The Advantages of Working for a Small Business
There was a good article last Saturday in the New York Times using data to share insight on the job creation aspects of small versus large businesses.
The data shows that the largest job growth AND job losses are from large businesses. Small businesses record less job growth, but also fewer losses.
For this reason and others, as you are looking at your next career move I’d like to urge you to consider working for a small business. As with anything in life, there are pros and cons – but I do think in this environment, the pros are very attractive.
1. Ability to learn all levels within a business: In a large company, each staffer will have a specific function. In a small business, a single person will generally need to take on multiple roles. If you haven’t figured out where your interests lie yet, this can be a great way to explore multiple jobs without having to change jobs or to get hired for a position that you haven’t formally done. Also, when it’s time to move on to your next job, you’ll be able to market yourself for a larger number of positions.
2. Ability to learn directly from the management team: In a large company, you may never interact with the CEO or his/her inner circle, but in a small business, you’re more likely to interact with them frequently or even work directly for them. The management, strategy, and operations lessons will be invaluable.
3. More responsibility: This can be good or bad, depending on what you’re looking for in a job, but when you work for a small company, there will be times when decision-making tasks will fall on you whether they are supposed to or not and whether you want them to or not. You’ll quickly learn to handle the stress of decision-making and how to make the decisions that your boss wants you to make.
4. Less red tape and more flexibility: To some extent, this benefit will depend on the firm’s culture and leadership’s personality, but the reason large companies often have so much red tape is because with so many employees, there needs to be standardized procedures and management layers to make sure that work is streamlined.
5. Getting noticed/getting credit for your work: Even if your boss is so busy that he or she doesn’t seem to be aware of many of your contributions to the company on a day-to-day basis, you’ll have a much better chance of getting credit for your work when you’re not competing with 100 other employees. When you are more closely involved with your boss, it can be easier to justify raises and promotions because the person who can give you these things will have plenty of firsthand knowledge of what you’ve done for the company.
The negative side of working for a small company centers around the smaller scale and resources (typically) available to staff. This might mean a differently constructed compensation plan, longer waits to get the most cutting edge technology or software, or lack of name recognition of your firm. But, even with these potential drawbacks, working for a small business can be an important, interesting and fun; and I recommend you consider it as a prospect for employment.
Angie Kamath, who overseesWorkforce1 as the Deputy Commissioner of Workforce Development at the NYC Department of Small Business Services, shares her perspective on Workforce1 and the New York City job market every Wednesday in her weekly Jobs in New York City column.
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