Pros and Cons of Working for a Small Business

My work often lets me deal with small businesses and its a pretty interesting experience since their needs (and budget) are often very much different from huge corporations. However, I’ve also recently thought about how its been like to work in a small business seeing as I’ve been in one for over 3 years now.

Its definitely a huge challenge to have to oversee more areas to run a business as compared to a specialist position in a large company. Also, hiring is a major problem since most people don’t really fit into a small business even if they say they would enjoy the challenge of juggling multiple roles (HR, Accounts, Project Management, Developer, etc).

Reading a recent article, Ten Pros for Working for a Small Business, I would agree that I definitely enjoy not having to play the office politics game since the team is small (#4). I definitely also enjoy the freedom of not having to report to the office at a fixed hour since I can work virtually anywhere nowadays (#10).

Of course, all is definitely not rosy in any situation and so reading Ten Cons for Working for a Small Business also made me realize its true that with lesser pay (#1) and sometimes increased workloads (#2) makes me think about days when I was on-site at larger corporate customers doing consulting work. Having just one job and project on hand meant less overtime (and yet more $$!) and more personal time also once I left the office. Definitely an interesting bit for those in (or planning to start) small businesses to ponder on.

Related posts:

  1. How-to Guides to Running Your Small Business from Work.com
  2. Growing a small business with baby steps
  3. Take action for your Business today!
  4. Thoughts on registering a business in Singapore
  5. Interviewing for the right Sales Person (Why its important for Small Businesses)

10 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Working for a Small Business

  1. whitecat

    hey, interesting post! i have worked for smaller companies most of my career, but also had a few years of experience working in government and in a MNC. Now I’m running my own business, with working harder, but at my own convenient timings, with less $$$ in the pocket. Sometimes the finance part is tough, customers delaying payment, etc. Business coming in with peaks, some months it’s quiet, some months is too busy…

  2. Paddy Tan

    There may be one thing that sets the different between working for a small biz compared to a corp .. that is the level of satisfactions. More involved in a small biz, direct impact to the deliverables etc.

    Good and bad of both sides :)

    Paddy
    BAK2u.com

  3. Daniel

    Having worked for both an MNC and several small operation, I totally agree with Paddy that it’s the level of satisfaction you get…

    In a big MNC, you’re just a small cog in a huge machinery, so when there is success (or failure) you don’t quite feel it.

    When you succeed in a small business, the feeling’s totally different!

  4. Sicarii

    Interesting post, and great blog. :)

    Personally I prefer working in small companies. Sure, there’s less chance of advancement and you’re always multi-tasking, but the things you learn along the way are invaluable.

    Instead of being stuck in one particular role day in day out at some large organisation where you’re just another face in the crowd, I prefer to learn as much of any aspect of a business where possible.

    Besides, these 2 dreaded words in big corporations always tire me out — office politics. In small companies, the absence of actual advancement can be turned around as a plus point since there is very little incentive to play these ‘games’.

  5. Paddy Tan

    Something that I learnt from my a mentor when I first joined the workforce after NS.

    Join a MNC to see how big companies run, understand how the managers rush for credits but avoid faults. See how people have infightings that cause nothing good to the company (MNC) but just benefit themselves. Some work for themselves seeing their own contributions as insignificant just going thru the process daily. This how fresh woods are evolve to dead woods.

    Also learn how things can turn around and bite you on the ass when you step on others to climb high in a MNC. Learn about all the unnecessary things that managements are putting down just becos they are MNC.

    No no .. this is not some Rich Dad or Poor Dad stuff but true enough, in MNC there are so many politics stuff that it is like a safe haven in a SME. But then again there are always some clowns that like to stir things up also.

    In general, SME is the place to know the micro skills … the way to work (not manage) with your co-workers and blend it into your social life in a healthy way. It is also the place to learn all the fire-fighting skills.

    At the end of the day, with all these ‘experiences’ you can try stepping out of your comfort zone and start your own business and try striking it out with a hybrid of both organization.

    Paddy
    BAK2u.com

  6. Cris

    Hmm.. just a humble little thought.

    When you are working in a small company, or working for your own, the amount of effort you put and spent often equates the results you want to see, although sometimes it might let you down. The results can make you even more motivated to do more because you know have done a good job.

    When you are in a large corp, who in the world cares about you doing a good job? As long as you deliver the deliverables, no one will come and HUNT you, and besides, you are always under people’s beck and call, like a dog.

    Money would be an issue. Too little money, cant pay bills. Too much money, dont know how to handle.

    But ultimately, working is not just because of earning money, but the having fun and achieving the level of satisfaction that you would wish to achieve.

    Cris
    The Young Businessman

  7. michael

    Wow, glad to see so many responses. Was rather interesting to read about your thoughts and experiences.

    Think I would agree that being in a small company is really very much results driven and not having to play games with others to move forward. Hierarchy is often disregarded and teamwork is more important.

    The pace of projects can also be a rather curious animal with real good busy periods (and the crazy periods) as well as lull moments which are good for planning long overdue vacations (to think of it positively).

    The curious thing is that in my circle of friends, most tend to stay to the tried and tested ways of getting into a great big company and working through the corporate machinery so am definitely glad to see here a good mix of people doing what they love (and enjoying their freedom). Cheers!

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  9. Timothy Johnson

    I definitely enjoy having small business as clients, but I don’t think it’s safe to assume that they are immune from office politics. In my own experiences, and from answering letters on http://www.office-politics.com, I’ve observed that there are office politics present in many small companies, and they can be nastier than the large companies because there are fewer players.

  10. Sunshine

    I have worked for both a large company and now for a small one. There was one thing I wasn’t prepared for and that was the uprise of a dictator in the small company and his level of greed.

    When things go wrong it’s not his fault (yeah right!) and those below reap the negative benefits, including losing their job or having to deal with a huge pay cut.

    I also realized that in a small company there may not be processes and procedures in place and you may be the one putting them together because quite frankly know one else knows what to do. It adds a lot of extra work to your plate and if the owners aren’t on board can cause undue hardship.

    My other problem with the small company is seperating my home life from my work life. They are too close together to know there is a seperation. It has caused a lot of stress on my marriage and I don’t get enough time with my kids. With a large company, in most cases you can leave the work at the office. :)

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