Editor’s note: Jesse Noyes is a senior director at Zenefits, which produces Workest.
One of the best jobs I ever held was building stone walls. That first season I was the grunt, lugging buckets of small rocks as fill as the older, more experienced hands toiled big boulders into carefully measured sight lines.
Under the guidance of Sal, who owned the business, I learned how to measure, push, pull, or use a giant steel bar to maneuver rocks into straight or undulating lines — whatever the client wanted. It was some of the hardest, most back-breaking work I ever did. But when I’d drive down country roads and see those freestanding walls holding steady despite heavy rains, snows, and winds, I was filled with a sense of accomplishment.
Over a couple summers, Sal taught me a bit about building stone walls. He taught me a lot more about small business. Mainly, the craftsmanship, ownership, motivation needed to run one. Not to mention, the anxiety often involved.
It’s not that you can’t experience any or all of these at a large corporations. But there’s something about the intimacy between a business’s leaders, customers, vendors, and employees that drives those lessons home.
I never got around to the job at a big corporation. In reality, most of the workforce doesn’t. But working with small businesses, there were a few realizations about the SMB (small to mid-size business) world I hadn’t really absorbed until the last few years. The biggest is that despite representing 99% of the workforce, small businesses don’t have nearly as many resources as the big companies.
Truth is, there are plenty of news sites, forums, and apps for the business community. We knew that. But over the past year, after having created over 1,000 pieces of content — from articles to interactive tools — we noticed something missing. Many of the resources are geared for big business.
Whether it’s headlines or assets, everyone seems to be fighting for the attention of the enterprises that comprise 1% of the workforce. And even when resources are aimed at small businesses, it’s often for one niche industry.
The big businesses not only have legal teams to ensure compliance, they have lobbyists to help change rules and regulations. They can offer outsized compensation and benefits. And their recruitment efforts are hard to match.
But small and mid-size businesses are the force behind our economy. They provide jobs, training, benefits, and even shape the communities around them that, taken as a whole, have a far larger and lasting impact on all of us.
Our goal with Workest was to provide a resource specifically for small business owners, operators, leaders and talent, empowering them to do their best work. (Best + Work = Workest, get it?)
So, we created this platform as a place to access the latest trends and news impacting small businesses. We’re stocking it with tools and resources that are designed to make life easier for the needs of those employers and their HR leaders. And we created a space for small business people to engage with each other, asking and answering the questions that arise as they build their businesses and their teams.
We hope you’ll join Workest by becoming a registered user. If you do, you’ll be able to save the content you find most useful, engage with other small business leaders, and receive our weekly email newsletter. We’re just getting started, too. We’ll continue to build and enhance the platform with richer experiences and exclusive content offers.
Stay in touch. As we grow, we’ll need your feedback. Just like a stone mason — or a small business leader — we’re in it to build something that lasts.