If you have an idea for a product or service that has potential to be the next big thing, you might be tempted to launch your own start-up right away. But there are a number of reasons why you might want to first work at an established company.
First of all, you can benefit from the normal hours and steady paycheck. Start-ups are notoriously demanding of their few employees, often expecting 24-hour devotion while providing little in the way of resources.
Additionally, if you’re looking for money to explore your innovative idea, you’ll likely have a much easier time getting it from your boss at a stable corporation than you would from a group of start-up investors. This concept of exploring new initiatives from within the confines of an existing business even has its own name: intrapreneurship.
Debra Rossi is an experienced intrapreneur, despite working as the executive vice president of Wells Fargo, which is a 165-year-old bank and part of a tightly-controlled industry. Rossi is also the president of the Electronic Transactions Association, and she flexes her intrapreneurial muscles at Wells Fargo by deciding which innovative start-ups are allowed to use the bank’s credit-card processing.
One day, a curious start-up landed on her desk. The company’s business plan involved auctioning off things like stuffed animals. It was called eBay. Rossi took a risk on eBay’s unusual business model and it paid off. The partnership ended up being a game changer in how electronic payments are handled on the internet.
Working for an established company is also a great way to develop useful skills that will increase your chances of successfully launching your own company one day.
Julie Wainwright worked as a brand manager for the cleaning-supply corporation Clorox before starting her web-based luxury consignment business, The RealReal. After three years at Clorox, Wainwright understood how to navigate between profit and loss, as well as the ins and outs of brand strategy and marketing management.
But she didn’t stop there. After Clorox, she worked at Software Publishing Corporation, where she set up international distribution systems throughout Europe and learned more about writing business plans and delivering profitable results.
Wainwright believes that by working for these two companies, she got the hands-on business skills she needed to launch her own successful company. So even if you’re itching to start your own company, there’s a good chance you still have a lot to learn.