Pros and Cons of Working for a Small Company

Business Forecast
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Job searching is a numbers game. In order to successfully find employment, job seekers need to target a wide range of employers. The more resumes you distribute and the more you network, the better chance you have of landing interviews and even a job.

Why You Should Think Small

Unfortunately, most candidates seeking employment often ignore applying to smaller employers and focus their efforts more on large firms that have name recognition.

However, small firms may be better positioned to hire than bigger companies. According to the US Small Business Administration, small businesses represent more than 99.7 percent of all employers, employ more than half of all private sector employees, pay 44.5 percent of the total U.S. private payroll, and generate about 75 percent of net new jobs annually.

Smaller companies may have a business plan progressive enough that they are able to succeed regardless of how the economy is doing. The company may be finding their niche in a rapidly growing field. Also, the firm may not have the large overhead or the extra employees that many bigger companies added during the recent period of economic growth and expansion, making the smaller company well positioned for the future.

Pros and Cons of Working for a Small Company

Working for a smaller employer has advantages and disadvantages. Work roles at small companies are often less specialized than at larger firms allowing employees to wear more hats, interact with staff in more functional areas in these smaller work environments and get a better big picture view of operations.

Since employees and their work results are more visible, it is often easier to advance in a smaller organization.

Employees often gain experience in a variety of areas, giving them multiple skills and areas of expertise to add to their resume. These small employers may also have more flexibility to consider alternative work arrangements like flex time or job sharing.

Working for a smaller company can also be a good stepping-stone to a larger employer in the same field.

On the downside, smaller employers may have fewer formal training programs, benefits packages can be more restricted, and opportunities to relocate to other branches may be more limited or non-existent. There may be less opportunity for growth and promotion, and the failure rate for small firms is also much higher than for larger ones. Although there could be less job stability than at a bigger company, if the comfort level fits and you enjoy the job, working for a smaller company might be your best career choice.

How to Find Companies

How can you find the right small employers to target? The INC 5000 List is a great starting point. You can access the entire list online. Changes in company fortunes may have occurred since the data was last compiled, so you will need to do research on or contact the companies to determine if the growth pattern has continued.

Vault.com has a searchable database of companies. Job seekers can look up a company by name or search by industry, city, state, country,​ the number of employees and revenue to generate a list of potential employers. There may even be message boards where you can get the inside scoop on the company culture and on what's happening.

Other resources for identifying small emerging companies include local chambers of commerce and the business section of your local newspaper. Information on new companies and updates on local businesses are typically published on a regular basis.

When you're planning your job search strategy, broaden your horizons and consider each and every employer in your field, regardless of size. Bigger isn't necessarily better!

Suggested Reading: 30 Days to Your Dream Job