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Working At A Smaller Company: A Complete Guide

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Small businesses are a vital part of the United States economy, both nationally and locally. They provide communities with services and products that cater to specific demands.

This brings about the question: what’s a smaller company? What’s it like working at a smaller company? How can you find one?

Today’s articles answer all these questions and more to help you understand the structure, advantages, and drawbacks of smaller companies so you can figure out if they match your needs.

What is a Smaller Company?

Generally speaking, a smaller company is one with fewer than 250 employees across all of its locations or fewer than 20 employees at an individual business location.

However, various definitions can be used to describe a smaller company.

Among other multiple factors, you can deem a business small either by the number of employees it has or the amount of revenue it generates.

Naturally, smaller companies have fewer employees and bring in lower profits compared to larger companies. However, this allows smaller businesses to access more of the government’s support resources.

Additionally, locally operating small-scale establishments can better provide specialized services or products that target certain needs within their local communities.

Smaller companies can also establish collaborative sponsorships or partnerships tailored to benefit community events or efforts.

That said, there are different types of structures that a small business can adopt. Examples include sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited liability company, limited partnership, and non-profit.

Why Are Smaller Companies Better?

Several differences between small and big companies tip the scale toward smaller businesses and make them a generally better option for work.

Smaller companies usually conduct faster hiring processes as opposed to larger forms where you’d need to pass multiple interviews before you’re given the job. In other words, they have a lower barrier to entry.

The smaller size also corresponds to fewer hoops that you have to jump through to get the bureaucratic stuff out of the way. Operations in smaller businesses are notably less complicated.

Additionally, working at a smaller company tends to expose you to a wider range of responsibilities and functions within the same role in larger establishments. That’s simply due to the fewer employees present.

Not to mention, smaller companies usually offer more flexibility and laidback. They also tend to give you more security and a higher chance of making a difference.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Working for a Smaller Company?

One of the best ways to decide whether working at a smaller company is the right move for you is to look at the pros and cons of the situation.

Pros of Working at a Smaller Company

Here are some benefits of joining a small-sized business:

More Visibility

Small companies usually offer less specialized roles compared to big corporations. This means that an employee with the same title would do more diverse tasks in a smaller business than in a larger one.

Employees at smaller companies get to interact with more staff members more often, have a longer list of responsibilities, and contribute more effectively to decision-making. Thanks to the increased visibility in smaller companies, employees can climb the ranks more easily.

More Flexibility

Smaller companies are more flexible when it comes to work-life balance and shift arrangements as they typically have fewer rules and less strict regulations.

More Creative Thinking

Because employees are covering a wider range of tasks/functions in smaller companies, they’re likely to learn more skills in multiple areas and gain experience beyond the conventional responsibilities of their position.

Closer Company Culture

A smaller company means fewer coworkers and a higher chance of bonding with them. The closer company culture also makes it easier to collaborate with colleagues to complete tasks.

Entry Point Into the Industry

Last but not least, getting a job in a smaller establishment can help you get started with your career and even provide you with a chance to land a position at a bigger company in the industry.

Cons of Working at a Smaller Company

Here are some drawbacks to joining a small-sized business:

Not as Much Room for Growth

Working at a smaller company can slow down your growth due to the limited opportunities for career advancement. You may not be able to transfer to other departments or get promoted.

Additionally, fewer employees mean a lower chance of finding a mentor and a bigger probability of interacting with colleagues that you don’t necessarily get along with.

Smaller Budgets

As expected, small-sized companies run on smaller budgets compared to larger firms. This is bound to translate into lower salaries, slower expansion ventures, and so on.

Fewer Resources

Building on the previous point, smaller budgets in smaller companies mean fewer resources are available.

Consequently, training programs, seminars, equipment, staff, employee trips, and other resources would be limited.

Fewer Benefits

Also building on the smaller budget disadvantage, smaller companies tend to offer fewer benefits.

As such, health insurance, paid time off, overtime, retirement planning, and other perks aren’t as attractive as in larger companies.

How to Find a Small Company

If you need help to get a job at a small company, consider the following options:

Visit Them In-Person

An easy way to get in touch with a small company is to go down there in person.

Start your search with the area where you live. Drive around the town and keep an eye on small businesses’ offices or go through the business section of your local newspaper.

Once you pinpoint the location of some small companies, schedule a visit and a meeting with the owner/manager. If the company is open to it, try shadowing to see for yourself what it’s like to work there.

Try Localwise

Now part of the FlexJobs family, Localwise is a local hiring community that connects local professionals, students, and community members with local employers and jobs.

Remember, while browsing listed openings, you should avoid applying to multiple jobs in the same company.

Look on Craigslist

Other than jobs listed on Indeed and LinkedIn, you can also find openings on Craigslist. This website isn’t just about advertising items and housing, but also jobs in a wide variety of sectors across the country.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Smaller Companies Riskier?

Working at smaller companies is less risky than at larger firms because of the closer relationship with colleagues and the wider scope of responsibilities in each position in smaller establishments. These factors make it more of a hassle for the small company employer to let go of an employee.

What is it Called When a Company Has Smaller Companies?

When a company owns several different smaller, independent companies, it’s often referred to as a conglomerate where the parent company owns a controlling share of stakes in each of the smaller companies.

Wrapping Up

There you have it, a detailed guide to working at a smaller company. Whether you’re looking for a definition of what a small business is, wondering why it’s better than a larger company, or trying to list the pros/cons of small companies, this article has it covered.

As always, leave a comment if you have any questions.

Working at a smaller company offers you more visibility, increased flexibility, extra room for creativity, and a closer work culture. It can also serve as a gateway to bigger employers in the Industry, but it usually comes with a lower salary, fewer benefits, and more limited resources.

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