According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses comprise 99% of American businesses. And the Tax Foundation reports that more than 90% percent of American businesses employee between 0 (the business owner employs no one else) and 20 employees. Small companies are indeed the backbone of the American economy.
Small businesses are also desirable places to work. When we consult with people in career transition, we typically find that those who’ve worked for large companies typically target privately held small companies in their career search.
But what do small companies have over large companies?
Market Restricted vs. Market Responsive
For one, publicly held large companies have to appease their stockholders. Leadership, then, must often make short-term decisions intended to impact the price of their shares. When business decision-makers have to kow-tow to financial reports, they’re forced to focus on one market—the stock market—over their own market—their business segment.
On the other hand, privately held small companies don’t operate under such rigid restrictions. Certainly, they want to make a profit. But they’re able to observe what’s happening in the marketplace, what trends are on the rise, what their customers are asking for, and what makes the most sense for their business, and then they can respond accordingly. Small companies enjoy the power and freedom to be flexible, nimble, and scrappy in their operations. Appeasing stockholders is a non-issue.
Sensing the mood of the workforce, large companies have begun to position themselves as having entrepreneurial environments. The idea is that employees have more freedom to make decisions, run with ideas, and position themselves for success. Frankly, that’s rarely the case. The inherent bureaucracy in big business is naturally restrictive. Changes are either slow to occur, or they occur quickly only to lead to a reassessment later.
But what about franchises? Statistics show that franchises usually perform better than company owned stores. Pride of ownership, an entrepreneurial outlook, and the drive to succeed all give franchisees an edge over their corporate counterparts.
Engaged Employees Are Committed
Small companies are leaders in employee engagement. With fewer employees, it’s much easier for leadership to foster an environment in which everyone carries their own weight. Anonymity isn’t an option.
Further, engaged employees perform better. They feel like they have a voice in the company. Their contributions make a difference. They have a direct impact on the company’s overall performance. That’s powerful. Engaged employees are committed employees, and they rise to the occasion.
I can personally attest to that. For 32 years, I’ve owned a very successful small business, and much of that success is due to the environment we’ve created and the commitment level of our employees. In fact, the Atlanta Business Chronicle named Mulling Corporation as the #1 Small Business A+ Employer, Best Places to Work in Atlanta.
Interested in learning more about our career transition services? Visit our website at mullingcorp.com.