Why Small Businesses are the Big Career Break

small business career break

Big businesses are an attractive prospect for recent graduates: glamorous offices and fine dining lure in the country’s most talented students with the promise of job security and a career ladder. However, many graduates’ who’ve had experience in a range of businesses will warn that the pay packets and brand names come at the cost of day-to-day fulfilment.

small business career break

Pros and Cons of Big Businesses

Corporates are lean, mean and efficient. To maintain high margins and international dominance they have to run like clockwork. This means anyone who gets involved is a cog in the machinery (excuse the bad pun). There are a number of potential implications, both good and bad.

The positive is that unless someone invents system for achieving the end goal with fewer cogs involved, your job is safe. On the other hand, however, there is little opportunity to see how other parts work, to observe different departments, or to develop. Alongside, your responsibility will be limited to taking care of your stage in the process of big business.

Working With A Small Business

The contrast with small businesses can be stark. As opposed to tower blocks, in house Costa and branded post-its, you might find yourself working at your employer’s kitchen table, ideas might still be in development or the target market might be small.

Although ‘small businesses’ is an umbrella term for a big range, they share dynamism, integral to the success of any fast and organically growing company. Decisions are made quickly and strategy evolves to respond to changes in the market or to new experiences.

For employees, especially graduates, the environment can have a number of real advantages over corporate atmosphere.

Small businesses only think about hiring when they are working beyond capacity. As every new recruit is therefore overdue, they are always grateful for an extra pair of hands. Instead of devising work appropriate for an entry-level employee, small businesses immediately delegate vital tasks. A graduate might be thrown in at the deep end, but they are certainly challenged.

In businesses that have either remained small or are new players, there is room to exercise some truly innovative thinking. First, you will have direct access to the decision makers. Being able to ask the CEO what he or she thinks about an idea you’ve had over lunch is faster than negotiating with heads of department. Second, when you join a culture without historic bureaucracy, there is no sense of ‘the way things have always been done’.

Test the Small vs Big Businesses

Your initial foray into the working world should allow you to test and discover different options for your future career. While a corporate internship might offer the chance to see one department of a multi-national, a small company needs any employee to be immersed in every aspect.

While formal graduate schemes are hiring fewer and fewer, numbers of applications continue to rise. By contrast, small businesses continue to hire. What is more, they are interested in your personality, and what you have learnt from existent work experience, not just your performance in application centres.


Instant Impact is a specialist recruiter that matches students and graduates with fast-growing SMEs. We passionately believe that experience at a small to medium sized business can outweigh the promise of big corporates.

To apply to Instant Impact or to find out more, visit http://www.instant-impact.com.

photo credit: andertoons via photopin cc

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