It’s a common assumption that working for a large organisation is the best way to develop in your professional career. In reality – when it comes to the question of where we will excel as individuals, there is no right or wrong. But with scores of graduates attracted to the bright lights of large corporations each year, it’s perhaps the assumption that biggest is best that should be dispelled. And here’s why.
Small and large business are not necessarily separate and distinct when it comes to market competition. Small businesses compete with larger rivals and often their greatest weapon is their agility. In a recent interview, the founder of Nexba beverages, winners of the 2015 Telstra Micro Business Award told Dynamic Business that their ability to “act quickly” had won them a partnership with Virgin Australia to supply smaller beverages for aircraft. One of the many examples of how agility can be a small business’ ‘trump’ card in the market.
With digital ‘disruption’ firming its grip across many industries, increasing competition and customer demands, businesses need to be able to respond and change quickly. Like ships at full speed, large organisations are often unable to swiftly manoeuvre in the way that small businesses can. Fragmented, granular operations that inhibit their ability to see what lies ahead and bureaucratic processes that cause lags between action and outcome are two main inhibitors for effective change. With 40 % of the S&P 500 predicted to disappear within the next decade, can we really find safety in numbers? Is it even fashionable to be big in the market?
Appreciating that business success does not necessarily correlate with size – let’s return to the question of professional development. A business is small but successful – what does this mean for individuals? Working within a small business can provide you with exposure to various functions and consequently a more resumé enriching experience. While your peers in large organisations may be negotiating incremental career moves like pawns on a chess board, your proximity to the action will give you the chance to wear more than one hat, as and when they fit. And let’s not forget the reward. If you thrive on being heard, jumping through hoops to get things done in a large organisation might not be your thing.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the question of whether biggest is best for you – but is it wrong to assume this? I certainly think so. It’s an exciting time for small business.