Whether you’re a fresh-faced college graduate looking for your first full-time role or a seasoned professional seeking a career change, you may find yourself applying to companies of various sizes during your next job hunt. Company size is certainly a factor to consider, as it will likely affect multiple aspects of your professional experience. Here are some pros and cons to ponder when it comes to working for a small business:
Expand and diversify your experience quickly
Your role will likely be far less specialized at a small company, and you’ll be faced with opportunities to work on a great deal of different projects and initiatives (take advantage of those opportunities!). Business also tends to move at a quicker pace within a small organization, so you will gain many diversified experiences rapidly. You can fine tune your existing talents, learn a myriad of new skills you may not have learned in a more specialized role, and broaden your professional horizons.
Work closely with and learn from leadership
As part of a small organization, you may find yourself working right alongside the company’s leadership – perhaps the CEO, founder, or director of your department. This will allow you to learn valuable lessons and skills from them directly on a regular basis, an opportunity which might not be presented within a larger business. One or more of these people may eventually become a professional mentor for you, passing along some of the lessons they’ve learned on their way.
Increased visibility with decision makers
Small teams tend to work together on many initiatives regardless of each individual’s job title to capture new, innovative ideas. This may be a formal process in a structured meeting, or it could take place as a casual conversation over morning coffee in the office. If you’re involved in team meetings or brainstorms in a groupthink setting like this, you may have opportunities to share your creative ideas and thoughts directly with decision makers in the organization. You may see some of your original ideas come to life, whether it’s an idea for a catchy line of copy, a way to improve an existing process, or a new campaign strategy.
Limited opportunities for growth
Being part of a small business means just that – a small team with fewer people. Although there are many advantages to this, it also means the chances of being promoted within the same company may be lower. If internal advancement is possible, it may take longer compared to some larger businesses that promote from within at a quicker, more regular pace. Turnover at a small business may be low, or there may be a large differential between skill sets for the positions within a department. For example, if a small company’s two operations employees are a director and an intern, it might not be a natural progression for the intern to be able to move seamlessly into the director’s position.
Lack of established company culture
Depending on the age of the company, a small business may still be working to develop important foundations such as a solid company culture, a mission statement and vision, best practices, or an established set of guidelines, manuals, and training processes. There might be some growing pains or moments of confusion as the business establishes these elements.
Fewer luxury perks or benefits
A small business may not be able to offer some of the finer perks large businesses are able to afford. Think along the lines of complementary meals or drinks during the work day, child care, or an on-site gym. This may also include more standard things such as attending industry conferences or traveling to other office locations. If a small business is just getting started or is running on a tighter budget to stay afloat, experiences and perks like these may not come with the job.