You find your niche, you open your laptop, you start work. For many small businesses, that’s how the journey begins. But in the midst of setting up your website, updating your LinkedIn and registering your social media accounts, it’s worth grabbing a pen and the back of an envelope and writing down not just what your business will offer, but what kind of place it will be.
It’s not always the first thing that comes to mind post-business plan, but establishing company values is just as important for a one-man band as it is for a workforce of thousands. These will stay with you throughout your journey and be a firm guide for the business as you grow and develop.
As someone who advises others on brands and company presence day-to-day, I felt it was also important to set our values from day one. As with most small businesses we don’t get as much time as we’d like to focus on our own brand, but I’ve found that once we’ve established our values, it’s easier to keep on track as we go along. Plus, we ensure we check back on them every 90 days. Everyone’s guiding principles will be different, but here are the values I think it’s important for a business to consider from an early stage:
As a small business owner, this could be the time in your working life at which you’re the most driven. Passion isn’t about living and breathing your sector but it is about coming to work and tackling the task at hand with enthusiasm plus helping, motivating and inspiring each other, daily.
This works both ways. To build a good reputation you need to be totally honest and true to yourself and to those you work for. Doing the right thing within our team and for our clients ensures we build strong long-term relationships. For example, we only take on a project that we know we can deliver and we go the extra mile to exceed expectations and earn our clients’ trust.
This isn’t just an area that works for traditionally ‘creative’ companies - this should run through any small business. It’s about being a good problem solver, being willing to experiment and being open to new ideas that will create results that are highly-engaging and cut through in a unique way.
Consistently delivering high-quality work in everything you do sets you apart from competitors. This might mean you may not always be the cheapest, but try to be the best. It’s always better to do one thing well than lots of things badly.
You will probably be experienced, but be prepared to be open minded and always ready to learn and research to build and share your expertise. We promote and invest in regular training and learning to keep us at the forefront or our industry and relevant in today’s world.
Take ownership of your career and actions to be a true partner to clients. Listen to your customer’s needs and challenges and make them your own to solve. We communicate regularly and clearly to ensure that our customers know what’s happening now and in the future. We stay in contact and offer our support and expertise in the good times and the bad.
The process shouldn’t take long, but done thoroughly, your values should guide through from start-up to developing company. Growing businesses are made up of lots of individuals, and having a set of shared values and principles helps focus and unite. And when they embody all of their values, businesses flourish.