There tends to be an aversion to choosing to work for smaller companies when a larger one is available. People tend to think that the larger the company is the more professional company. Or that the larger company knows exactly what they are doing, and will take you further in your career. It’s a simple “bigger is better” principle. But “better” is dependent on what you personally are looking for in the work environment. So what’s different about a small company?
Fewer Staff Members Means More Diverse Experiences
One of the strengths of a bigger company is the sheer amount of manpower. Because bigger businesses can employ more people, it means that their employees all have to specialize. Imagine a track team with several hundred members. On the whole, the team has an increased chance of winning, but the odds are drastically lowered for every individual member. Suppose you have a vague appreciation for running and so you join this mammoth team. You’re immediately going to have to decide if you are a sprinter or distance runner, what distance you want to run, and then if you want to run a relay or a solo race. You start specializing. If you enter the team as a one hundred meter sprinter, you have no chance of coming out like a pole vaulter. The same is true of a large company. You tend to stay in the field you enter.
Broaden Your Skillset
But if your track team only has twenty people, then those twenty now have to spread themselves out over the entire track and field events and you have a much better chance of finishing the track season as a sprinting, hurdling, triple-jumping, shot putter. Smaller teams mean more variety for each member. Again, it depends on personal preference. If you can think of nothing better than the two hundred meter sprint, then perhaps the big team is for you. If you enjoy running in general but the high jump and shot put also sound like they could be fun, then the small team might be the better option.
See the Project Through to Completion
Secondly, the smaller the company the more of a role you will play in a project from beginning to end. If you are ultra-specialized, projects will come onto your desk at the exact same unfinished phase every time and will leave in the exact same semi-finished phase every time. Somebody specializing in sheetrock hanging in a large company will only ever see the house transform from no sheetrock to sheetrock. He will never see the foundations laid, the skeleton built, the sheetrock mudded and taped, the windows installed, the trim hung, or the house painted. Somebody working for a small company will be able to see the project from start to finish. He might never be as efficient at sheetrocking as the first guy, but he will have a broader knowledge and will consequently be a better builder.
Develop Flexibility and a Mindset of Overcoming Obstacles
Thirdly, the smaller the company the more flexible it is. Like a 5’ basketball player, small companies can duck, dodge, and pivot exactly because they don’t specialize. Since everyone on the team is both looking at the big picture and has the ability to maneuver in the smaller picture, they will be in a much better place to troubleshoot. Suppose somebody at the large construction company shows up to hang the sheetrock and finds that there is a problem with the electrical work. At this large company, he has to call in the electrical team and postpone his own work until this other problem is fixed. At a small company, someone can go to the construction site with the intention of doing one thing and end up doing another, because he is working from a mindset of getting things done, and not just doing his assigned task.
Become More Resourceful by Working for a Small Consultancy Firm
Working for a large company comes with predictable rewards and a clear path to growth within a very narrow range. If you have found your niche and nothing else excites you, then a large company is the perfect place for you. But, if you have a much broader interest in your field and would rather spend at least some time diversifying your skillset and understanding your industry in a broader way, a small company will offer you better opportunities and set you up for a solid future.