What makes a company good and sustainable and a place where people want to work? According to BusinessKnowHow.com, there are five traits of a good company. The first trait is the leadership team must have a great ambition for the company; one that addresses an unmet customer need, which is the second trait. Good companies stay focused (third trait) on what they know and can do well, and then devote relentless attention to execution (fourth trait). The fifth trait, and probably the most important for long term growth, is smart companies engage all of their associates in building businesses, from idea creation to delivery to the customers, so ideas just don't come from the top down; they come from the bottom up and every direction in between. If everyone in a company feels they own a piece of the product and are held accountable, a good company will become great. So, human capital has really become the most important asset of just about any company, both big and small.
All big companies started as small companies run by entrepreneurs with good ideas. Apple and Amazon were created in the founders' garages. Google started as a dissertation project. And all of these business builders were driven to change the world. According to Fortune, entrepreneurs with good ideas come from all walks of life. For example, 33% of new entrepreneurs are college graduates, 20% of startups seeking venture capital have a female co-founder, 41% of first time entrepreneurs are non-white and immigrant entrepreneurs account for 28.5% of all new business owners. So there is no true definition of what type of person will start a company.
According to the Small Business Council, there are 5.73 million employer firms in the U.S. and those with fewer than 20 employees make up 89.6% of these companies. These small businesses produce 46% of the nonfarm gross domestic product (GDP). But working for a giant company does have its perks. Big companies are large because they have done something right. They have already developed a competitive advantage in the marketplace, so jobs can be quite stable, plus it is possible to change positions and move to a new area without having to leave a big company. Because of this, employees may get a higher starting salary and opportunities for income growth may be superior to small companies. Benefits also tend to be better. More training becomes available and a clearer promotional path may be offered. Large companies have the ability to provide better equipment and access to newer technologies. There are drawbacks, though, working with a large corporation, as size sometimes is an obstacle with layers of management slowing down not only personal fulfillment goals, but great ideas that may take too long to be accepted.
On the other hand, the perks for working in a smaller company can be quite rewarding. In a small company, you can influence and directly contribute to the company's success. Changes can be quickly implemented which is one reason smaller companies are often more innovative and can swiftly adapt to new opportunities. These options can make small companies quite interesting for individualists who thrive in an innovative environment. Small companies can give the feeling of being part of a family, which is a social environment that can strengthen the relationship between coworkers, and conveys the feeling of being more connected to the work, but know that such a social culture is not suitable for everyone. Small companies give employees the opportunity to exhibit their entire skill set, because employees often wear several different hats, not being bound to a single job description. It may also give employees the chance to lead earlier in their career. The disadvantages of being in a small company include less job security and more pressure because failures will be more visible and have a major impact of the existence of the entire company, which means all those coworkers you have grown so close to, know your mistakes.
Having to make a decision on what type of company to work for follows us throughout our careers. According to About Careers, the average person changes jobs 12 times during their lives. So we have many opportunities to decide if we want to work for a big company or a small company. If you want my advice, I would tell you to find a small business that you can help build. But if you do this, remember, the downside includes healthcare costs continue to be a major issue and small business owners are still worried about economic conditions and how they might impact their business---which could affect your job. Small businesses have much smaller safety nets in place than bigger businesses, which makes owners more vulnerable to threats like market shifts and new laws and regulations, that could be the catalysts the loss of your job. But we are optimistic that small businesses will survive and thrive against the big guys, so at DollarDays on our Facebook page, if you work for a great small business or know of a small business you respect, please nominate them to win part of our $5,000 product giveaway honoring first class small businesses.
If you like swimming in a bigger pond even though you may feel like a small fish, there is merit in working for larger employers with their extra resources, formal structures in place and the big pool of people to interact with throughout the day. But if you thrive on getting involved in all kinds of new and varied projects which causes you to develop new skills and knowledge where you feel you become a vital part of company growth, then smaller businesses may be right for you. So ask yourself what size fish in what size pond you want to be; so you will not be hooked into being a fish out of water...