As consumers, we endorse the companies that we purchase from. Whether conscious or unconscious we tend to buy from companies whose values align with ours. Maybe it’s cost savings, an adventurous spirit or a sustainable lifestyle. Whatever it may be, we aren’t just buying a product or service, we’re investing a part of ourselves into a brand.

In order to grow a strong customer base, get sales, and secure a place in the market, a company needs to define its core values early on.

Company values, (also known as core or corporate values), are the guiding principles upon which your business and its behavior are based. Your business will use these fundamental beliefs to direct its internal affairs and manage its relationships with its customers.

Your values are critical because they tell your employees and your customers what’s important to your company. When difficult and unclear situations arise, they will be the crutches that you lean on to help guide your decisions. Products, people, and marketing campaigns come and go, but a company’s values are its heart and soul. 

There are six key principles that every startup should endeavor to integrate into its values in some fashion:

  1. Passion/Happiness: A workplace that is passionate and happy has more productive employees, fewer workplace issues, and a higher quality of work.
  2. Education: Your culture should value continuous education for your company and the individuals that comprise it. This will help you build and retain talent and deliver better results.
  3. Innovation/Creativity: Innovation is the single most valuable tool for companies. Take a look at Apple, Google, or newcomer Impossible Foods. These companies competitive advantage is their innovative culture that allows them to achieve the impossible.Two men talking about Core Values Startups Should Have

     

  4. Transparency: A large focus is increasingly being put on transparency both internally and externally. This involves being genuine and authentic. Consumers can see through artificially fabricated marketing, partnerships, and leadership. Embrace who you are and openly share it with your customers. Chipotle has distinguished itself among its fast-casual counterparts by providing comprehensive information about the origins of its ingredients. This has led to increased trust and brand loyalty among consumers.
  5. Superior Customer Service: Your customers’ satisfaction will make or break your business, so a customer-first focus should be at the center of everything you do. Hire employees that are passionate about customer service as they will be the face of your brand.
  6. Give Back: People want to buy from and work for socially responsible brands. Don’t underestimate the value in doing the right thing and helping others.

Core Values From Successful Companies

1. Coca Cola‘s Values:

  • Leadership: The courage to shape a better future.
  • Collaboration: Leverage collective genius.
  • Integrity: Be real.
  • Accountability: If it is to be, it’s up to me.
  • Passion: Committed in heart and mind.
  • Diversity: As inclusive as our brands.
  • Quality: What we do, we do well.

2. Google’s Values:

  • Focus on the user and all else will follow.
  • It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
  • Fast is better than slow.
  • Democracy on the web works.
  • You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
  • You can make money without doing evil.
  • There’s always more information out there.
  • The need for information crosses all borders.
  • You can be serious without a suit.
  • Great just isn’t good enough.

It’s important to note that although every company should value everything in the examples above, your company’s values should be those that best resonate with your brand, mission, and vision.

Creating your values is a collaborative process and it doesn’t have to happen overnight. Ultimately, your values will serve to create a long-lasting, successful, and motivating workplace.

Ready to begin? Start by asking yourself a few questions, such as:

  • Who am I trying to help? How am I going to do it?
  • How will people’s lives be different because of my company’s product or service?
  • What needs to happen for my product or service to reach people?

The answers to these questions will help define and guide your company’s values, and its future.

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