Your business’ core values are the foundation on which you build your business model and create the rubric for hiring your team. Whether you are a new business owner or have been around a while, there are many things to consider when defining your company’s values.
Some of the most common questions your business needs to answer are:
- Who is your target audience?
- How do you convey a message that will resonate with them?
- What do you offer that separates you from the competition?
- What digital tools and strategies will you leverage to market and close sales?
There are specific strategies and actions that you’ll want to take if you’re going to achieve results. These actions could stem from your company’s core beliefs and values.
Core values are more than just fuzzy words on your company’s about page — they support your overarching purpose and are a driving force behind what you do.
Core values are the driving force behind operations, behaviors, and expectations for your company and its people.
With such importance behind a company’s core values and what they mean to your clients, how do you properly define and communicate what your values are?
In this article, we’ll touch on what a company’s core values represent, why they are important, and tips and strategies for defining your company’s values to your audience.
What Are Company Values?
Company values are the principles upon which your company operates. Also known as core values, these beliefs are the foundation for how the company and its people function. It’s also how they communicate that with the community around them.
This is your company’s why. The values and behaviors your company exhibits will be on display for the world to see and will affect every aspect of the business, from working collaboratively to closing leads and after-sales service.
4 Reasons Company Values Are Important
Besides the desire for people to believe in your mission and purpose, you want your audience to believe it when you say you’ll do business with integrity and open communication.
There are several benefits to defining your company’s core values and acting on them.
1. Values instill a sense of community.
In defining your core values as a company, you’re also bringing people together to embody those behaviors, whether it is your employees, clients, or partners.
2. Values develop your own people.
Toxic workplace culture is a growing problem in the workforce, especially so when company values aren’t intact. Developing a strong set of core values and sticking to them will help solidify your team members and keep them motivated as well.
3. Values establish stronger decision-making skills.
When your company sticks to its principles, the benefits go much further than just attracting more clients. When a company vows to act on core values, it makes it easier to keep decisions aligned with those values.
4. Values let people know who you are.
When you set core values for your company, your clients, and the community around you, you will know exactly what to expect from your business and its people.
5 Strategies for Defining Your Company Values
Core values aren’t a wish list for how you want people to see your company and its people. Defining your company values can be complex, as there are several factors to consider. Let’s look at 5 tips and strategies to help you define your company values.
1. Define Your Company’s Purpose
Core values are important as they’re the guiding force helping your company grow and stretching organized culture. There is no right or wrong way to define your company values. There are some guiding principles, but every company has its own story to tell when it comes to values.
Knowing your company’s purpose is a great place to start when establishing core values.
To get started, ask yourself:
- Do you want to change something specific within your industry?
- Are you looking to have more of a community impact?
- Why is it that your company exists to begin with?
- What’s important to you?
- What brought us all together and continues to hold us together?
- What parts of the company are we most proud of?
If your company taps into that purposeful potential, think about how that will motivate your team. Purpose tells them why you exist, and the core values will help define how you plan to get there.
2. Set Unique Values to Set You Apart
Of course, the goal of any company is to stand out from the competition. So how do you implement that strategy into defining your core values?
Everything about your company is unique:
- The way you work with clients
- Your staff
- Your culture
- Your values
- How you deliver your products or services
Avoid adopting values just because everyone else is using them in their companies. Tweak core values to align with your business goals and your people.
3. Make Your Values Memorable
To make your values memorable, you need to incorporate them into everything you do. Think back to when you first wanted to start your company. Remember what your purpose was?
Now think, was there something about that purpose that could translate into a memorable core value for your company today? If you can remember what you stand for, it will be easier for your team to remember it as well.
To help with memorable core values, use them in every related employee process from the hiring methods, performance reviews, promotions, rewards — all the way to their last day of work. Employees should be constantly reminded that your company’s core values form the foundation of every decision the company makes.
4. If Something Goes Wrong — Fix It
Say you launch a product or service that goes completely wrong and really bothers the people around you. Unfortunately, this does happen on occasion, and it is your responsibility to fix the problem.
Sometimes, it means pulling the product. Other times, it means reaching out to the community and asking for input on what can be changed.
Regardless of the method you choose, you need to act on your company behaviors in every situation, even those that require tough decision-making.
5. Establish the Right Number of Core Values
Limiting your core values between 3 to 6 tenets will help you zero in on what truly matters most to your company and consistently emphasize those ideas.
Your core values should be:
- Applicable to most scenarios
By making sure your core values are comprehensive and straightforward, they’ll be much easier to remember and more likely to be recognized by every employee and customer.
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