Small Business Week, celebrated every year since 1963, was May 1 to May 7. It is amazing to think that small businesses employ half of the country's workforce and create two out of every three new jobs in America, according to smallbusiness.com. In honor of the power of the small business, here are seven reasons to work for one (if, for some reason, you are not already).
Everyone will know your name. The "Cheers" theme song had it right, most of us want to go somewhere "where everybody knows your name. And they are always glad you came." Both are true of working in a small company. You are not one of thousands of employees, and since you aren't, showing up to work every day is especially appreciated by the small business owner.
You can make an impact. Statistically, 1 out of 20 or even 1 out of 100 represents a much larger value than 1 out of 1,000. Each employee in a small business has the potential to make a difference. Your good efforts and accomplishments have an excellent chance of being recognized.
You are never more than a couple of levels away from the decision-maker. Small businesses typically have much flatter organizational structures than their larger counterparts. For employees, this can mean quicker decision-making and greater access to management.
Exposure. Small businesses often hire people who can manage multiple functions or solve a variety of problems. This wider range of responsibility can be very enriching and very gratifying for people who like variety in their work. It can also allow a less-experienced employee to see a larger slice of how the business is run. This exposure is invaluable.
Customer contact. At the end of the day, all successful businesses share one important trait: they solve a need for customers. It is the essence of all business. Employees that have frequent and meaningful contact with customers find it easier to see the big picture. They also have ample opportunity to strengthen their service and sales skills. In his book, "How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It," Mark Cuban, billionaire entrepreneur and investor, advises, "Learn to sell. In business you're always selling -- to your prospects, investors, and employees." He adds, "Your customers can tell you the things that are broken and how they want to be made happy. Listen to them."
Learning how to listen and how to solve customers' problems increases your professional value. In a small business, it is typically easier to interact with customers than in a large enterprise.
Many successful small businesses are started by former employees of large firms. Although there are some small businesses that are founded by inexperienced owners, often a small business is the brainchild of a former corporate employee or manager who decided to try things in a different way. These owners have seen some of the less glamorous aspects of large corporations, like slow decision-making and bureaucracy, and had a fresh approach to improve the way business is conducted.
See something different. Working for a small business can give you a chance to see a modern and often improved approach within seasoned industries. Furthermore, because a small business may not have the resources and the efficiencies of a large company, there is often a greater reliance on creativity and ingenuity to attract customers and resolve business challenges.
Nearly everyone relies on small businesses one way or another. There has never been a better time to join the ranks of millions of American employees who have found their ideal career positions within a small business. With ample opportunities, relatively flat organizational charts and an inspiring reliance on new ways to stay competitive, small businesses are a great place for you to make a big impact.
Robin Reshwan is the founder of Collegial Services, a consulting/staffing firm that connects college students, recent graduates and the organizations that hire them and a certified Women's Business Enterprise (WBE). She has interviewed, placed and hired thousands of people across a broad spectrum of companies and industries. Her career tips and advice are used by universities, national clubs/associations and businesses. A Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Robin has been honored as a Professional Business Woman of the Year by the American Business Women's Association. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and as a Regents Scholar from University of California, Davis.
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