Don’t work at a big company for long if you want to start on your own.
The skills you learn in a big company are mostly not transferable to a startup.
Big companies hire a specialist and get people to do specialist work. The longer you stay at a startup, the narrower the scope of your work becomes.
For a startup, you want to be the opposite of a specialist, a generalist.
Big companies also may kill your risk appetite, which is a must for running and growing a startup.
There are exceptions, of course.
Here is how working at a big company can help in running and growing your startup.
1. Work at a big company for a year or two if you want to save some money before starting up.
2. Also working at a big company might help if you want to learn about the internal problems of such companies and want to sell to them later.
3. Big companies are also great places to learn about working with teams, organization design, people management, scaling, and developing processes.
4. If you work in a cross-functional environment, there are a lot of opportunities to improve your communication skills in a big company.
5. If you are at a big company, take advantage of any program that pays for your training and skill enhancement.
6. A big company is also a great place to build connections, especially for finding future co-founders or for hiring people for your future startup.
7. It is also a great way to learn about customers. So if you are in a customer-facing role, you’ll be able to find what customers really want and value. It is very helpful for someone who wants to do a startup in the same field.
8. You can also learn how to charge more, and communicate the value a customer will get in return. You’ll gain confidence to gain big clients.
9. If you plan to raise funds for your startup, experience at a big company may help in establishing your reputation in the eyes of investors.
So for most folks, working at a big company will help before starting up, only if you don’t stay longer than 2 or 3 years.