Most small business owners don’t usually lavish a lot of their time on core values or culture.
But the truth is that establishing values for your small business is highly crucial. Every organization you see today – from small and medium-sized enterprises to the big boys in any industry – has core values.
As a small business owner, you have a vision for that business. It includes what the company does, its essential focus, and how work gets done.
The core values you create for your small business can make your company a thriving place to work. This is because each value mirrors your passion for that business. Core values also help business owners determine whether they are on the right path to fulfilling their business goals.
Before defining your values, please do not confuse the ‘code of conduct’ with core values. Codes of conduct refer to a list of dos and don’ts about behavior. On the other hand, core values outline a particular mindset to guide the decision-making process.
Here’s what core values are, why they are essential to your small business, their benefits, and so on.
What Does Core Values Mean?
Core values underlie your work, how your employees interact, and the strategies you employ to fulfill your mission. They have to do with the basic elements of how you and your employees go about your work. They involve the practices you use – or should be using – each day in everything you do.
In other words, they are the very foundations on which any business build. And they must be implemented across the entire company. Refer to them in all decision-making processes. And they have profound and numerous benefits to a small business.
Core values are known to do the following:
- Clarify who/what your small business is
- Governs personal relationships
- Articulates what you stand for
- They guide you on how to teach.
- They help to justify why you do business the way you do
- They guide you in making crucial decisions.
- They do not require any external justification.
Benefits of Core Values to a Small Business.
Here are some of the ways your small business can benefit from setting values:
Every organization has a mission statement, a business plan, and steps it needs to take to reach its stated goals. Core values help to determine precisely how you achieve business goals.
For instance, let’s say if one of your values is innovation, looking for ground-breaking ways to complete projects would be strongly encouraged.
Your small business will significantly grow when you utilize core values to achieve your objectives.
Attract New Customers and Employees
When you share your values with the public, it becomes an excellent way of attracting more customers and potential employees.
Once your workplace values align with your customer’s their loyalty grows. And you will have practically zero trouble in finding employees that are naturally great fits for your organization.
Enhanced Employee Productivity and Performance
A solid set of values help to engage and motivate staff. This considerably raises their productivity and performance levels.
When your employees believe in and respect your values, having a greater understanding of their job role will no longer be a problem. They will be all about helping to achieve your business goals.
When your staff aligns with your values, it creates an enjoyable and serene working environment. This is crucial for employee productivity and performance.
Other benefits of having core values as a small business include:
- Improved staff retention
- Happy customers
- Enhances competitive advantage
- Raises the company profile, etc.
Quick Examples of Companies and Their Core Values
A few quick examples of companies with fantastic values will give you an insight into creating yours for your small business.
They communicate what their company stand for at a glance.
Click on the links, and it will take you to their page that expands on what the phrase or word means in the company’s culture.
- Focus on impact
- Move fast
- Be bold
- Be open
- Build social value
- Deliver wow through service
- Embrace and drive change
- Create fun and a little weirdness
- Be adventurous, open-minded, and creative.
- Pursue growth and learning
- Build honest and open relationships through communications
- Build a positive team and family spirit
- Do more with less
- Be passionate and determined.
- Be humble
- Focus on the user, and all else will follow.
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
- Fast is better than slow.
- Democracy on the web works
- You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
- You can make money without doing evil.
- There’s always more information out there.
- The need for information crosses all borders.
- You can be serious without a suit.
- Great just isn’t good enough.
- A focus on success
- 1 great person = 3 good people
- Communication is leadership
- Fill the other guy’s basket to the brim. Making money then becomes an easy proposition.
- The best selection, service, and price
- Intuition doesn’t come to an unprepared mind. You need to train before it happens.
- Man in the desert selling
- Air of excitement
If you would like to see more examples of core values, please go to 190 Brillant Examples of Company Values. (offsite).
What is Not Core Values
When writing your values, it is too easy to include things that are not core values.
Lencioni, in his Harvard Business article, listed three:
- Aspirational values -are attributes we would like the business to have but currently not doing. This is not a core value as it is not yet part of the company’s standards. Work towards making this a core value and, in the future, add it to your list.
- Permission-to-Play values – standards you would expect yourself and your employees to have. Such things as integrity, trustworthiness, honesty, etc., fall into this group. Although most companies list them, there is nothing exceptionable about these values, as all businesses should display them.
- Accidental values – are values you did not promote but became a part of your business. These can be both good and bad for your business. OK, if it is inclusive and harmful, if it works against your other values. The easiest way to spot accidental values is there are exceptions to them. Core values never have exceptions.
How Does a Business Decide On Its Values?
It is essential to spend time thinking seriously about your business, your brand, and what you truly stand for.
- “What do you value over profit?” Remember, your values do not need to be lofty; save the world level. Sincere and straightforward core values will be more useful.
- How do your customers describe you in their feedback? Your core values need to reflect the language your customers use
- Be yourself. This will help you set values vital to you and not just something you want people to read about or hear.
- What makes your core values different from your competitors? What makes you unique?
Keep your value list short. Try to combine similar values into one.
Once you have your core value list, write a one or two-sentence explanation of each value and how it is part of your company’s interactions and procedures. Click on the above company’s links to see their definitions.
Now make your core values part of everything your company does. How you live your values can quickly transform your product/service from a mere commodity to something vital.
As a small business, you should take ownership and define your company values.
The core values of your company need to be continuously reinforced and even reviewed from time to time. This is because they are crucial to the value and long-term growth of your organization.