Should Your Job Search Include Smaller Companies?

small companiesby guest blogger, Mike Van Horn

A while back, I wrote an article on how smaller companies can compete for top talent with large corporations. Let me turn that around, and tell job seekers why you should consider looking at smaller companies. (I advise owner-run firms from 5 to 100 employees.)

— Shorter commute.

One 50-person client just hired a COO for $120k who’d received a $150k offer from a corporation in the city. He opted for a local 10-minute bike commute over the hour+ daily grind each way. He figured the extra two hours a day added to his life was worth $30 grand a year.

— More opportunity.

Another client hired a GM away from a much larger competitor. The guy saw that he’d reached the top where he was, and in the new job, he’d get to lead a major growth push. Big fish in a smaller pond.

— Less travel.

Many professionals in their 40s and 50s switch to smaller, local firms because they’re tired of constant travel they’ve had in their corporate jobs.

— Flexibility.

“Yes, we can bend your schedule around your kids’ soccer games.”

— More diverse opportunity.

You may get to take on a much greater variety of projects and responsibilities.

— Work directly with the principals.

Small companies may be headed by much more innovative and leading-edge people, and it’s a great opportunity to work with them.

— Less corporate bureaucracy and politics.

— Un-retired.

Here’s a big growing trend: Senior people retire from the corporation, then go to work for smaller companies. They trade less money for lower stress and flexible hours. The oldest guy working with us is in his mid 70s.

— Less risk of your job being off-shored.

Many small businesses market their personal contact and personal touch, and their customers prefer that. Personal contact cannot be off-shored.

— It’s a real job, not a contract job,

which seems to be the fate of many corporate job seekers these days.

There are a few downsides:

— Small companies may not offer as juicy a benefits package. However, don’t take this for granted these days!  Especially if your alternative is a corporate contract job.

— Some long-time corporate employees aren’t cut out for the small business environment. They may be accustomed to narrower duties, superiors telling them what to do (thus uncomfortable taking initiative), having a lot of support staff (thus not resourceful at getting things done). But by far the worst quality is exhibiting “employee mentality” rather than the “entrepreneur mentality” needed in a small, dynamic firm. And I’m talking about top-level managers! You must look at yourself to make sure you could be comfortable in a small business culture.

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Mike Van Horn’s company, The Business Group, leads peer advisory groups for owners of growing businesses. http://blog.businessownerstoolbox.com

 

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iPhone, Android, iPad, or Nexus – what Apps work for you?

Today's latte, Google Play.

Today’s latte, Google Play. (Photo credit: yukop)

Back in 2012, I asked my subscribers (click here if you would like to subscribe to the newsletter) to tell me what apps they have on their smartphones and tablets.  Here are some of the responses (the programs that are no longer around are strikethrough:

Andrew de Guttadauro, expert in business development (IP, M&A in the biotech world), said, “Here are the ones that I currently favor:
Communication:  Skype (great for saving money when overseas and a wifi connection is in hand)
Organization:  Evernote & Pocket (I’m a big believer in cloud-based software and these two apps work great in tandem to allow one to clip, tag, organize, and store just about anything that comes across a computer, smart phone, tablet, or other similar device)
RSS & News Streamers:  Reeder, Flipboard, Zite, and Feedly (admittedly, this is overkill, but I’m a news and media junkie and these apps all do a wonderful job of combining my RSS feeds, and other news sources of interest, into organized news channels/feeds that are more pleasing than the underlying RSS engine – Google Reader, in my case)
Task Management:  I favor Wunderlist because, like my other apps, it’s platform-agnostic and cloud-based, so I can access my “to do’s” whenever and however I like or need (Remember the Milk is a good alternative)
Data and Info Storage:  Dropbox is great, but it’s important people realize that Dropbox isn’t especially secure as the company wants to give users the choice of security/encryption software so it’s important to use 2-step authentication plus “True Crypt” if using Drop Box to store anything even remotely sensitive
E-mail:  I use the native Apple app for Outlook but favor Google’s Gmail app to access the latter service (despite it being from Google, this app could use additional improvements).  I also recommend using Xobni if possible, to help sift through Outlook more efficiently.
News and Sports:  ESPN, Huffington Post, The Atlantic
Travel:  Kayak
Web:  Chrome’s my favored browser on all devices
– Shopping:  Amazon (via app on iPhone or via browser and website on iPad), Target app
– Dining:  Open table, Yelp (applicable in the shopping category as well)
Social Media:  LinkedIn
– Bookmarks:  X-Marks
– Media:  Amazon streaming, Netflix streaming, Hulu Plus, HBO GO

That pretty much covers the apps.  I would recommend to everyone that 2-step authentication should be used on any site where it can be enabled and that separate signups be used on any site where possible (never use Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn username/passwords to access other sites as you’re needlessly exposing yourself to sequential hacking).  Finally, I use a password management tool but do not have the app loaded on either smart phone or tablet as it makes me too antsy viz. potential loss of the device. I also don’t have bank or insurance apps loaded on my devices for the same reason and would recommend using such apps only if you don’t keep permanently signed in to either (I’d rather access such info through the added hassle of the web browser instead).

I hope this proves helpful and look forward to hearing what others are using.”

These are available in both Apple and Android.  Reeder, True Crypt, Xnobi and X-Marks are Apple-specific.

Personally, and many devices later, I have many that Andrew had and some others.  They do multiply!!

LinkedIn
Workboard
Contactually
Evernote
MailChimp
ColorNote
Drive
Dropbox
Slideshare
Startmeeting

Facebook
Outlook
Pinterest
GoToWebinar
GoToMeeting
Hangouts
Instagram
Message+
Snapchat
Twitter


Navigation (Google maps)
News & Weather (native Android)
Calendar (native Android)
Contacts (native Android)
Messenger/Messaging/Voice Message
Voice Recorder
Voice Search
Memo
Gmail and my other emails
Adobe Reader
YouTube
TED
Out of Milk (but only for grocery shopping)
an alarm clock, a stopwatch, a calculator, a music player
Kindle and Play Books
and my camera and gallery
Plus more, of course.

I’ve only linked a few of these, all the rest can be found at the app marketplaces. 

What do you have on yours?



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