Job market / SMEs

A win in a large company was expected, but a win in an SME was a celebration.

Working in a large company, I was given immense opportunities to learn from people who were experts in their field, I learnt a huge amount about business, leadership and finance. But it wasn’t enough for me so, I went on to search for something where I could make a visible contribution and to develop my career prospects further.

When I came across a small & medium sized enterprise (SME), I was eager to try a new skill set, drive my career and find what best suits me. My passion has always been to help others along with aligning my focus to the company values. It all started with a blank piece of paper, carving out my ideas and watching them illuminate the path to the overall success of the company.

Be Agile

SMEs are more agile than larger companies and are better able to adapt as market conditions change. You are closer to the customer, able to get live feedback and observe the change. Working in an SME can often present opportunities to develop your skills with tasks that are not typically associated with your job. An SME often results in a need for multiple skills within one role, which means you get to take on new tasks, hone new skills and it’s a great opportunity for personal development.

Easier to Take Risks

At an SME I was able to implement ideas that would be more difficult for larger companies. I was able to test new events in smaller niche markets, with minimal investment, observing variables and obstacles before deciding to try an idea on a larger scale.

The Results

Having leveraged the advantages of working in an SME, it was a great to develop new recruitment opportunities for departments, saving 65% of recruitment fees and launching two event portfolios in the UK and internationally. It was a real accomplishment to be able to see the success of my ideas grow, which is a real achievement knowing I have contributed to the overall business success.

Hear from your one of your peers…

Kostadina Yanakieva, former University of Warwick student, shares her views of working for an SME after graduation.

“When I was approaching the end of my degree at The University of Warwick, in 2018, I only had a vague idea of what interested me professionally through the subjects I did in my Management course. I had a lot of questions about the future and what direction I should take professionally, and thinking about these would often leave me paralysed. To my delight, a month after graduation, my job application was approved by an innovative SME of just under 10 staff, and in hindsight, this was the best thing that I could have done at this point in my life.

Choosing to work for an SME after graduation gave me the chance to learn a lot about how organisations work, while also allowing me a taste of different work areas through trial and error. In this first role I got after university, I had the chance to dabble in corporate relations, digital and social media marketing, peer training and editing.

Fact: SMEs account for at least 99.5% of the businesses in every main industry sector

Through this experience, I got to know a lot about myself and what work I enjoyed doing and was good at. I really don’t think I would have had the same opportunity for self-discovery, should I have been employed in a large company, where job roles tend to be much more inflexible.

Moreover, working within a close-knit team was a great source of fulfilment and motivation to do better. In an SME, all your efforts count and are directly linked with your colleague’s work across the office and with the overall performance of the business. Feeling connected with my team and having a strong goal together was truly priceless, and I enjoy knowing that even after moving to new roles, we continue to keep in touch as friends.

Overall, having worked for both SMEs and a large organisation (in my current role), I believe that SMEs are the optimal place for new graduates to start their journey in the working world. Good luck with your applications!

Here are some reasons why Sabina believes an SME is a great place to work:

  • You get to work closely with the CEO and senior leaders in the company, it’s a great way to showcase your skills and get support directly from the CEO
  • Decisions get made quickly and you get to move quickly on your ideas
  • You have full ownership and responsibility for driving your ideas forward
  • You get to watch the company grow organically, which is a real achievement as you know you have contributed to that success
  • You get to move up the career ladder quickly compared to large companies
  • You get to work in a close-knit team, everyone knows your name and what you are working on, it feels more of a close set of friends.

What are the qualities to succeed in an SME?

  • Show your passion about company values
  • Be a go-getter, having your finger on what the company is doing, where is it going so, you are able to contribute where you can
  • Be able to adapt to the company, its changes and a willingness to learn new skills
  • Be creative and innovative, and being able to think outside the box to come up with visionary solutions
  • Be open and transparent, in sharing knowledge and striving to build a shared vision
  • Be proactive in identifying opportunities and seize them when possible.

Having worked for both SMEs and larger companies, I can say that I learnt a great deal in both. I learnt a lot about specific aspects of business in a larger company, but I was given autonomy to experience and gain many skills in an SME. A ‘win’ in a large company was expected, but a ‘win’ in an SME was a celebration. I wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavours.

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