SMB vs Enterprise



  • I am curious to the pros and cons of SMB vs Enterprise from everyone's point of view.

    This is more from an IT employee perspective vs an outside looking in perspective.



  • In regards to ?



  • I like working for a small company, even though I have to do level 1 bs. But I have awesome C-levels who have my back.



  • @DustinB3403 said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    In regards to ?

    I assume he's talking about from a career standpoint since this is posted in the IT Careers area, but I've been wrong before lots of times.


  • Service Provider

    SMBs are tough - lower pay, generally no ladder, you must jump from company to company to advance, rarely any mentorship making career growth difficult, often few additional resources like good healthcare, vacations, coverage and so forth.

    The Pro of the SMB is flexibility. You get to have more control over the environment, get to touch more things, easier to have a flexible job, more likely to get to work in odd locations.


  • Service Provider

    Enterprise jobs, from what I've seen, tend to be dramatically higher pay, more competitive, more family friendly, safer, more soft or fringe benefits, and more protective of employees.

    SMBs tend to be more informal, flexible, interesting and personally challenging. You are more likely to be an influencer in the SMB.



  • @scottalanmiller that's my new title... "Head IT Influencer".


  • Service Provider

    Family friendliness is possibly the biggest value to the enterprise. The whole "it doesn't hurt us personally when you have a personal issue" thing is huge. Not every SMB is bad about that, but on average they are. No one there to cover you when you are sick, the owner takes it as a personal affront when you are out dealing with family stuff, etc.

    In the enterprise you normally have people there who have your back. When you get sick or need to see the kids at school, you can just go. Everyone understands and no one takes it personally. You have a team that works together and everyone wants everyone to be happy and healthy.



  • @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    SMBs are tough - lower pay, generally no ladder, you must jump from company to company to advance, rarely any mentorship making career growth difficult, often few additional resources like good healthcare, vacations, coverage and so forth.

    The Pro of the SMB is flexibility. You get to have more control over the environment, get to touch more things, easier to have a flexible job, more likely to get to work in odd locations.

    That is pretty much what I was looking for. I am trying to relay to a buddy the difference between SMB and Enterprise. He is looking to leave enterprise and has no experience with SMB. I am trying to basically talk him out of it because if you have worked Enterprise for 10 years, and you go SMB your'e likely going to have a bad time.


  • Service Provider

    @IRJ said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    SMBs are tough - lower pay, generally no ladder, you must jump from company to company to advance, rarely any mentorship making career growth difficult, often few additional resources like good healthcare, vacations, coverage and so forth.

    The Pro of the SMB is flexibility. You get to have more control over the environment, get to touch more things, easier to have a flexible job, more likely to get to work in odd locations.

    That is pretty much what I was looking for. I am trying to relay to a buddy the difference between SMB and Enterprise. He is looking to leave enterprise and has no experience with SMB. I am trying to basically talk him out of it because if you have worked Enterprise for 10 years, and you go SMB your'e likely going to have a bad time.

    Oh yes, that's the hardest transition. All transitions are tough, but I think that that one is the hardest. Going from a team to being alone, from corporate oversight and protection to total exposure, from solid management to playing politics.


  • Service Provider

    In more cases than not, SMB = drama.



  • @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    ou are sick, the owner takes it as a personal affront when you are out dealing with family stuff, etc.

    Huh - my personal experience has been literally the exact 180. The big companies bitched all the time about employees being gone for family stuff, the little ones while definitely more hamstrung, were more understanding.

    But I completely expect there to be some of each attitude on both sides of the fence.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    ou are sick, the owner takes it as a personal affront when you are out dealing with family stuff, etc.

    Huh - my personal experience has been literally the exact 180. The big companies bitched all the time about employees being gone for family stuff, the little ones while definitely more hamstrung, were more understanding.

    But I completely expect there to be some of each attitude on both sides of the fence.

    We've established, though, that your "big company" was horrific and not very big. Just big for Nebraska. You are the most extreme outlier in "big business" experience of anyone we've ever known. Literally. Everything about that company operated like a mom and pop shop and they were basically a staffing company, so very different from the rest of the Fortune 1000.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    The big companies bitched all the time about employees being gone for family stuff, the little ones while definitely more hamstrung, were more understanding.

    What was their spot on the Fortune 1000?



  • Enterprise jobs seem to be more focused on a specific area, where SMB are more generalist type jobs.

    In an enterprise job, your job may ONLY be working with Backup. Or it may ONLY be Group Policy.

    Where as in an SMB, you will do it ALL, and then some.


  • Service Provider

    @Tim_G said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    Enterprise jobs seem to be more focused on a specific area, where SMB are more generalist type jobs.

    In an enterprise job, your job may ONLY be working with Backup. Or it may ONLY be Group Policy.

    Where as in an SMB, you will do it ALL, and then some.

