Corporate culture can be thought of as the “personality” of your small business. Establishing a strong and positive company culture early on can help your business succeed. There are several good reasons why company culture is essential for small businesses, from hiring to marketing.
Define your values
Your corporate culture is your values in action. That is, the things you consider important in 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 corporate culture that revolves around sustainability will include the purchase of organic or local products, may have environmentally friendly means of production, or may encourage its customers to recycle product containers once they have finished using the product. Your corporate culture should be representative of your values as a whole.
Best practices that reflect your mission statement
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When you created your business plan, you should have defined a mission statement for your business – the main reason why you do what you do. For example, your mission statement might be to create the best product using sustainable materials. Or you could have a service-oriented mission statement, such as finding fair and honest investment opportunities for clients.
Developing procedures for implementing your mission statement creates a corporate culture that reflects that mission. When you use sustainable products or eco-friendly methods to make the products you sell, you are 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 reflect your core values of honest investment opportunities. Your company’s 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 are part of a group. A strong company culture projects your values as a business owner and attracts potential employees who share your vision. Hiring people who have the same passion for customer service as you or who feel that your mission statement reflects their personal views means you have ambassadors for your philosophy.
Employees who embrace the company culture tend to perform better because they have an incentive above their salary. You will find that when you include your staff in the company culture, you help them build team bonds and improve the overall work environment. People who love their workplace generally work harder and provide better customer service.
Using corporate culture for branding
Your company’s brand is important for marketing. Having a distinct corporate culture can help you develop a “personality” for your business and highlight the characteristics that set your brand apart. Consider some big companies and their brand personalities. For example, Apple has developed a certain style around innovative products and clean design. Branding is how you present your business in your marketing campaigns and on social media.
Your company’s corporate culture should be part of your brand identity. Branding brings you closer to customers, especially the powerful generation of millennial shoppers. This demographic tends to buy from companies they have a relationship with or companies that reflect their values.
Having a connection to a local small business is important to many people today. Building your brand through your company values and culture can help attract new customers when they discover that your culture and mission statement align with things that are important to them.
Include your customers
Your employees are not the only ones to benefit from a strong corporate 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 because your business should aim to meet people’s needs in some way.
When you invite your customers to embrace your company’s culture and values, you help build relationships with them. Making your company culture visible through your website, blog posts and 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 environmentally conscious includes them in your culture.
When you focus on reputable investment opportunities and demonstrate that you “walk the talk,” your customers trust your business more and your business grows.
Having a strong company culture can help reduce employee turnover and increase the number of customers you have. Incorporating your company values into your day-to-day operations helps you stay focused on your goals and will create a dynamic and positive work environment.