Startups vs Big Companies: Who Will Win?

Grace Holden

Both startups and big companies have made great strides in the business industry, but what is the difference? Startups are companies created by an entrepreneur with the intention of developing them into scalable business models. On the flip side, large companies are established businesses with an existing place in the market. Contrary to popular opinion, startups do have the ability to make large sums of money, just like big businesses. But is one better than the other? Will large companies out-compete startups or will the latter rise up against them?

Advantages and disadvantages of startups vs big companies

There is no straight line of good and bad between startups and large businesses. Both have their pros and cons, and both are good for different people. As you might expect, startups are largely more risky as they are not yet established in the industry. They are forced to take these risks to see growth in their business. By playing it safe, founders ironically risk slow growth and being outcompeted by their competitors. However, whilst large companies are more reliable, or ‘safe,’ this can become repetitive and boring. Moreover, this also means there is less room to make mistakes. In startups, if you make a mistake, you can put it down to the development of the business. Mistakes in large companies can cost you large amounts of money or even your job.

When you work for a big business, such as Google or Facebook (Meta), you are part of a multifaceted production line and are unlikely to ever see the CEOs within the company. So, whilst you might feel safer in your job, it can end up feeling like a lot less of a community. Moreover, you are arguably less valued as an employee because they can easily churn you out and replace you with another model. Of course, that isn’t always the case, but it is important to discuss. Startups are usually much smaller workplaces, and you are much more likely to interact with people across different departments, including the founder/s.

Startups are not just a job, they are a lifestyle, even if you are an employee. You will likely have more responsibility and work unpredictable hours at a startup. There is generally a much better work-life balance at large companies. Hours tend to be 9-5 which is ideal for people with families. However, some might say that startups offer greater rewards and greater opportunities for learning new skills. Ultimately whether you decide to work for a large business or a startup completely depends on your personal circumstances and what you’re looking to get out of your work.

Do startups pay more than big companies?

One of the biggest myths in business is that startups offer low pay whereas big companies offer great salary benefits. In 2014, UK startup companies were paying their employees up to 26% more than the market rate. They also create more opportunities for young people looking to get into business!

The aim of many startups, especially tech startups, is to see growth in their business and eventually become a large company. Therefore, it should be said that neither startups nor big businesses are better than the other. Both need to work together to boost each other and the business sector. So, to answer the question, hopefully, neither will win but instead work together to boost each other and the business sector to new and lofty heights.