The Case for Rolling Up Your Sleeves at a Small Business

August 1, 2017

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. added 222,000 jobs in June making it the largest increase since February of this year. June was a great month for job growth, and if you’re currently on the job hunt – I encourage you to think small – small businesses that is. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a small business is made up of 500 or fewer employees, and there are 28 million small businesses in the U.S. These businesses account for 54 percent of all U.S. sales and employ 56.8 million U.S. employees. Of course we’re a bit biased at Breakaway Communications, being employees of a small business ourselves, but small businesses have some undeniable perks.

What makes small businesses so unique yet great? From what I’ve seen and experienced, it’s a variety of things. Small businesses have the ability to be nimble, creative and imaginative. I’ve found that many small business employees are quite resourceful and always up for banding together to conquer a new challenge. Small business employees get to wear many hats and get their hands dirty (in the best ways!) in projects spanning the business. For instance, in the morning I may be drafting a pitch for a client, in the afternoon I could be in a new business brainstorm, and then before I leave, I’ll be working on social media posts for our marketing team. Not to mention, these employees get to work closely with nearly everyone because at a small business, it is truly a team effort and mentorship is easy to find. Colleagues to get to know each other better and learn firsthand from the senior-level employees because everyone is in it together. Small businesses truly foster the “team effort” mentality.

Small businesses also have less red tape and bureaucracy to cut through than massive corporations. With the smaller size comes greater agility to adapt to new trends or try something outside of the businesses’ wheelhouse. Working at a small business is also a good test for employees to see if they would be interested in starting their own business one day because they will get to learn from someone who has accomplished just that. We see and get to work with our fearless leaders, Breakaway’s Managing Partners, Kelly and Pam in New York and Barb in San Francisco, in the office every day.

It’s easy to see the outcomes of your hard work and where it fits into the business’ larger goals. At big companies, employees can get lost in the shuffle, but at a small business, every person at every level plays a role in the company’s success. At Breakaway, we have a “Kudos” wall where we proudly display great kudos our team members have received. Spot bonuses are awarded for great client work.  If you don’t believe me that small businesses breed happy employees, take these stats from an Aflac study that found 94 percent of small business employees are happy in their current jobs and 75 percent are very satisfied working for a small business.

The team’s successes are celebrated collectively, and any failures are looked upon as teachable lessons. Small businesses are a great place for professionals at any stage of their career to learn, grow, succeed and tackle various projects.