Your business culture is your brand. It is what people see and experience. Creating and protecting your company’s culture is crucial. However, before you can protect it, you must first define it. As business owners, it is your responsibility to set the tone you want your employees, clients, and vendors to espouse. Here are three business challenges small business owners face when creating a business culture.
A company’s culture is its foundation and it is the job of the business owner to build the foundation. Common challenges business owners face and tend to focus most on are applying for capital, opening a second location, taking on a new client or larger client, or adding new products or services. One of the challenges infrequently considered is transitioning from owner to leader. When you think small, you stay small. As a result, you get stuck in the minutia of your business, constantly grinding away and not thinking strategically about your business.
Communicating Your Values
What do you stand for? What drives your purpose, intentions, and decision making? The answers should stem from your values. They should demonstrate how you self-manage and deal with others. It requires self-reflection and provides a window into who you are in relation to your business. The type of culture you develop for your business is based on your values. Your values help you determine the type of people you hire, strategic partners with whom you work, and vendors with whom you collaborate.
Trusting, Connecting, Collaborating
A shared set of values and beliefs leads to trust. Over time, you will realize that you are not only building a business, but building people, as well. In order for you to start building people, you must first establish trust from within, so you can trust others. As small business owners, we have to first make the scary leap to consider hiring someone. Then you have to allow them to do their job. How you decide to leverage their strengths and knowledge will shape your business. Choosing to empower your employees to make decisions, to be included in the decision-making process, and problem-solving, ultimately leads to a shared vision and ownership of the vision. As a result, your business will thrive.
Establish your values, model your values, and communicate your values. Think about the business culture you want to create. Once you have defined your business culture, you want to protect it to ensure the long-term survival of your business.