterprise?”. It can be difficult to pick between the two as they both offer very different experiences. Here is a short guide on the main pros and cons of working at either.

Your first question might be, what is an enterprise? Enterprises are companies or businesses that are typically established with people already being aware of the reputation of their products and services.

Characteristics of an enterprise

A chain of command exists

For most enterprises, information or approval for projects would have to follow a specific flow through different leaders. Let’s say you are required to write a report, that report would normally go through your team leader, followed by a department head and finally the CEO. Due to this chain of command, the flow of work is slower and projects may require more time for approval.

Structured work environment

Enterprises are bigger companies, SMEs and MNCs, this will mean that the company would usually have proper onboarding programs for new employees to familiarise themselves with their new workplace. In addition to that, you will most likely be doing work just for the role you have applied for which can allow you to further develop your skills in that expertise and learn from others in the same trade.

Benefits of an established brand

Bigger companies would already have their own brand and this will lead to higher brand recognition. Not only would this mean that you can learn from the best, it will probably look better on your resume as well should you want to work in a different company in the future.

Pros and Cons

Characteristics of a startup

Working in a smaller team

Startups normally consist of around 5-10 people, smaller teams allow for easy discussion and generation of ideas. Unlike an enterprise, flow of information is faster, which would then suggest a more fast paced working environment. Due to the smaller team size, startups would normally require you to take on multiple roles, which will benefit you if you are looking to diversify your skills. Plus, working in a small team will allow you to bond with your colleagues better and who wouldn’t like that?

Dynamic and fast growing

Working in a startup is hardly ever routine, you may be working on a project today and be meeting clients the next day. Due to the nature of a startup, more often than not you will find yourself working independently and tackling each problem as it comes. So if you are someone who prefers an ever changing environment and creative freedom, working in a startup may be for you.

Unestablished brand

As a startup, the company is still in the stages of growth meaning that the company’s branding has not been fully built yet. However, this may not necessarily be a bad thing as working in a startup would mean that you will have a key role in the progression of the company and have the satisfaction of watching your efforts reap the results. Despite that, the flip side of the coin would be that your skills and accomplishments are not attached to a business with a big brand name, which can be a disadvantage if they are deciding to pick someone else who has worked in an established company with the same experience.

Pros and Cons

How to decide?

Choosing between a startup or an enterprise all comes down to personal preference and what you value most in a working environment. Do you prefer freedom for exploration? Or maybe a job where your skills can be utilised for a single role?

Here are some things you can consider before deciding:

Find out your working style

Startups would usually require you to work independently. As everyone has their own roles and responsibilities it would be hard for there to be supervision. However, in an enterprise, you would most likely be working in a specific department in a team whereby it would be easier for you to work under a higher up who can help mentor you.

Your personality type

As per the previous point, working in a startup would require you to wear multiple hats, especially if you are someone who would prefer more creative freedom and likes a good challenge. An enterprise on the other hand, you would typically have a single role with tasks within your job scope. Enterprises are also more structured thus it would be for people who prefer a fixed schedule.

Job direction

Again, in a startup the responsibilities will always differ, think more of breath rather than depth. Startups would allow you the space to explore different roles, so if you have not decided on something to specialise in yet, having the ability to try out different roles in a startup would be for you. However, in an enterprise, it is more for depth. Thus, if you have already figured out what you are passionate about, working in an enterprise provides you with the avenue to improve yourself in that particular area.

At the end of the day, working at either a startup or at an enterprise has its pros and cons but each path will definitely provide you with useful experiences and will allow you to find out what you are truly interested in.

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