Company culture can be
considered the "personality" of your small business. Establishing a
strong, positive company culture early on can help your business succeed. There
are several good reasons why company culture is critical for small businesses,
from hiring to marketing.
Defining Your Values
Your company culture is your values in action. That is, the things you believe are important about running your business should be reflected in the actual running of your business. This can include where you source your products and raw materials, how you treat your customers, and your employment practices.
For example, a company
culture that revolves around sustainability will include purchasing organic or
local products, may have eco-friendly means of production, or might encourage
its customers to recycle product containers when finished using the product.
Your company culture should be representative of your values as a whole.
Best Practices That Reflect Your Mission Statement
When you created your
business plan, you should have defined a mission statement for your company ―
the core reason you do what you do. For example, your mission statement could
be to create the best product using sustainable materials. Or you could have a
service-based mission statement, such as finding fair and honest investment
opportunities for clients.
Developing procedures for
implementing your mission statement creates a company culture that reflects that
mission. When you're using sustainable products or eco-friendly ways to make
the goods you sell, you're actively representing your mission statement and
creating a culture that revolves around it. When you encourage your employees
to treat customers fairly and find authentic ways for them to invest their
money, you're reflecting your core values of honest investment opportunities.
Your company best practices and customer service guidelines should support your
mission statement and help create a company culture that embodies it.
Give Your Employees a Sense of Belonging
People work better when
they feel like they belong or that they're part of a group. A robust company
culture projects the values of you, the business owner, and attracts potential
employees who share your vision. Hiring people who have the same passion for
customer service as you do or who feel that your mission statement is
reflective of their personal views means that you have ambassadors for your
Employees who embrace the company culture tend to perform better, as they have an incentive above their paycheck. You'll find that when you include your staff in the company culture, you help them form teammate bonds and improve the overall work environment. People who enjoy where they work generally work harder and provide better customer service.
Using Company Culture for Branding
Your business brand is
important for marketing. Having a distinct company culture can help you develop
a "personality" for your business and highlight the characteristics
that set your brand apart. Consider some large corporations out there and their
brand personas. For example, Apple developed a certain style revolving around
innovative products and a sleek design. Branding is how you portray your
company in your marketing campaigns and on social media.
The company culture in
your business should be part of your brand identity. Branding makes you more
relatable to customers, especially the powerful Millennial purchasing
generation. This demographic tends to buy from companies they have a
relationship with or companies that reflect their values. Having a connection
with a smaller, local business is important for many people today. Building
your brand through your values and company culture can help attract new
customers as they discover that your culture and mission statement align with
things that are important to them.
Include Your Customers
Your employees aren't the
only ones who benefit from strong company culture. When you create an
environment that consistently reflects your values and mission statement, you
invite your customers to be a part of it. This is important since your business
should have the goal of meeting people's needs in a certain way.
When you invite your
customers to buy into your company culture and values, you help build
relationships with them. Making your company culture visible through your
website and blog posts and on social media allows you to include your customers
in your mission. If you're all about sustainability, then having tips for your
customers on how to be more eco-friendly includes them in your culture. When
you focus on trustworthy investment opportunities and demonstrate that you're
"walking the talk," your customers trust your company more, and your
business will grow.
Having a strong company culture can help reduce employee turnover and increase the number of customers you have. Putting your business values into your daily operations helps you stay focused on your goals and will create a vibrant, positive workplace environment.