When I was young I used to hear from older people that working for a big enterprise used to mean a big salary, benefits and satisfaction. After 10 years running a small enterprise with almost 50 employees it is clear to me that working for a SME can bring you better rewards than its counterpart.
You will be surprised to know the number of employees who are dissatisfied with their employment career working for a big enterprise. So let me give you my opinion as to what are the advantages of working for a SME:
- Friendly and non-competitive environment
Many SME have a family friendly working environment in which all the employees know each other and work together to achieve the company’s goal. As they know each other better they work closer to each other and it reduces the chances of creating a competitive environment.
- Your work makes a difference right in front of your eyes
Sometimes working for a big company leaves you with a sense that no matter how hard you work or how much you improve within that role you will never get totally satisfied or rewarded for it. In a SME your work really makes a difference and there is no way you can pretend you are working when you are not. The level of internal company politics increases as the company grows. There are many people, however, who cannot work in a company where politics is more important than efficiency and/or working as a team in order to improve their personal career.
- Work very closely to the decision maker
The vast majority of big companies have a well-defined decision making hierarchy and you must respect it. In a small company you will work closer to the decision makers and you can learn a lot from them. This will also benefit you in other topics, such as:
- Easier to be listened to
As you’re working closer to the decision maker as you would be in a big enterprise, the chances of you being listened to in a small company are higher than in a big company as the communication process is very simple: if you don’t agree with something, please knock at the boss’s door.
- Contribute to new ideas
In a SME the chances of new ideas that you might have being implemented are bigger than if you work for a big enterprise. In addition to this, usually SME can adapt easier and quicker to a number of new initiatives, which makes the land helpful for those waiting for a chance to shine with great ideas.
- You can participate and be part of almost all the decisions made by the company
This is another benefit of working closer to the boss. If you want to join a SME you need to be ready to participate and to share your thoughts to help the company decision maker and the rest of the team. Even though the subject being discussed is not what you are a specialist in, good SME decision makers want to listen to as many people as they can in order to take a decision. The way in which you contribute to the organisation is very important, however, being a proactive individual is key to make a difference and have your voice heard.
- Easier to change positions and develop your career
Then you may be asking “how about me?” or “how would it benefit my career?”. Well, most of the SME founders understand how important is to have employees doing what they like. There should be no problems in changing an employee’s position as long as they ask for it. If you have an open vacancy make sure you invite other employees to participate in the application process as well. It is quicker and easier to change positions in a SME than in a big company.
- Understand how important it is to measure profitability
A good part of SME employees learn the importance of preparing monthly profit and loss reports as well as monthly cash flow reports in order to keep updated with the company’s financial performance. The calculation is very simple: how much money the company received and how much money was spent in costs and expenses. There is no such thing as a creative accounting system in a SME as there are in big companies. In a small company there is no way you can pretend the company’s performance was good when it was not. This is a trick that many big companies play with.
- Having a Clear and realistic idea of how to run a business
Most of the employees working for a big company understand very well what they need to do, how to work in their specific department but they don’t really understand how to run a business. Working for a SME will give you a clear picture of how to run a business. It will become clear to you how the different departments in the company operate and need each other. It is very rare to find internal department competition in a SME. In big companies some departments believe they are more important than others thus creating a bad working environment for all the other employees.
It is important to mention that adding big brand companies to your CV will definitely open new doors for your career. Bear in mind, however, that you shall expect a stricter and harder path in comparison to smaller companies, which may turn in frustration in the long run if you’re not given enough space to grow within the same enterprise. There are also other pros of working in big enterprises which we will leave for another article.