After graduating from college and receiving a diploma, most graduates dream of working for a large corporation. When considering vacancies and changing jobs, many top specialists prefer companies with famous brand names. It is seen as a prestigious and cool thing to do. However, think twice before accepting a position in a big-name company just for the sake of a line on your CV.
Once, I gave up a career at a major bank and took a job at a startup that was not known at all on the market – this gave me much more experience and opportunities for self-realization. Now I have several businesses of my own in Russia and India, and in Asia, I am developing my online school Refocus. I have not regretted for a second that I once chose a startup rather than a corporation: I needed that experience to come to the point I am at now.
In this blog post, I will tell you why I recommend choosing startups if you want a powerful boost and awesome results.
When launching a startup, founders usually don't skimp on options and give them generously to team members. There are many stories of how employees at the origin of cool companies have made millions from their options.
An option is an agreement for an employee to buy back shares in a company at a pre-agreed price at a certain point in time. Let's say there is a startup whose stock is worth $1. After a few years, the company expands, grows, and the stock is now worth 250 USD. But not for the employee who has the option. For him, the value will remain the same.
There are the following challenges with options:
For example, EdTech company Refocus, co-founded by me, gives employees the opportunity to sell their shares at the current price every two years. For example, an employee gets 0.5% of the company when it is worth $30 million. That means he has $150,000. According to company rules, we should buy back those shares from him when he wants, at the current value. And if he needs to convert the shares into cash and buy a flat, for example, he can do that. In this way, the company's shares are no longer worthless papers.
Large companies, of course, also have such a system. Just imagine how much startups were worth at the beginning and how much they cost now. An option in a multi-million dollar corporation will never be as profitable as an option in a startup.
Of course, a startup may not take off, no one knows for sure. But success is possible to calculate. How do you do it? Examine a few important factors:
If you have done your research on a startup and have seen potential in it, grab the opportunity to buy its options! Afterward, you will remember my words.
There is a cool opportunity in a startup to build the department in your own way. In large corporations, the way of thinking is completely different: a manager comes into a company that has already been formed and has built up all the processes. It is much more complicated to change and rebuild something there.
In many startups, top managers are given complete freedom of action. You can build a marketing, digital, sales, or any kind of department yourself, as well as hire the people you would like.
Keep in mind that in startups department heads carry out the tasks of their employees themselves, because of low budgets at the beginning. For example, marketing directors can set up ads themselves, monitor them in Facebook manager, and come up with slogans for banners by themselves. Over time, they recruit a team and build their own department, which they need and like.
In a corporation, it is much more difficult to feel the result of your work - there are much more nuances, processes, approvals, and complexities. In startups, it is often like this: you do something today, and tomorrow you already see growth and changes. The biggest thrill is observing the result of work at the moment.
Of course, this has a downside. You often have to "work with your hands": digging around with advertising, sorting out reports, setting up ads. In large companies, teams are usually huge and the manager does nothing himself, delegating tasks. While a startup needs a coach who knows how to play football perfectly and can replace a dropped player if necessary.
Also being in a startup means being part of something global. As a rule, it is a special type of person who sets global goals that can have a significant impact on the world. Not everyone suits to this but others do not go into a startup.
In the new business, the role of the specialist is not limited to one function only. An employee is given a task and has to solve it by all means. Sometimes there are tasks that are beyond the employee's competence. You're likely to do everything at once but at the expense of that, there is constant learning and very rapid growth.
If you are a copywriter, designer, digital director, or SMM specialist, a startup offers the chance to quickly become the head of a department and, in time, to take on a team.
Another advantage of the startup is the opportunity to work on the product directly together with the founders and other departments. With corporations, the marketing department is not involved in the creation of new products. But in startups, because of the need to get to market quickly and test hypotheses, promotion becomes one of the main tasks.
In other words, working in a startup gives you a chance not only to develop as a marketer and CMO but also to understand the business processes in general better.
Interaction within a startup is much more proper and personal. There is no strict politics here – the business founders are likable people with similar values.
In a corporation, this is simply impossible: there are huge departments with thousands of people, a lot of processes appear, and the spirit of the startup is lost. Also, you are likely to work with much more skilled people in a startup because corporations are not set up to hire talent. A startup needs that; without talented people, it cannot take off.
So don't be afraid to go into a startup! It is likely to be the most interesting experience of your career. After you've worked in a startup and experienced all the advantages, you will with all probability never go to a large corporation – it will be tight for you.