5 things I learned working for a small business

All of us with major #careergoals dream of the day we become the boss, the day we can stand in front of a staff meeting and completely dominate. But to get there, we have to start at the bottom – just like new companies.

Smaller companies are shiny and show potential, making them exciting. But they’re not as easy to manage as large corporations with experts at the helm. However, working for small businesses is where you’ll begin to learn about yourself as an employee and future leader.

I spent time working for a designer in New York City and ran into my fair share of trials – none of which I expected to happen in what was meant to be a professional setting. Here’s what you should know when starting at a small company:

1.You are accountable

There’s not much room for managing up, so if you screw up, you better get your apology prepared! A lot will be expected of you, so just try to keep it all as organized as possible so you can stay on top of it and avoid getting a strongly worded email.

2. It’s every man for himself

This goes along with being accountable, but covers everything including your paycheck. If you’re young and working for cheap, don’t put it past someone to “forget” it’s payday. If you feel that someone is trying to skimp and not pay you, send emails, ask in person and do whatever it takes to get that check.

3. You gotta be a jack-of-all-trades

Small company means less hands on deck, so you’re probably going to be taking on more responsibility than you signed up for. If you feel that extra duties are taking away from your main purpose, express that and find out which task is more pertinent at the time. Otherwise, use this as a learning experience.

4. It’s organized chaos

Because there are less people, the machine isn’t always well-oiled. Small businesses are growing, meaning they are learning as they go. Sometimes there are bumps in the road, and you just have to handle them. Keep a planner or create a to-do list every morning so that you know your personal goals and objectives. It’s an easy way to try and uncomplicate things.

5. Confidence is key

Depending on just how small the company is, chances are you’ll be working directly with the owner. And, as the owner, they want to make sure you are going above and beyond to better their business. That means they’re going to ask a lot of questions. You need to be confident in your work and make sure you have all your bases covered to give solid and direct answers. If they don’t like your answer – well, they are the boss. Adjust accordingly and confirm with them.