    Which also means that it is harder to be valuable in the SMB. Because you have to do work of many different levels, not just types. So you need the skills of ten enterprise seniors to do the job well of one generalist mid level.



  • @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @Tim_G said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    Enterprise jobs seem to be more focused on a specific area, where SMB are more generalist type jobs.

    In an enterprise job, your job may ONLY be working with Backup. Or it may ONLY be Group Policy.

    Where as in an SMB, you will do it ALL, and then some.

    Which also means that it is harder to be valuable in the SMB. Because you have to do work of many different levels, not just types. So you need the skills of ten enterprise seniors to do the job well of one generalist mid level.

    This is why I prefer the generalist role more so than a focused role. First of all, it's way more fun to do it all... I enjoy being involved in all IT aspects. Also, being a generalistdoesn't mean you necessarily lack skill in an area. It means you are well versed and experienced in many areas, and are therefore able to innovate better.


  • Service Provider

    @Tim_G said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @Tim_G said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    Enterprise jobs seem to be more focused on a specific area, where SMB are more generalist type jobs.

    In an enterprise job, your job may ONLY be working with Backup. Or it may ONLY be Group Policy.

    Where as in an SMB, you will do it ALL, and then some.

    Which also means that it is harder to be valuable in the SMB. Because you have to do work of many different levels, not just types. So you need the skills of ten enterprise seniors to do the job well of one generalist mid level.

    This is why I prefer the generalist role more so than a focused role. First of all, it's way more fun to do it all... I enjoy being involved in all IT aspects. Also, being a generalistdoesn't mean you necessarily lack skill in an area. It means you are well versed and experienced in many areas, and are therefore able to innovate better.

    I prefer it too. The issue is getting compensated for the skills, not acquiring them. How do you pay a generalist what they are worth if they don't have time to focus on high value tasks?



  • @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @Tim_G said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @Tim_G said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    Enterprise jobs seem to be more focused on a specific area, where SMB are more generalist type jobs.

    In an enterprise job, your job may ONLY be working with Backup. Or it may ONLY be Group Policy.

    Where as in an SMB, you will do it ALL, and then some.

    Which also means that it is harder to be valuable in the SMB. Because you have to do work of many different levels, not just types. So you need the skills of ten enterprise seniors to do the job well of one generalist mid level.

    This is why I prefer the generalist role more so than a focused role. First of all, it's way more fun to do it all... I enjoy being involved in all IT aspects. Also, being a generalistdoesn't mean you necessarily lack skill in an area. It means you are well versed and experienced in many areas, and are therefore able to innovate better.

    I prefer it too. The issue is getting compensated for the skills, not acquiring them. How do you pay a generalist what they are worth if they don't have time to focus on high value tasks?

    You do focus on high value tasks. You focus on multiple high value tasks simultaneously.



  • never been in enterprise. always in envs with <=50 people - these includes warehouse guys.

    • first 7 years as researcher at university, mine was a small group (<10 people), approach was: no retirement money just salary. fixed salary no strict timeframse, just get the job done then feel free to go and return.

    • then I've opened a company. a production one. terrible mistake, no commercial experience. closed it after 3 years. It was something like 24h per day at work.

    • 1 year as consultant in small comapnies - production, machine vision. you were the consultatnt, you were expensive, better to not waste your time with stupid stuff (like boss's pc is stalling)

    now it's my second year in a pure commercial business - buy'n'sell. Terrible place. no planning, hysteria all around up to the company owner. today I've cleaned up the warehouse as job. and yes I've written some stuff into an excel sheet. for a 15 mins I've got a chat with altaro support for a issue. REALLY derailing.

    this would not happen in a bigger company.

    On the other side in these 2 years I've literally built their infrastructure, from wiring the company with fiber up to introducing virtualization, backups, standardized printing (no more 15 different printers from 100 vendors) and so... now switching ERP (PITA MAXIMUM!). I've written a couple of web apps. So basically I've been a 360° IT kid, from engineering to fixing printers :/

    can't do this in enterprise. Don't know how much of a drama can be switch to this.

    In Italy people is going away from enterprises in search of less-I'm-a-robot-doing-all-the-same-thing-every-damn-day job.

    alt text

    on the left it is italian smb, on the right italian enterprises.


  • Service Provider

    I've been lucky, I've been senior management in two Fortune 10s. Really gives a lot of great insight. I've worked for a lot of the Fortune 100, including a top 20 as my first job in 1989. I've done everything from a two man show to the biggest of their categories twice.


  • Service Provider

    I love both sides of things, SMB and enterprise. Two very different challenges. I'd hate to only have done one or the other. But if I had to choose, enterprise is the place to be. Especially as someone with a family. When my daughter was born, I was given unannounced, paid paternity leave for weeks. And when that was over I was sent home to work from home for a year to be with her. Not many SMBs doing that kind of stuff.



