You graduate from college and many of your friends are getting offers from the top 3 or 4 companies in each of their chosen industries, and you feel like a failure because you can’t seem to land the same kind of job. You have taken the time to educate yourself about the employers to pursue in your area of expertise, but you feel like you may be choosing to pursue a long-term commitment to those companies for all the wrong reasons.
Could it be that just having big company perks and other commonly sought-after benefits of working for a big company is not all that it seems?
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that big companies are the only way to go for that first big job in your 20s. Not only are there five times more people pursuing those jobs than small business employment, but according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, since the early 90s and the technological industry boom, start-ups and other small businesses have added more than 8 million new jobs to the economy.
The United States alone has nearly 30 million small businesses to choose from, so consider some advantages of working for a small business.
1. Develop a relationship with the people at the top
Small businesses nearly always have less management layers to sift through. Mid-level management is virtually non-existent in the majority of small businesses in the U. S., so you will have greater access to the decision-makers within the company.
With consistent and possibly daily access to the owner or company director, they will be more fully aware of your accomplishments within the scope of the work you do on a daily basis. This gives you the opportunity to develop a real working relationship with someone who can change your future.
This is a great motivator and those valuable and unique relationships you develop with the higher-level people at a small company could last a lifetime and be a benefit to you for the rest of your career.
2. Avoid Being Just One of the Crowd
Small businesses don’t hire dozens of people at once fresh out of college who are all doing the same job. Small businesses have far less capital to work with and tend to hire more selectively. They are better at managing their employees because they get to know the person during the hiring process BEFORE they hire them. They have an idea of how they will fit into the mix of other employees.
They also will get to know what strengths you can bring to the table and what weaknesses in skills you need to work on, so that when you move up the career ladder in your industry to possibly another company, you have created a greater portfolio of skills to present.
3. Greater Financial Opportunities
It may not even occur to you, but you actually might have a greater opportunity to make money working for a small business. Think about it: a small business that has a new idea. That makes you one of the cogs that turn a very new wheel in the industry that may take off and net you a very substantial financial gain.
Many newer small businesses give employees an opportunity to invest in their new ideas as well as develop them. You can have shares to show for your efforts in contributing to its growth. Big companies don’t often give new employees or any employees for that matter, this kind of hands-on opportunity to make money from what they do at the office.
4. Learn all aspects of the business inside and out
If you choose a large business to begin your career with while you are in your 20s, you are more than likely going to get caught up in only what your department is assigned to do by some mid-level manager or management team. You may never get an opportunity to know what happens to your efforts at the next level or even how the tasks you were assigned ended up with you in the first place. Not so with a small business environment where everyone’s responsibilities are usually known throughout every step and aspect of the business process.
The best part is that you will probably be able to contribute at more than just your level. You will more than likely be able to follow the trail of progress with whatever the company is developing as far as you want to take it, and possibly all the way to marketing and onto the “shelves”.
For example, dispatchers have many responsibilities, but we don’t often sit down with this person and ask what they do if we work in this environment. Same with the administrative assistant or the interns that do the grunt work. They all contribute something to the work at hand and a small business gives you the time to understand everyone’s process and how it contributes to what you do.
This exposure to all aspects and all job tasks can also give you great insight into how it would be to start your own small business down the road and what skillsets you will need in your employees in order to be successful from the ground up.
5. Diversify your skill set by participating in new projects
Small businesses usually are dealing with much smaller safety nets of large capital that is expendable for trying to implement riskier ideas. So, many smaller companies find the manpower they need by taking the employees they have and diversifying their skills throughout different levels of projects.
In a larger company, you may be pigeon-holed day after day on working through just one type of problem and only developing that one skill. Instead, you will have an opportunity to not only use more skills that you have on a variety of applications in new projects, but you will also learn from others around you about new skills that you can develop.
For instance, your niche may be engineering, but you are asked by management to help with the marketing campaign because you worked closely on other aspects of the project so marketing has a different perspective. You could possibly stumble across other talents you have that you never thought you did. This rarely happens in a big corporation.
This usually leads to projects getting completely faster and moving on to other bigger ideas and learning more. Imagine how your resume will be complemented with so many more skills that you can add to it after working for a small business.
So, getting caught up in just the anticipated perks of working for a large corporation is not the best reason to work for a large company. Consider the bigger picture and the “bigger” benefits of beginning in your 20s with a small business.