Core Values: Why Your Business Needs Them

Scaling / May 18, 2016 / Kristie Holden

Core values are the cornerstone of a business’s company culture. Even if you’re not a large corporation, defining your core values is important to the overall success of your business.

core values

Core values affect a number of important aspects of your business…

Key decision making

Core values are defined as the guiding principles for a business. They’re the moral compass within a company that determine the actions and decisions made. One of Apple’s core values, shared by Tim Cook, is they “believe in the simple, not the complex.” This philosophy is apparent in every design decision made in their products. When creating core values for your business, ask yourself what the most important beliefs are to your company.

Distinction between you and your competitors

Core values separate you from your competitors. The most important things to your business may not be the same as other businesses you’re competing with. Where your competitor may value speed and urgency, you may value quality and control. Your core values are what set you apart from every other photographer, consultant, lawyer, or real estate agent out there. What do you value most? What does “better” mean to your business when comparing yourself to your competitors?

Overall brand identity and voice

Your core values play a key role in building the brand and voice for your business.
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The philosophies you value affect how people will view your company and the type of people that align themselves to your business. When you have clearly defined core values that are emanated throughout your whole company, they will attract customers that follow the same values. When creating your core values, think about how you want your business to be seen and how you want to stand out. What kind of people do you want to appeal to that share the same beliefs as you?

Who you hire

Core values determine the type of people you bring into your team. These may not be obvious on their resume, but you can ask specific questions to find out if they represent the values of your company. For example, when interviewing for a position here at Marketcircle, we ask candidates to describe situations where they’ve represented each of our core values.

How to create your core values

Creating your core values is not something to be done overnight. Your values shape the culture and future of your company, so make sure you take the time to really think about what is important to your business and what resonates with you and your team. Avoid writing out a list of generic terms like “quality” and “commitment”. Dig deeper into what those words mean to you and make them specific to your business. Write a short phrase or a few sentences about how your company embodies each of these values.

Core values should be defined and created by the owner(s) and a select few key decision makers in the company. Ask yourself and the key decision makers what it is that your company values above all else. What is it that makes your business different? What do you value more over your competitors? What is the WHY for your business?

What to do with your core values

Write your core values down and put them somewhere up in your office so you and your team can reflect on them often. When making important decisions that affect your brand, team, and customers, review your core values and ask yourself if the decision you’re making will align your company closer to these values.

Not sure where to start? Check out these 7 core values statements that inspire.

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