A Publication of WTVP

My son graduated from Bradley University in December earning a B.S. degree from the Foster College of Business, with an entrepreneurship concentration. Neither his father nor I knew such a specific program existed before he was enrolled, even though we had become entrepreneurs ourselves. "One who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise," as defined by Webster's dictionary, certainly could use the benefit of study and not totally depend on trial and error experience to fulfill their vision. So I believed the course of study was a good choice.

After he began his job search in late summer, I was hoping he would interview with several large corporations and begin his career immediately after graduation. But would that be the best way for him to go, especially considering his special college focus? I had the benefit of owning my own small business while watching closely the dynamics of corporate life play out with many friends, and I had to admit that fresh out of college would be a good time for him to explore his options.

Statisticians tell us more people will be working in small business in the next century than big business. That's already true in Peoria, where 82 percent of the businesses that belong to the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce are considered small, meaning they have fewer than 50 employees.

But what's right for my son? Where would his entrepreneurial interests play best-in a larger or smaller company? I've given him a list of advantages and disadvantages of both size companies to consider as he weighs his alternatives.

Those are obviously generalizations about the characteristics of large corporations and small businesses. Some companies don't fit either mold. Many are medium-sized and elude categorization. Large corporations treasure their leaders, individuals who are keenly motivated and who consider decision-making an integral part of their lives. Nonetheless, I have purposely generalized to help my son clarify his thinking about what he wants to do.

If I were a gambler, I'd wager that he'll want to work for a small company, perhaps even be his own boss. After, all, that has been his expressed interest at Bradley, and he began his first business while in high school. But part of me hopes he'll spend at least a few years at a large corporation just so he can experience the culture, carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages, and then decide for himself if the environment is or is not a "good fit". I guess that's the reason for the list, he needs to realize that there are benefits and drawbacks no matter which direction he goes. Now is the best time for him to find out first hand, before he has the responsibilities that come with families and age, that may force him to make a decision for other reasons. IBI