“Goaaaaaal!” roars from the parking lot next to vast complex of low buildings. A guy in a loose T-shirt and jeans sitting nearby doesn’t even glance from the display of his notebook. His boss has just equalized. After the match, players will take off roller-skates, then they will probably go to the sauna and head for a weekend. Monday will start with their favorite snack for a breakfast (free, of course) and a brainstorming session to think up new ideas how to change the lives of billions of people worldwide. Do you know which company am I talking about?
We ought to say that the firm described above is one of those bigger ones. I have never worked for such an establishment and one can never tell whether the presented image isn’t merely a mendacious output of Public Relations’ work. Nevertheless, there is a common idea of how it looks like to be employed for a big organization, and what advantages and drawbacks does it take. Personally, I only have an experience with working for small companies – a private owned online bookstore Martinus.sk and an advertising agency. None of them reached beyond 10 employees, including boss(es)…
Boss. That is probably the first person you will get in touch with in a small company; which is certainly in contrast to a large one – it is perfectly possible you will not even know him personally there. The same is applicable for the rest of staff. Forget about having monthly barbeque party with all your colleagues from IBM; that just won’t work. At Martinus.sk? With its five employees, no problem. At a warm atmosphere (that you know from the firm) of house of boss.
Well, barbeque party at boss’s house is undoubtedly great thing; but how about to have massages, pool, therapists, dentist, doctor and all other cool things directly in the company’s complex? Certainly unreal for several workers of Martinus…
Obviously, fewer staff members are also a drawback. Everybody has to be “an expert” in a number of subjects – there is nothing like PR, HR, IT or similar “weirdly” sounding department in the tiny firm. On the other hand, that also means that you as a person have a stronger clout in the discussion. Flat company structure combined with a small number of employees offer very flexible and swift model for troubleshooting. When the problem springs, you can generally discuss it straightaway with the chief, and you don’t need to swan with ambiguous memos as you would in corporations.
What I liked about Martinus and the advertising agency was that in such a company you feel some sort of “ownership”. You monitor sales everyday, brainstorm new ideas, see tangible outcomes of your work – no matter in which position you are. At Orange, in many cases, someone’s interest dies as soon as he/she closes the door of his/her office.
The next issue is money. Or maybe, in case of a small firm we should rather talk about huge problem. Let’s take specific example. Amazon.com managed to sell more than million copies of Harry Potter’s 5th book – in pre-orders, and at 40% off list price. Slovak translation of the latest wizard’s story is announced for this December. Martinus.sk, anywise audacious and grand-thinking, just doesn’t have enough money and power to buy fifth of printing, negotiate Amazon-size level of profit margin and make terrific advertising campaign.
One way or another, one thing is certain; there is no single company in the world that started as a gigantic multinational. So if a small firm wants to do business “on high wheel”, and no really outstanding results can show up in it, it has no option but to go big. That is to say, engage more people, find new markets and niches, and, what is most crucial – think big.
The heading for the introduction paragraph could sound “Welcome to the Googleplex”. Even though Google is an example of a big company directly operating in several countries all over the world, employing more than 1,000 people and turning over $100 Millions a year, a situation described above is obviously neither standard nor a rule. However, it is evident that in Google it is common and still there can be no doubt about their phenomenal success at all fronts. (Moreover, we need to stress that the world most famous web search engine also started as an idea in minds of two students and with several dollars in their pockets…) The environment of Google has fascinated me ever since I heard about it, for it seems to me that it is a brilliant example of combining good things of both small and big companies’ unique features. It virtually answers the question whether I would like to work for a small or for a big company; I would like to work for a “google” company. This also could be a way of how many private companies should go big, enjoy advantages of “big” and still keep the appraised and priceless congenial atmosphere of a family firm.
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Would you prefer to work for a big or a small company or organization?
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