I have worked for various companies throughout the last 14 years of my professional career. No, that’s not too much, and I am still young in many people’s eyes, but I would like to think that it’s not little either.
Over the course of these 14 years, I have worked for a small non-digital marketing company (because 14 years ago we weren’t as digital as we would like to think/remember), I have been a teacher of English, worked in a bank and for the past 4 years I have been an online entrepreneur building my path from freelancer, through an online company, to being the founder of several online organizations.
Why is it better to start in a small company?
When you start working, most of the times you know nothing. It doesn’t matter how much you have learned in school or college, or how many internships you have taken (there is a question if you even had the opportunity to intern anywhere). You may think you know how things are done but reality quickly hits you and you find yourself asking everyone so many questions that sometimes you wind up asking, “What was my name again?”
Small companies usually don’t have an army of people, and it’s very likely you will do quite a few things that were never part of the initial agreement. You find that your role can quickly switch from one assignment or team to another based on how the business is growing or pivoting (or even what the latest unreasonable request from a client even if he knows the company does not do that at that time was).
This is actually good. Not only can you be more personally connected with everyone else, but you also develop skills for multitasking and learning new things. Acquiring new knowledge and skills is the one most important thing you need if you want to grow and be successful no matter where you work – and this is how you learn it best.
Don’t run away from corporations if you haven’t experienced them
Despite the title of this article, you shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to work for a large company or corporation if you do get it at some point in your life. Depending on your abilities or personality you may even like it more. However, it’s very different from being a part of a small team.
When you join a large company (for example a a bank) you become one small cog in a big machine and it’s much like joining the army. You learn discipline, the chain of command, and just how much you sometimes depend on other people. In many cases, there is no need for multitasking, you will not be a marketer, programmer, client agent or something else at the same time, but you will learn how to do the best you can with the tasks you are given and maybe even take that simple process one step further.
Small businesses can always care more about their clients.
Today, we live in a world where there is little opportunity to say that you offer a unique service. Add to that all businesses are racing to attract and keep their clients with a personal touch. From the other perspective, when you want to buy something, you have so many companies to choose from, you want someone who will not only give you a generic product off the shelf, but someone you can trust and a product or service custom built for you.
Trust comes when you get to know your clients, talk to them, understand their pains and problems. Small businesses have a big advantage here. They can serve a limited amount of clients at a time, and invest themselves completely. Most of the clients I have come across end up sharing stories about their holidays, free time, as well as their latest successes and problems.
Even the clients know that they will get more from you because you’re invested more. You need them as much as they need you – and that can lead to a long lasting business relationship. Even if it doesn’t, even if you offer a one-time service that the client doesn’t need more than once, you will be amazed at just how much more business you will have when you have a satisfied client who is not shy about referring you to others because they trust that you are worth it.
Now, I am not saying this cannot happen with large corporations, rather that it is much more relevant to a small business and why I love building relationships with my clients.