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Do You Have What It Takes to Work for a Small Business?

Do You Have What It Takes to Work for a Small Business?

Max Klausner | SmallBizLink

November 09, 2009

The Big Picture:
Before Wal-Mart, Apple, and Disney were corporate empires, they started out as small businesses driven by passionate people who each had a vision. Small businesses are part of America’s roots. They foster entrepreneurial spirit and pave the way for innovation and creative thinking.

The Numbers:

Small businesses are technically defined as an independently owned firm with 1-100 employees. Aside from driving innovation, small businesses represent 99.7% of all employer firms in the U.S. and employ nearly half of all private sector employees. Additionally, small businesses have generated 60-to-80% of new jobs created over the past decade. As America begins to emerge from a crippling recession, small businesses will play a pivotal role in job creation. It is very likely your best chances of finding a job will be with a small business.

The Nature of Small Business: Do You Have What it Takes?

Small businesses & entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes but they share fundamental characteristics: ideas, passion, expertise and a relentless work ethic. These traits are essential to overcoming the day-to-day swings small businesses face.

The overarching challenge for most small businesses is a finite amount of capital. They must maximize their resources and do less with more. The result is longer hours and multiple hats for employees to wear. These two requirements, combined with passionate employees, can often lead to high stress levels and fevered debates over business strategy on a daily basis.

Limited cash also forces small businesses to be creative with their offices & facilities. Do not expect to be working in posh accommodations with catered lunches. In fact, 52 percent of small businesses are home-based. You will be forced to think creatively about how you use your resources and be wise with expenditures.

The Perks

At this point you may be second-guessing the idea of working for a small business. More stressful working conditions, longer hours, & fewer resources — what’s in it for me? Actually, quite a few things:

Responsibility: You will be counted on to go above and beyond. This includes performing multiple roles at once. Your individual efforts are more important to the company as a whole and your work makes a difference. Instead of feeling like a peon, your opinions actually are taken into consideration. Ultimately this is a far more fulfilling experience, which gives you ownership over your day-to-day activities and the success of the business.

Skills:Performing diverse functions will inevitably force you to learn a wider range of skills. Not only will your workdays be more intellectually stimulating, you’ll also become more valuable to future employers.

Relationships: When working in a small business you are often working along side the owner(s) of the company, which is beneficial in a couple of ways. First, these business leaders bring a wealth of experience and talent that you can learn from. Second, this gives you the opportunity to forge strategic relationships with decision makers who will be able to help your career for years to come.

Potential: Ultimately one of the greatest perks of working in a small business is the potential to quickly rise through the ranks. If you deliver results and learn the inner workings of the company you become indispensible. As the company grows so does your role and salary.

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