The Benefits Of Working For A Small Business
I have interviewed thousands of people over the years and there has most certainly been a clear distinction between the ‘corporates’ and the ‘non-corporates.’ Without a shadow of a doubt, I fall into the latter group.
When I moved countries, I went against my better judgement and decided to give corporate a go and joined a listed global business. I lasted a measly two months. I was plain and simply just not cut out for it – in any way, shape or form.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against corporates and have thriving relationships with many of them – I just don’t function well on a day to day basis within one. I have always worked for private businesses with less than 50 employees and I would not have it any other way. I meet a lot of people who are starting out their careers and are torn as to whether or not they should go the corporate route or the small business route. Like most choices in life, each come with a list of pros and cons and I really think it boils down to what you are motivated by and where you derive value from.
GIVEN MY AFFINITY FOR SMALLER BUSINESSES, I CAN SHARE WHAT I FEEL ARE SOME OF THE PROS:
1. YOU GET TO WORK ALONGSIDE THE DECISION MAKERS
I am all about visibility and working towards a mutually beneficial, common goal. I like to hear things from the source and thrive off others people’s drive and passion. Nothing is quite as attractive as passion! In a smaller business, the decision makers are an arm’s length away and you really feel like you are part of something and making a contribution to that something.
You want to be in a position that when you are asked to jump, you respond by saying, how high?
2. IT’S PERSONAL
With fewer people around, you really get to know the people you work with and on a meaningful level. You and your individuality become an integral part of the business and how it operates, which again, allows you to derive value and find meaning in how and why you do what you do. The quarters are too close for you to ignore or avoid what is going on around you – it forces you to work on yourself and develop your weaknesses. In this sort of environment the saying, ‘you are only as strong as the weakest link,’ really rings true. You will go out of your way to help a colleague and know that they would do the same for you.
3. YOU HAVE THE AGILITY OF A CAT
With fewer cogs in the wheel, fewer layers, decisions can be made almost instantly. This strips your processes of red tape and allows you to be innovative and respond to changes in the market within the window of opportunity. Agility also allows for more collaboration and equally, when things are not working, you can alter your strategy right there and then. It just feels more fluid and gainly and because of the nature of small businesses, change is your sweet spot.
4. YOU GET TO DO MORE, OF EVERYTHING
The mere fact that there are less of you means that there is more to do. You need to punch above your weight from day one and learn to be good at a lot of things. This leads you to get to know all parts of the business intimately. And believe me, knowledge is power! It forces cohesion in the team, you leverage off one another’s strengths and you genuinely feel supported – we are all in this together! Doing more of different things means you are constantly learning, constantly developing.
5. IT IS MORE ABOUT YOU AND LESS ABOUT THEM
At the end of the day, you don’t go to work for anyone other than yourself – this might sound like an arrogant thing to say, but it’s the truth. I have always felt like I have been able to make a contribution and that the people I have worked alongside have most certainly enriched my life. Your life outside of work exists and is acknowledged. One thing to remember is that you are as much of part of the successes as you are of the failures and this keeps you humble and keeps you honest. I feel like you really learn to appreciate the small wins and have a genuine desire for everyone you work with to succeed.
Again, depending on your motivations, there are drawbacks to a smaller business, but, in my personal experience, the pros have far outweighed the cons. I have been lucky enough to have worked for some dynamite small businesses. So then, what advice can I give in making sure that you join the right business…?
Values, values, and more values!
If I look back at each business, there is one glaringly common theme – I have shared the same values as the decision makers. You need to be honest with yourself about this, don’t compromise what you believe in for short term gain, it never works out. Trust your gut – they don’t throw the term ‘family-type business’ around for no reason. Each business I have worked for has quite literally felt like home; sure there are good days and bad days but for the most part, work is a second home and my colleagues have become like family. This sentiment might seem odd but if work is where you spend 90% of your time, what more could you possibly hope for!
Finding the perfect business to work in can be tough! If you want help finding the perfect fit in the accounting, finance or banking fields, why not get in touch and have a confidential chat to one of our experienced consultants?