Published on : 14th February 2024
How To Prepare For A Move From A Corporate To An SME Business
Over the last 12 months, we’ve spoken to a large number of managers and execs who have looked at the idea of moving to an SME business from a Corporate one for various reasons.
You might be in the same position in future (if you’re already there this might be a reminder of what you’ve adapted to) and if that does happen, it’s important to prepare yourself fully before making that move.
It can be a very different environment to the Corporate world and that can bring immense rewards as well as challenges and it may not suit everyone.
To look at some aspects to consider before making the change, check out our Podcast below or read on!
Start relying on yourself more to make decisions
You will need to make decisions that may seem like they are more risky, but that is the result of increased responsibility. Hopefully, that's a positive, because you may not need to go through layers of extra approval or red tape to make these decisions and get things done.
Don't be constrained by your title
If you move into an SME environment, you're going to have to be hands-on and you're going to have to roll up your sleeves much more regularly. Don't think anything is beneath you. This is an important point to remember and be prepared for because it's not for everyone.
But those who enjoy the new level of responsibility will find more opportunities to add value and flourish.
Think on your feet
Things tend to happen more quickly and you will need to think on your feet and adjust your speed. Things will often happen more quickly and again, this can be seen as a positive.
You’ll have the ability to make mistakes quickly and be able to learn and develop from those as well.
You will need to get creative because you generally may have fewer resources available. That resource might be your time, it might be financial, it might be people resources and will probably be all three!
As these things might be more constrained, you will have to work around them and be creative in making better use of your time, people and financial budgets.
Make sure it's a good cultural fit
Within a bigger organisation, the cultural fit may be less important. There will be plenty of people you are not on first-name terms with and processes and departments you have limited knowledge of. In a much smaller company, you will be much closer to the entire team and very close to the senior stakeholders in the business. You might be talking daily to the CEO, the Founder, the Vice President or the President of the company.
You should meet as many of the stakeholders as possible before committing to join and find out what it's like working in the organisation. You need to know it’s the type of business that fits your character and the way you want to work.
Become more comfortable with uncertainty
A higher level of uncertainty is going to be the new norm. Not necessarily in job security, but there might be uncertainty in how things work, for example, a lack of defined processes. The roadmap may change quickly within an SME as generally the DNA of the business will be more entrepreneurial.
You'll have to get used to things changing at a much more rapid pace, but hey, that's half the fun!
Network with others
Talk to, listen and learn from others who have done it. Are there any of your peers that have moved from a Corporate to an SME? What was their experience? What did they like? How was it? What do they not like?
Don’t judge everything from their experience, listen and learn from what they tell you because it may help you be better prepared.
Moving from a Corporate Business to an SME can bring terrific rewards but it is not for everyone. We hope our pointers will help you make the right decision for you and if you don’t try you may never know!