Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are an extremely important part of our global economy, making up 90% of business worldwide and contributing as much as 40% of national income GDP in some of the world’s emerging economies.
While many people may dream of working for large corporate companies when they graduate, you may be able to achieve a more fulfilling and exciting work life by finding employment in one of many SMEs.
Although not be able to impress your friends and family by working at a well-known company, but some of the rewards that you may enjoy in return may be well worth your time and energy.
Here are some of the benefits of working for an SME:
1. More opportunities for career progression
SMEs are companies that have fewer than 500 employees, with many having teams with less than 100 people in total.
As these companies have such small teams, the opportunity for you to progress through the ranks and get promoted is far more likely than if you were starting at the bottom of a company that employs thousands of people.
If you’re working in a small company and a new position opens up, or one of your superiors leaves, you won’t have to worry about hundreds of other internal candidates who have their sights set on the same job as you.
Rather than having to wait years to get a management promotion like you would at a large company, you can work your way up at a much faster rate – and these promotions will result in more pay and more responsibility!
2. You won’t be held back by internal processes
If you’re a creative person who’s constantly coming up with new ideas, you may find that your creativity is stifled in a large company where everything has to go through a long, winding approval process.
Hierarchies in large companies can be extremely well-established, which means you can’t get straight to work on actioning your new ideas. You also run the risk of someone along the way blocking your idea so you never hear back about it.
In SMEs, the chain of command is much shorter, so your ideas only have to go through a very short approval process. In some smaller companies, you may even be able to go straight to the manager and gain instant approval.
When you’re working for a smaller company, you can get your ideas off the starting blocks right away – you may also be given the responsibility and ownership of seeing your idea through to the end.
3. Spread your wings and broaden your skills
Unlike larger companies where departments can exist in bubbles with little inter-departmental communication, everything operates on an open basis in smaller companies.
When working for start-ups or small companies that only have a few employees, it is likely to be a case of ‘all hands on deck’, where everyone works together to get tasks finished.
This gives you a unique opportunity to work in different departments, learn new skills and fast-track your personal development.
4. A flexible and relaxed atmosphere
Typically, SMEs can be much more relaxed places to work. They usually have more lenient rules on aspects such as holidays, dress codes and working patterns.
So, if you’re someone who thrives off having extra freedom and flexibility to balance your work and personal life, working at an SME could be right for you.
Many SMEs have already championed the ideas of agile and remote working, long before the rest of the world was forced to follow suit. If you want to work somewhere that’s always ahead of the game, you may not be able to find this at a larger more traditional company.
5. Work closely with management and leaders
New recruits can learn a lot from managers and leaders who have years of experience working in an industry. However, when you’re working in a large company it can be hard to access their knowledge.
People who work in larger companies may go days, or even weeks, without seeing senior managers, which can be frustrating when you want to learn from the best.
At a small business, you may often find yourself working in the same room as your manager, so they are always there to mentor you, and offer advice on your projects.
6. Your opinions will be more valued
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first day on the job or your 1000th, working at a smaller company will often mean that your opinions and ideas are more frequently valued.
Smaller companies tend to welcome ideas, no matter where they come from, so you’ll be encouraged to share your thoughts and feedback on every task. In addition, unlike in larger companies, you have a much higher chance of your ideas being implemented.
You’ll be more involved in key decision-making, as the whole team needs to work together in order to maximize resources and keep the business moving forward.
7. Learn more about the growth phases of business
If you start working a company that is in its early days, the amount of experience you will gain from observing the business’s growth will be extremely valuable throughout your career.
Watching how a company grows from nothing to possessing million-dollar value is something that not everyone gets to witness. Learning how to promote a company, secure funding, and maximize all departments is something that’s best learned through hands-on experience – and where better to learn all this than at a small company?
If you envisage a life working at a small business, our courses at EU Business School are designed to equip you with all the skills you need to create the right foundation.