Today’s businesses must be clear about who they are, what they believe in, and how their business model proves it. This starts with defining core values.
For long-term growth and sustainability, your business needs to have a clearly defined vision that’s shared across the company. And it should be accessible and consistent to the outside world. This is only possible when teams are aligned on the business’s core values and integrate them into every aspect of operations.
Your business model should also prove that your core values drive actions and decision-making. Learn what core values look like, how to discover and define them, and how to put them into action.
What are core values?
Your company’s core values should be derived from the reasons you started the business in the first place. What drives the passion and purpose behind your products or services?
Core values define the way your employees approach their work, the way teams interact, and overall company culture. Core values back up your company’s vision and mission, showing individuals within the organization as well as the outside world, what matters most to the business. For example, the quality of products and services is usually related to core values, so that if something isn’t reaching the set standard, it shouldn’t be offered or should be reworked.
Company values should include the philosophies and principles that—at their essence—govern every decision. And they should align with all messages that are sent out to the public, whether on your website, on social media platforms, or in advertising campaigns. Perhaps more important is the ability of a business to interact with its customers in ways that only reflect its core values.
Steps to defining your business’s core values
So, where do you start? It’s a process to discover your core values, and they shouldn’t just be arbitrarily set in one brainstorming session. Instead of coming up with core values and then trying to fit the company into them, it’s better to do it the other way around. This ensures that your values are authentic and are centered around why the company exists.
To begin this process, ask yourself why you started the company. What was most important to you about your products and services? What’s your story? What need were you aiming to fill in the market? What do customers get from you that they can’t get elsewhere? These questions will help you nail down the fundamental purpose, which leads to well-defined values.
Then, start asking team members who have been around the longest, or show the strongest commitment to the company. What do they feel are the core values of the business? What drives them to support the mission of the business? What are they passionate about at work?
Common company values are often related to the company’s integrity and responsibility, its specific services, relations with the community, commitment and dedication, diversity, and similar considerations.
These questions and business soul-searching tactics will help you create a solid identity for the organization—one that can be clearly defined and followed in decision-making, customer interactions, marketing, and company culture.
How to put them into action
It’s important to ensure that core values drive action and decision-making. Remember that these values are both internal and external and, unlike business strategy, are fixed and typically don’t change over time. This helps ensure that all aspects of the business are aligned and working toward the same goals.
Core values should be apparent in hiring and retention strategies, benefits offerings, client communication, advertising, and brand awareness. On your business’s website, clearly define what your core values are. This is not something you want to be mysterious about. Put it all out there, and come back to these values throughout your content and communications.
Incorporate them into the onboarding of new team members, interviews, emails, meetings, development, training, employee and customer feedback, and more. With new projects, discuss the company’s values—how does this project align with what you’re all about?
Defining core values and incorporating them into your every business practice keeps teams aligned and the brand message consistent. When you work with Provident CPA & Business Advisors, our professionals use the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) model to help you define and clarify your core values, as well as a range of other elements to help you grow.
Contact us to learn more about our growth and profit improvement services.