To Work for a Small Business or a Corporate? Pros and Cons

I'm fortunate to have tasted both small business and corporate life in my career. What I'm most grateful for is the order in which it happened - small business first, then corporate. I think that small business is a great foundation for a career because that’s where you really learn to have a great work ethic and be exposed to different parts of a business and the industry you’re in.

Looking back in my career, and thinking back to conversations with friends and colleagues, I can share the following pros and cons about working for small business and corporate



You get to stick your finger in a lot of pies:
Because there usually aren’t a lot of people who work in a small business, sometimes a job needs to be done which doesn’t fall within anyone’s job spec, but someone has to and will do it. It gives you a wealth of experience in different areas of the business and industry. 

You learn to hustle: 
With small business, resources are limited, so you learn to make the most of what’s available or to create something out of nothing. This really stretches you, and teaches you that anything is possible!

Your boss is easily accessible:
Usually your boss sits on the same floor as you. You can see their comings and goings, and can have a conversation with them without having to schedule a meeting.     


You work every finger to the bone:
It’s great to experience different roles at once, but often it means working very late hours, very often, which is exhausting! You definitely need a different type of stamina to work for a small business.

There usually aren’t benefits:
Not a lot of small businesses can offer you the same packages as corporate. You usually get the bare minimum, if anything at all. It’s the nature of the game.

Business decisions are often biased:
There’s usually one boss in a small company, and they have the final say on business matters – it’s their business after all. But, this means that decisions can often be biased to their personal desires instead of being objective.



There's a person for every job role:
This is both a pro and a con. It’s a pro because it means you get to focus on your job and get really good at it. You have the time to be proactive and become a specialist in your field, which can be good for your career.

There’s more room for growth:
The corporate ladder. With many large corporates, you can grow laterally or upwards. You can move from one country to another. You can change departments. There are a lot of opportunities. Of course they don’t always come easily, but the opportunities exist.

You have access to more resources:
It’s great having access to more human resources; people who can assist you and who you can learn from, and other resources that enable you to do your job. It’s not the same hustle as working for a small business.


There's a person for every job role:
It’s a con because it’s easy to become lazy. Sometimes you can literally do all your work in two days, but because you have five, you spread it out so you have something to do each day. So, you tend to think and work slowly and find unproductive things to fill your days with.

Sometimes you don't know who your boss is:
This is no joke. The hierarchies in corporate can be so extensive that you end up not knowing who you’re accountable to. And, even when you know who they are, they sometimes might not have time for you, or not even realise that you report to them. This can be made worse if you work in different countries and you can’t be in their face.

Politics are real: 
Because there are a lot of influential people in corporate companies, who sometimes have different agendas, politics can play out in the work place. In small business there’s usually only one boss, and they have the final say.

Have any of you only ever worked for corporate? Do you think you’ve learnt as much as you could have in a small business? All thoughts and experiences are welcome!