Diary of a Digital Marketing Intern (Part 4 of 5): The Benefits of Working for a Small Business


Last week I shared the mindset that has helped maximize my experience as a Digital Marketing Intern for MKG Marketing and, more importantly, to have fun while I am in San Francisco!

In part four of this series, I will explain some of the benefits of working for a small business and also my thoughts on the culture of MKG Marketing.

Additionally, I'd love to hear your thoughts on my experience in the comments section of this blog, if you have anything to share. Enjoy!

Benefits of Working for a Small Business

MKG is a tight-knit group. Working in an office with the CEO and the COO creates an unrivaled opportunity. Here are five benefits of working for a small business:

  1. Responsibility
  2. Exposure to Business Acumen
  3. Transparency
  4. No Red Tape
  5. Perks of the Job

Let's look at them one by one:

Benefits of Working for a Small Business: Responsibility

The best way to learn is to have the opportunity to fail; having significant responsibility at work offers this type of learning.

Oftentimes, internships can turn into glorified job-shadowing situations where the intern is busy grabbing coffee, making copies, filing papers and performing other tedious tasks that offer little true learning.

Mike and Kerry have given me considerable responsibilities at work. They've been excellent at teaching me how to do something and then letting me take over. Sometimes they offer a lot of direction, carefully teaching me how to do something before they let me loose. Other times they give me a task and say, "Go!"

However, the responsibility they do give me is not overwhelming because they consistently inspect what they expect. They are always apprised of what I am working on. The level of responsibility and the breadth of tasks that I have had this summer has made this an invaluable learning experience.

Benefits of Working for a Small Business: Exposure to Business Acumen

I am surrounded every day at work by a level of skill and knowledge that I might not have been exposed to if I had taken an internship at a larger company.

Interns do not usually work with the CEO and the COO of a company. Not to mention MKG's Director of Search who lives in Portland, Christian Bullock, is always willing and able to help me better understand all things 'Search Marketing.'

In addition to all the knowledge I've knowingly gleaned from this internship, I've benefitted in ways that I'm not yet aware of. Being around Mike and Kerry for seven weeks has given me the opportunity to learn from their work methods and habits. I've seen how they manage time, overcome obstacles, communicate with clients and more.

In short; I've absorbed a lot of success principles that will surface time and time again later on in my career.

Benefits of Working for a Small Business: Transparency

One thing I prize in my work situation is the level of transparency that Mike and Kerry promote.

It's one office. There are no closed doors. I have the opportunity to see how they treat not only their clients, but their employees and each other. I get to watch them tackle problems and create solutions. I see almost everything they do and the exposure is unparalleled. It has offered me valuable perspective into what it takes to be a business owner.

Benefits of Working for a Small Business: No Red Tape

Small Businesses operate very similarly to start ups in the sense that they can pivot quickly from one idea to the next. They're agile. That's valuable because if Mike or Kerry wants to change a strategy, or if I have an idea that might improve a process, those ideas or changes can be implemented and validated quickly.

The agility of MKG makes it an exciting agency to work for because they are always trying to improve their service. There is no, 'corporate red tape' at MKG and that makes the idea of owning my own business very attractive.

Benefits of Working for a Small Business: Perks of the Job

One of my favorite 'perks of the job' so far was when Mike picked me up on a Monday morning and we cruised down to Google's Global HQ in Mountain View, CA to have lunch with MKG's Google rep.

It was amazing to see how large the Googleplex is and did I mention the free food?

Since I was recently selected to be the 2013-2014 Google Student Ambassador for the University of Montana, this trip was an appreciated experience. The Google campus is massive and I'm excited to attend the 2013 Google Student Ambassador Summit in August.

MKG: A Culture that is Contagious

Working for a small business offers many advantages, however, it is the culture of MKG that really amplifies some of those advantages.

The opportunity to observe and to engage in a company's inner workings amidst solid business values extends the value of a small business internship. After working with top notch companies like Southwestern Co. and now MKG, I have decided that a company's culture and values will be the deciding factor when I chose the next company to work for.

I have been nothing but impressed by the culture at MKG Marketing. Here are a few examples of their agency culture:

  • "All Good Things!" - A phrase you'll here often in the office is, "All Good Things moving forward." This paints the picture of the positive attitude and mindset MKG promotes. The positive attitude in the office creates a productive working environment where we are focused on moving forward and achieving our goals.
  • Goal Oriented - Another MKG motto is, "Keep your eyes on the road and not on the wall." It refers to keeping our focus on the end goal and not the daily fluctuation of work. Something new I learned about goal setting was the idea of a 'BHAG' or Big Harry Audacious Goal. If your BHAG doesn't make you uncomfortable, then it's not big enough. Watching MKG set their yearly goals offered me a unique look at their goal setting mentality.
  • HIP - Honesty | Integrity | People - Keeping it 'HIP' is a term used often in the office. It sums up MKG's values. Honesty is about staying true to the MKG brand and being transparent with clients and employees. Integrity is about accountability and providing measurable results for clients. People refers to MKG's commitment to treating their clients and their employees with respect and to giving them the attention they deserve. They take care of their people.

All in all, MKG has an exciting, contagious culture which I have enjoyed being exposed to.

Next week I'll publish the last part of this five part series which will summarize my thoughts and experience working with MKG Marketing this summer in San Francisco. I will also share my secret to making a killer peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Stay tuned!

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