  • @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    I love both sides of things, SMB and enterprise. Two very different challenges. I'd hate to only have done one or the other. But if I had to choose, enterprise is the place to be. Especially as someone with a family. When my daughter was born, I was given unannounced, paid paternity leave for weeks. And when that was over I was sent home to work from home for a year to be with her. Not many SMBs doing that kind of stuff.

    I'd be surprised if that was the norm for the majority of enterprise companies, though. I really would.


  • Service Provider

    @dafyre said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    I love both sides of things, SMB and enterprise. Two very different challenges. I'd hate to only have done one or the other. But if I had to choose, enterprise is the place to be. Especially as someone with a family. When my daughter was born, I was given unannounced, paid paternity leave for weeks. And when that was over I was sent home to work from home for a year to be with her. Not many SMBs doing that kind of stuff.

    I'd be surprised if that was the norm for the majority of enterprise companies, though. I really would.

    That's a bit extreme, it was a great company. But not unlike the culture at the other two Fortune 20s I was at. All three would have been similar.



  • @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    I love both sides of things, SMB and enterprise. Two very different challenges. I'd hate to only have done one or the other. But if I had to choose, enterprise is the place to be. Especially as someone with a family. When my daughter was born, I was given unannounced, paid paternity leave for weeks. And when that was over I was sent home to work from home for a year to be with her. Not many SMBs doing that kind of stuff.

    Yes but it depends how high up on the totem pole you are in enterprise, too. If you were help desk in that company, I doubt they'd have done all that for you.

    Otherwise yes I agree, both are good in their own ways.


  • Service Provider

    @Tim_G said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @Tim_G said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @Tim_G said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    Enterprise jobs seem to be more focused on a specific area, where SMB are more generalist type jobs.

    In an enterprise job, your job may ONLY be working with Backup. Or it may ONLY be Group Policy.

    Where as in an SMB, you will do it ALL, and then some.

    Which also means that it is harder to be valuable in the SMB. Because you have to do work of many different levels, not just types. So you need the skills of ten enterprise seniors to do the job well of one generalist mid level.

    This is why I prefer the generalist role more so than a focused role. First of all, it's way more fun to do it all... I enjoy being involved in all IT aspects. Also, being a generalistdoesn't mean you necessarily lack skill in an area. It means you are well versed and experienced in many areas, and are therefore able to innovate better.

    I prefer it too. The issue is getting compensated for the skills, not acquiring them. How do you pay a generalist what they are worth if they don't have time to focus on high value tasks?

    You do focus on high value tasks. You focus on multiple high value tasks simultaneously.

    The problem is you also have to focus on low value ones, unless you have a full vertical stack of generalists. For example, your work designing storage systems is worth 10x while your work supporting a desktop application install might be worth 1x. Unless all your work is at 10x, any other work is a lower value than you are worth.


  • Service Provider

    @Tim_G said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    I love both sides of things, SMB and enterprise. Two very different challenges. I'd hate to only have done one or the other. But if I had to choose, enterprise is the place to be. Especially as someone with a family. When my daughter was born, I was given unannounced, paid paternity leave for weeks. And when that was over I was sent home to work from home for a year to be with her. Not many SMBs doing that kind of stuff.

    Yes but it depends how high up on the totem pole you are in enterprise, too. If you were help desk in that company, I doubt they'd have done all that for you.

    Well, mostly because of the physical component of that work. It's true, though, seniors get more options. But in the SMB, you might be the CIO and not get that flexibility.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    @scottalanmiller said in SMB vs Enterprise:

    ou are sick, the owner takes it as a personal affront when you are out dealing with family stuff, etc.

    Huh - my personal experience has been literally the exact 180. The big companies bitched all the time about employees being gone for family stuff, the little ones while definitely more hamstrung, were more understanding.

    So we talked offline and tracked down the company and its history and while the company in question has had a number of acquisitions and become a tiny enterprise today (~900 on the Fortune 1000 list) it was around 22% of that size (not 22% smaller, 22% of the total) back when he was there making it in the middle of the SME range. And an SME rooted solidly in Nebraska which makes it behave even smaller than it really is. So his experience there is more as we would expect from the SMB market and less from the enterprise because the company was closer to SMB than to enterprise back then.


  • Service Provider

    For reference, we tend to use the Fortune 1000 as a handy rule of thumb as to "what is enterprise", but it is hardly a hard and fast rule. These terms are always loose. Some companies act enterprise with 2,000 employees, some act small with 30,000 but there are trends. If you are an average company then the number of employees, needed skills and stock revenue of the F1000 tends to make you behave a certain way. But if you have loads of employees and not revenue, or vice versa weird things might happen if you use any one item as a guide.



  • I've worked for both and haven't really noticed a difference. An enterpirse is generally broken up into much smaller semi-autonomous units that often operate similar to an SMB anyway.

    Generally the biggest influence is your boss. If your boss is an asshole, it doesn't matter so much if he's an enterprise asshole or an SMB asshole.


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