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 philosophy.
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.