10 reasons to work for a small business

You may not have considered working for a small business before, but once you have, it can be a career changing move and the benefits can far outweigh those of a large global company.

During our working life, the average person will change careers 5-7 times according to career change statistics. In an average year, 30% of the workforce will change their job every 12 months and this year will be no exception with a fluctuating job market.

For many job seekers, it is proving difficult to stay in your ideal role, and has created an opportunity for us all to think differently and make that career change.

Working for a small business can be that first stepping stone to realising your career, building upon your skills base and making your mark.

10 benefits of working for a small business

1. Fast transition to remote working – During the Covid-19 pandemic, smaller businesses saw a fast transition to remote working for their employees. According to Capterra, 43% of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) adopted a new process quickly, adapting their team communication and installing new software to facilitate remote working within just a week after the lock down, and 96% of employees received guidelines on different aspects of working from home. It is expected that a partial or full remote working arrangement may stay in place post the pandemic and many smaller companies will give preference to remote working over a large corporate.

2. Put you in the spotlight – Working for a small business can put you in the spotlight, where you need to prove your worth and what you can bring to the team. You will be working more directly with senior levels and gain confidence in your ability to interact with others and communicate clearly. This is a key skill which is lacking amongst key workers, and being able to communicate in your role, and bring ideas to the table are strong assets which you can take to your next role.

3. Personal development – A smaller workplace can mean more cohesive working and an employee-centric work culture which leads to personal development and a nurturing environment, focused on training opportunities and greater role clarification. Often, a job that you applied for will suddenly include extra responsibilities at the same pay level, but extra responsibilities can also mean adding new skills to your CV.

4. Adapt quickly to fit in – Finding your feet in a new role can be daunting and being able to adapt quickly to the role and fit in with the team is often a given. For a larger business, it is easy to be left to get on and hit the ground running, but working for a smaller company is generally more supportive with the chance to learn on the job without all the pressures to perform from day one.

5. Hands on and an all rounder – A small business stays profitable because it has hard working teams of people who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves. It can be more hands on, and if you want to prove yourself, you will work outside of your assigned job role, but see this as a benefit. You will learn to self manage and become an all rounder, someone who colleagues will turn to for support. Becoming a valuable member of the team who brings value to the company is a strong trait to have.

6. A chance to shine – You don’t get lost in the crowd working for a smaller business, and if there are less than 50 employees, it gives you a chance to shine in your role and to enjoy working as part of a team. Teamwork is the biggest takeaway, because one day, if you are leading a team, you will have first hand experience of how to boost team morale and completing projects as a team.

7. A flatter structure can mean direct reports to senior teams – As smaller companies have fewer staff to report to in the org structure, there is the opportunity to work more closely with senior managers and to report to them directly on projects. This can forge a strong bond where your boss can see first hand what your abilities are, and if you decide to move on from the company, your manager can write a good reference which speaks directly of what they know you are capable of because they have worked alongside you.

8. Thinking out of the box – Smaller businesses encourage creativity and this goes hand in hand with working as part of a team, to share ideas and make an impact. Because smaller companies tend to have smaller budgets to work with, you get to think more creatively and push your ideas forward. If your idea turns out to save some money or generates new revenue, you will be recognised and be included in further brainstorming projects.

9. Learn the ropes – It may be your first job or a career change in your life, but whatever your situation, you can learn the ropes across different aspects of the business. By picking up a range of skills, this gives you the flexibility to move around the company and specialise in a specific role. It is only by getting out of your comfort zone, and learning new skills that you find your ideal career role. The opportunity to be recognised and fast tracked is far greater than in a large corporate company, where advancement may be at a slower pace.

10. Growth in the economy – In the UK, SME’s have created three times more jobs over the past five years than larger businesses, according to ONS data commissioned by Santander Business Banking. Whilst larger businesses continue to recruit more people, Santander suggests that SME’s will overtake larger businesses as primary employers by 2030 if the five-year growth trend continues. But there are a large number of young people who still don’t recognise the job opportunities that SME’s can offer. Santander research indicates further that just more than a third (35%) of Generation Z and Millennials leaving full-time education say they want to work for an SME, whilst a much smaller number (18%) want to work for a start up.

According to Merchant Savvy, there were 5.9m private businesses in the UK at the start of 2019, more than 99% of which were small or medium-sized businesses (SMEs) according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. SME’s are essential to the UK’s economy and their contribution is exemplified this year, as the pandemic takes its toll on the economy and survival of the fittest plays out across all industry sectors.

Young people are concerned about their futures this year, because the pandemic has paused the careers of many job seekers, but young people are discounting the role that SME’s play in the economy. It is wise to stay open to the career opportunities that working for an SME can bring.

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