Why it’s important to develop core values in your business

Your business’s core values can contribute to its overall success by shaping its competitive advantage, inspiring people to take positive action, and communicating what’s important to you and your business.

What exactly are core values?

Your business’s core values are the essence of its identity – they’re your principles and beliefs about how you should do business, treat your customers, and produce excellent goods or services.

For example, Twitter uses the slogan ‘Feel Free’ and its mission statement is “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.”

Fittingly, its mission statement is less than 140 characters (the maximum for Twitter posts). This helps the statement symbolize Twitter’s identity – both in form and content.

The advantages of core values

By establishing strong core values your business will develop both internal and external advantages, such as:

  • Shaping your business culture. You’ll be supporting your business’s vision and building a culture that aligns with it.
  • Decision-making help. For example, if one of your core values is to offer after-sales support for your products with no questions asked, your customers will trust that even if something goes wrong with their purchase, your business will look after them.
  • Educating your clients and potential customers. Core values can help let them know what your company stands for.
  • Gaining great employees. Job seekers are researching who they want to work for so if your business has the right core values, they can attract top talent.

When it comes to making major decisions as to which direction your business might head in, you’ll likely come back to your core values in order to reach a resolution.

Communicate what’s important to your customers

Your values will help clarify the identity of your business, for your customers. Having a set of core values that attract regular customers who connect with your business’s stance can even be a competitive advantage. These values tell them what your business is all about.

For example, Apple clearly shows that their slick designs are one of their core values. They price their products above average partly due to this core value, and their customers expect all of their products to be well designed.

What differentiates your business from your competitors?

Shape your organization’s culture with core values

Core values are what form your business’s culture, reflect its ideals and support its vision. They’re the door to your business’s identity – its beliefs and principles.

Introducing strong core values to your business (and the staff that run it) will help contribute to its overall success.

Common core values in business

If you’re wondering what core values look like, a few common ones that appear in businesses throughout the world are:

  • Community. This is where your business contributes to society, showing social responsibility.
  • Safety. Going beyond the legal requirements to keep your staff and customers safe in your workplace.
  • Innovation. Having a reputation for pursuing new creative ideas with huge potential to change people’s lives.
  • Balance. Being proactive to build a healthy work-life balance for your employees.
  • Integrity. Showing honesty in all situations without compromising the truth.

Differentiate your business to entice the right workers

One way to be different from everyone else in your industry is through your core values. Be clear about what your core values are so you can use them as primary recruiting and retention tools.

You can always train new staff in certain skills, but aligning with your core values should come naturally. You can inspire your employees to take positive action to try and live up to the core values that you’ve established in your business.

For example, if one of the core values in your restaurant is ‘service with a smile’, you can expect your staff members to always be friendly and courteous to your customers.

Influence on overall conduct

If your core values are well established and respected within your workplace, this will show in the way your employees act towards:

  • Your customers. You’d expect your staff to show respect and patience for your customers, and a determination to help them get what they need.
  • Other staff members. Mutual respect and an enjoyable working environment are examples of values your staff may have in your business.
  • Yourself. If you explain your business’s core values clearly, follow them yourself, and help your staff to also demonstrate those values, you would expect to see your employees acting towards you in a similar way.

Finding the right core values

Core values aren’t ‘one size fits all’ or your industry’s best practices, so how do you figure out what the best core values are for your business?

Rather than choosing them out of thin air, sit down with your trusted staff and advisers and determine which values you would be happy to stick to over the long-term (even after retiring).

Next steps

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