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Is working for a small business the right career move for you?

When you're thinking about changing jobs or looking for work, it's easy to think of big-name companies that you might like to work for. But there are thousands of small companies out there who are also looking to hire. Is working for a small business the right career move for you? To help you decide, we'll take a look at some of the pros and cons of working for a smaller organisation.

Pros

  • Varied experience Smaller organisations need to fill a lot of the same functions as larger organisations, but with fewer people. This means that you are likely to have more variety in the tasks that you do. For example, if you work in accounts for a very large organisation you may find that you only deal with accounts payable. In a small company you could gain experience across all aspects of accounting. This is a great learning opportunity as you will get a broad view of business operations. Many people enjoy this variety as it means you never have two days the same.
  • Responsibility When you are a big fish in a little pond, you often find that you are expected to take more responsibility than you would be in a larger team.
  • Make a difference Like the point above, being part of a smaller team means that you are often able to make a difference that you couldn't make in a larger organisation. You will likely have a broader view of what's going on and easier access to upper management so when you have a brilliant new idea, you have a better chance of seeing it put into action.
  • Know your team In a small team, for better or worse, everyone knows everyone. This can create a really postive, close-knit atmosphere. It also means that you are able to really show your boss what you can do.

Cons

  • You're in charge of your career Smaller companies don't have pre-planned career paths for all their staff. Even where advancement is possible, it can be hindered by various factors. In order to advance in a small company, you need to figure out how to make yourself valuable and show your employer what you're worth.
  • Training and mentorship Small businesses do not have the training and mentorship schemes often seen in larger organisations. Training and mentorship is often still available, whether in-house or through networking partners, but again, you need to drive this yourself.
  • Less promotion opportunities This depends on how large the business is, but in very small companies, promotion opportunities can be quite rare, especially if it's a good place to work so people don't leave very often. This means that in order to progress you may need to be willing to move to a new organisation after a number of years.
Is working for a small business the right career move for you?
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