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Smaller businesses winning ‘big business’ talent in FMCG

by Jennifer Kenworthy

Meeting table with laptops, notes and coffee

In the last few years, we’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of smaller, niche boutique suppliers across a wide range of FMCG sectors, mainly focused in high-growth categories such as health & wellbeing, organic home, personal care, baby products and of course, technology.

With the rise in small business, barriers that previously made talent apprehensive about making the move from big to small businesses are dissipating. Smaller businesses are winning at getting ‘big business’ talent because of one very important factor – they can clearly articulate their business purpose and value proposition. Candidates want brands that they connect with. This trend now transcends consumers and significantly impacts the career decisions of professionals.  

Reap the rewards

High-growth small businesses offer great potential to work closely with like-minded, passionate and engaged people. Of course, the technical experience that you bring to these roles is highly valued but a genuine willingness to keep on learning, ability to manage multiple projects all build success in the candidates who successfully transition out of larger businesses.

Take for example, Remedy Kombucha. Husband and wife team Emmet and Sarah Condon were inspired by a genuine desire to “do good” and produce a delicious drink product that is a naturally healthy alternative to established food industry ranges. They are now reaping the rewards and have an incredibly talented team.

“Fast-growth businesses provide so much opportunity for talented people; new products, new markets and acquisitions, a great breadth of experience where you won’t be pigeonholed into a narrowly defined role and most importantly, the ability to actually contribute in a meaningful way to the success of a small business, rather than being lost among thousands in a bigger business”.  Gary Cobbledick, Director & Partner at Remedy.

Being surrounded by people who are as dedicated to the cause or goal as you, is a great motivator but smaller businesses also enable you to:

See more. Do more. 

From greater decision making to new processes, broader commercial responsibility and driving new business strategies, the scope to learn and stretch your experience is endless.

Be flexible. 

Large businesses are slowly building this into their processes, but small organisations hands-down win when it comes to providing and understanding flexible working hours, locations and project diversity.

Do more with less. 

You might be wearing more hats and have fewer resources than before, but that means every team success, each collaborative result, great or small is just that little bit more rewarding.

Make decisions count. 

With less red tape, reduced office politics and flatter organisational structures, individual and team ideas can be scaled from good to great in a fraction of the time of traditional business structures can create change.

“The ability to make a real difference is one of the main reasons why so many great people are attracted to our business.” Gary Cobbledick, Director & Partner at Remedy.

Rising to the challenge

Malcolm Rands, founder and CEO of ecostore adopted the mantra, “Do one small thing everyday…make a big difference”, while creating a business dedicated to a healthier standard of living that challenged multinational brands and their chemical-based products.

While Ecostore’s story is a great example of what can be achieved for those still in the consideration phase of joining a newly established or smaller business, two things I believe can make a significant difference to the way you approach are:

You need to believe. 

Smaller businesses need a highly engaged and passionate team that are genuine consumers and understand their market intrinsically.

Thinking 'lean & agile'. 

Resources are limited in smaller environments which naturally encourages a collaborative not delegative approach to getting things done.

Risk versus reward

If you’re pivoting or making a complete career change, from blue chip to green fields, my most important words of advice are: Keep. An. Open. Mind. The safe and familiar comforts you know and possibly love in well-established business are highly unlikely to be ready and waiting for you in smaller businesses…but transferring and testing your skills for something inspiring is a great trade-off. Good luck!


Jennifer Kenworthy Senior FMCG Sales Consultant

Time for a change? Get in touch with Jennifer Kenworthy on 03 8613 3515 for further industry insights.