Companies range in size from a single employee to tens and even hundreds of thousands of employees. When you are looking to start your career, you need to decide whether you want to work at a behemoth of a company or at a small business. Each has advantages and disadvantages, but here are ten reasons to choose a small company when you are first starting out.
1. Fast track
Because small businesses have fewer employees, they rely on the people they have to do more. This means handling projects, dealing with clients, and really getting your hands dirty in the day-to-day operations of your company.
The experience you gain from “doing it all” will be invaluable in the future. It will pad your resume with outstanding achievements and make you very attractive as a manager, project leader, or boss.
2. Better networking
Small companies find success by building strong relationships. Chances are good that you will be involved in that relationship-building and that you will get to meet a lot of great contacts. In a large company, networking is less important because the business is established. Your opportunities for making connections are simply fewer.
3. Project-oriented hiring
Small companies tend to be hyper-focused on specific projects. They are going to tell you exactly what they need you to and then give you free rein to get it done. You will not have to deal with vague job descriptions or try to find out “where you fit.” You will hit the ground running with a project that is probably exclusive to you or just a few other people.
4. Learn the trade
If you have the entrepreneurial bug, there is no better place to learn the tricks of the trade than at a small company that is trying to make a go of things. You will not learn much about starting a business from a large, established company. Skills you will learn include leadership, marketing, networking, capital management, and so forth.
5. You are a doer
Big companies move slowly. Everything has to work through established channels and be approved before work can begin. Sometimes the process takes years. At the very least, it takes months to get a project approved.
At a small company, you pitch your ideas directly to the boss or a managing partner and they give it a go/no-go approval almost immediately. Things get done much faster at small companies.
6. Title versus opportunity
At large companies, titles are the key to success and that means you spend a lot of time worrying about promotions rather than worrying about the projects you are assigned to complete.
At a small company, success speaks for itself. If you do your job well, you will be rewarded. If you are the type of person who does not care about titles or who despises titles, go with the small company.
7. Project management
Everyone thinks that working at a large company teaches you how to manage large projects. The truth, however, is that you just learn how to manage a small slice of a large project.
If you want real control, you are only going to find it at a small company where you will be holding the reins on most of your projects.
In a large company, you will become good at doing one thing and one thing only. At a small company, you will be expected to be flexible and to adapt to new challenges. Work at a large company often becomes stale and boring over time. The real fun is to be had at start-ups.
9. Relaxed atmosphere
Small companies tend to put less emphasis on things like dress codes, ID badges, work hours, etc. At a small business, you will be working in a more flexible, laid-back environment where getting the work done well is given priority over how you dressed while you did it. People in small companies generally share similar interests and so you tend to be closer to your colleagues.
10. Unparalleled experience
Working for a small company prepares you to do many things well and when all is said and done, your career options are far broader than if you had spent the same amount of time at a large corporation. Even if you do not want to stay at a small company forever, starting out there can give your future career a huge boost.
Everyone says “go big,” but going with a small company has some tremendous advantages. Of course, there are certain drawbacks as well. You have to weigh the positives against the negatives for your own personal situation. The list above will get you started with evaluating the benefits of a small company.