Friday, November 5, 2010

Transitioning from Big to Small Business

According to the Small Business Association (SBA) Office of Advocacy, in 2009 small businesses employed about half of the private sector workforce in the United States or approximately 27.5 million people. The SBA Office of Advocacy defines a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees.
With corporate America downsizing, it seems reasonable that we can expect future job growth in the small-business, private sector. In fact, many workers are already making the transition from big to small business. And although this can be a positive experience for many, it can also initially lead to culture shock.
Following are just a few of the differences you might find when transitioning from big business to small business:
  • Multiple hats: Often, small-business employees wear multiple hats, which may fall outside of their primary roles and job descriptions. The mindset is often team-oriented, with a focus on doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
  • Fewer resources: Small businesses typically have fewer resources—financial, human, and technical to name a few. This often means workers must get creative in doing more for less and in problem solving.
  • Hands-on work: Since there are fewer resources, the approach at work is more hands-on. You may find yourself involved with strategy, planning, and even tactical implementation.
  • Sense of ownership: Wearing multiple hats in a hands-on environment can lead to a greater sense of ownership in the work and the overall company performance.
  • Increased exposure: With a lean office team, you may find yourself interacting directly with senior management, including the company president. You may also experience increased contact with customers.
  • Limited red tape: Where big business is often known for excessive red tape and rigid processes, small business tends to be more agile, with fewer defined processes.

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