Establishing your business’ core values
Most entrepreneurs start a business because they feel there is a problem that needs solving and that they have or could create the solution to that problem. But to connect with consumers businesses need more than just a fix to a problem, they must have values. A business’ core values is what attracts loyal customers, as they feel they can relate to the business and that the business stands for something they respect and agree with. This is also important for developing a strong company culture – you can attract and maintain top talent if you have strong core values that they agree with.
Here, we have revealed what you should consider when establishing your company’s core values:
- Clear values should define the business and guide behaviour.
- As the company grows these founding beliefs will need to be made more formal and explicit.
- Try to avoid writing these values down using generic words and phrases (like “integrity”), use your own unique voice. This makes the values more relatable and reinforces whatever is unique about the culture.
- Involve everyone within the company in the creation and codification of the values. A business owner should lead but not dictate. This is continuous process, as there are always more things that can be done to make sure the values are being stuck to and are effective.
- Always reinforce the values – repeat, reward and recognise. For example an example of recognition, the CEO could pick one value a month and the company votes for one person who best characterises that value.
- Good, practiced values can help make difficult decisions. Especially decisions where numbers and analysis alone can’t give you the answer.
- Lead by example. If the CEO and leaders do not follow the values then they will not stick with everyone else.
- Be ready to be tested. Employees should – and will – call you out based on your values. While this can be a bit painful, this is a good sign because it means the values have really taken hold at the root level and are being used multi-directionally.
- Values should make you and everyone else in the firm proud to work there.
- Always stick to your core values, and be honest about them! Consumers will appreciate the transparency.