Why Culture is crucial
“Company culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur. Develop a strong company culture first and foremost” - David Cummings, Co-founder of Pardot, which sold for $95,000,000 in 2012 having only traded 5 years. This is very true, a company’s culture should be seen and felt by its team and customers, in essence its DNA.
Whether you’re thinking of starting up, or whether you’re an established business, your culture forms part of the key foundations of your business. It tells your team and customers why you do what you do and why you exist over just profit alone.
So, many entrepreneurs only think about the numbers. However, I am going to take you back a step and focus on what your business looks and feels like, your team values, your customer proposition and more. This helps to plan your business’s direction, define who you are, what you and your business stands for and sets the firm foundations of your business.
My name is Emma Cole, and I am a Business Coach. I feel passionately about helping and supporting business owners to find more business success, greater enjoyment, and happiness. Not just for them but also for their team, their customers, and others that they influence.
My background is retail, so when I started my own retail business 10 years ago, I thought that I was well qualified, and that this business owner malarkey was going to be a piece of cake. Well, I had lots of experience of being a successful employee and business driver but doing all of that and more as a business owner…that I had to learn.
One of my greatest learns was deciding and really nailing what my business culture was and making sure everyone within my business and customers alike, knew who I was, what I did and how they should feel when they dealt with me. This was my starting point for getting my business to work for me and not the other way around.
So, take a moment to reflect. Do you have a purpose? What is a purpose and why would you need one? Purpose or vision is about clearly stating what it is you do and why and who are you doing it for. Are you trying to get more people cycling and enjoying outdoor space, make cities greener, keep people moving, build a more sustainable world, or something else? It’s about really nailing what it is your business does and how you operate.
As a rough rule, purpose or vision statements are normally anywhere between 1 and 3 sentences and generally not more than 100 words. When you are creating your purpose avoid the common trap of trying to summarise everything you do as a business in a generic way. For instance, everyone wants to deliver great customer service, that’s just a given and not enough in terms of the essence of what you do and how. It needs to have some personality and feeling, not full of jargon or over used buzz words. Some great examples are Coca Cola’s “Refresh the world. Make a difference” and e-Bay’s “Our vision for commerce is one that is enabled by people, powered by technology, and open to everyone”.
Once you have your purpose, you can get your company culture into place. This follows the same vein of digging into the feel and experience of being part of your team. This really helps in terms of the team knowing and understanding what their part is within your business, how they should treat one another and then how customers will be treated when they visit you store and buy from you, use your services, or when they have a complaint. These are the things that inspire your team to come to work for you, makes it easier to hire new team members that fit within your culture and that there’s a higher purpose other than money alone.
A company culture statement can be used to highlight to customers what it will feel and look like when they deal with you. It may take the form of, “when you buy from us, we will do…” or “If you’re not happy with your item, we will make it easy for you to return it by…” Publishing this on your website, social media platforms and within the store will help customers really understand you and your business and let them understand what they can expect.
People love to buy from people that share the same values. By sharing yours, customers and clients get to buy into you, which in turn, helps drive loyalty from them and a sense of community and belonging.
So, here are my top tips on business purpose and culture:
- Find your purpose and why it’s important beyond taking money alone.
- Get a sense of what your team culture is. What does it feel like to work here? Ask your team why they work for you, it might surprise you.
- If you don’t have culture that’s clear think about what it could be, how you would get your team to live and breathe it.
- Tell your customers what your business culture is, how you will deal with them, how it will feel and why you might go that extra mile.
You can still have a successful, profitable business without having a business purpose or culture however, I believe you will increase your success level, become even more profitable and hopefully enjoy your business more! This is what it did for me.
I feel so passionate about helping and supporting business owners to find more business success, greater enjoyment, and happiness, not just for them, but for their team and for their customers. For more information you can contact me through email or call me on 07769651020.