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Regardless of what kind of business you have—whether you’re a small business owner, speaker, coach, or consultant—a great culture can make a big difference in your success. Why is culture so important? If you don’t create a culture for your business, you will find very quickly that your employees will do it for you, which can be a big problem. When people start working for you, they often test the water to see what they can get away with—not doing their best work, coming in late, calling in sick to spend a day at the beach. Your culture, if it’s written and documented, will allow you to manage what you expect of your employees. You will have an actual guide on what behavior and actions are accepted and what are not. The culture you develop can ensure that good behavior is rewarded and recognized, and bad behavior is not accepted. Culture helps people make decisions that benefit the business and the people around them. 

Regardless of whether your company has 10 employees or zero employees, it’s important that you build a strong culture. If you don’t have any employees, you can build a culture with your customers or your suppliers.

Caring is also a big part of our culture. We care about our clients, and we care about their results. We want them to win. We don’t leave anyone behind. We make sure that if someone’s not quite getting the things in place that they need to get in place, we give them extra support. It’s important that you know what you stand for. Think about the kind of culture you want to build into your business because then you’re going to start to achieve far better results throughout your business journey. Don’t think you need a hundred-person staff before you can build a culture for your business. Instead, start building your culture from the very beginning before you even have any employees.

Developing a culture is important regardless of your business’s size. Even if your business only consists of you, you should think about creating culture now, because eventually you’re going to grow, and you’ll want to have it in place.

A business culture focuses the actions and behavior of everyone on your team to your desired outcome. If everyone in your business was thinking about how they could create magical moments for your clients, what sort of impact do you think that would have on your repeat business? What sort of impact do you think that would have on your referrals? 

At my company, Big Business Events, our culture is all about what we can do for our clients. Our culture says that the more successful our clients are, the more successful we are. That means that my team is looking out for opportunities to help our clients, to help them develop, to give them more opportunities, and to really do everything within our power to try to cultivate great results for them. When people come to our live events or live training, they can see our company culture firsthand and can feel the fantastic atmosphere our culture brings out in our people and our clients. Our culture is also about helping each other. If you have been to one of our live events, you have seen that often you are working with other attendees, trying to assist each other, bringing people together in a way that everyone supports each other in a unifying way.

Mission Statement

The best way to start building your business culture is by first developing a mission statement. This document should outline exactly what you want to achieve for your business in the next 12 months.  A question I am sometimes asked is why you shouldn’t write a mission statement for two or three years, and the answer is because business moves fast. Things change, people change, and the direction of the business often changes. Write out your mission statement now, and plan to revise it every 12 months. It should simply say, this is where we are, this is where we are going, and these are the results we want to achieve. Your desired results may be based on your clients, specific sales numbers, or the growth of your business. Whatever it might be you will have a document that pulls everyone in the same direction so you can create a unity of purpose.

Define your Values

What are the core values that are vital to your business? Core values set boundaries in your business, and let people know what lines not to cross, and what actions are validated and promoted. Write down on your piece of paper five things you don’t want to see going on in your business. Once you have them, we’re going to build some core values around those issues. For example, let’s say you hate it when clients are not replied to within a certain period of time, or that you don’t like it when people leave for the day without cleaning up their desks. To turn those into core values, you can say, “We always return calls and respond to emails within 24 hours” and “We maintain a tidy workplace because it projects our professionalism.” Some other core values you might want to consider are caring, teamwork, respect, ambition, ownership, innovation, hard work, honesty, and integrity.

I had an issue in one of my businesses where a lot of people were calling in sick, so I created a core value around the issue, but instead of addressing only this problem, I made it more encompassing. The value I created was, “We never let our teammates down.” If people are constantly calling in sick, then someone else is going to have to cover their work, which means they are letting their team down.

Once you have your values in place, write them down and discuss them with your team. Everyone should have a copy of the values, and they should understand what they mean. You’ll need to remind people about them on a regular basis and make sure that you are following them as well. If your team doesn’t think you care about the values, they won’t either. It’s also important that you incorporate your values into everything you do. For example, if one of your values is “We respect everyone’s time,” then that value should mean that everyone shows up to work on time, that you don’t leave your colleagues waiting for a response from you, and that you start and end meetings at the designated times.

Your challenge is to write a mission statement for what you want to achieve in your business over the next 12 months. Then, write down five core values for your business.