When the CEO asked me to blog for the first time, I thought, “You’ll be sorry,” but then I thought, this topic actually speaks to me.
I’ve walked the walk. I grew up in a small family business. The business was not public relations, but the exposure I had in my early career to the bigger picture of a small company has been priceless.
From working with difficult people (dad), to jumping in on almost any task, whether professionally trained or not, has given me a fearless foundation and core.
Small businesses like family-run businesses give you a direct line to the essence and the brain of the entire operation, that charismatic leader who wants everyone in the company to share the same genuine goal he or she risked the family’s future on. Tap into that enthusiasm, take advantage of the opportunities, and as the article this PR Daily article states, “This experience is more valuable than any paycheck from a big agency.”
I've found in my tenure at Rainier, that just as we treat our employees as if they were part of a family, we instinctively pass that feeling on to the way we relate to our clients. We know that many of our clients are running their own small businesses. Someone is risking everything in hopes that his or her vision becomes something others believe in.
Because we are small, every employee instinctively understands the importance of his or her role in reaching our clients' goal. We all know that teamwork and collaboration are key and practiced every day. We have the ability, because of the size of our office, to bounce countless ideas off each other, and to share in every small and large success of our clients.
What a start in a small business may lack in fancy tools or corporate incentives, we gain tenfold in hands-on experience.
Did I mention that we also like to have a lot of fun? One of our PR Directors left for a 2 week family vacation in Hawaii. He returned to find his office transformed into Conference Room 3, a near mirror image of our larger conference rooms. Would he get that if he worked for a big agency?
If you get the chance to work in a small agency, don't dismiss the experience assuming it's the Wild West. Small agencies have structure where it’s important (handbooks, standards, performance and salary structure) and have flexibility where it matters most, in our work-life balance, and our creativity.