It is the goal of every business owner to make a profit and expand the business but defining how you plan to do that is crucial for you and employees, suppliers, and customers. Creating a purpose statement for your business clarifies to all involved that you want to serve others, not exploit them or squeeze every penny out of them. Your goal is to gain their loyalty and respect. In addition to this benefit, when your business aligns with your values, principles, and purpose, you will feel a sense of pride in the products and services that you offer to your customers.
I also recommend that you sit down and think about your values before buying a business or starting one. Your values are what you live by or strive to follow in your daily life. Some excellent examples are honesty and perseverance. Principles are the rules and beliefs that govern your actions, and they are based on your values. Bringing your business in line with your principles and values is essential, and it will fail if you fail to serve your customers’ needs. At the end of your run, be proud of your accomplishments and the relationships you have built by operating your business based on the highest values and principles you can identify. The choices you make about your life and your association are entirely up to you, but will impact those around you in many different ways, including your business. Your values must be present in everything you do.
So, what does a value-driven company look like? Troy, my son-in-law, is a partner in a company that I believe is an excellent example of one. They have established three cornerstones posted on their website and in their marketing materials: Consistent Quality, Superior Service, and Integrity. As part of maintaining its exceptional reputation, the company has developed 5 Core Values, which are the foundation for its daily conduct and performance: “Our Core Values clarify who we are and what we stand for. They guide our business relationships and practices, decision-making, training, coaching, and counseling. They represent what drives our organization and apply to our interaction with fellow employees, customers, suppliers, and the general public. Our entire team works hard with the direction of our management framework to learn and grow every day.”
Those Core Values are:
- We build TRUST—Trust combines our team’s ability to demonstrate integrity and reliability in everything we do.
- We work hard to be the BEST—Our team’s commitment and dedication come from highly motivated individuals who take their jobs seriously.
- We find SOLUTIONS—Our team is empowered to see opportunity in every challenge—we find a way to get YES!
- We RESPECT each other—We listen and offer encouragement to help achieve common goals.
- And most importantly—We have FUN!
These ideals have served as a touchstone for the business, allowing them to meet and exceed the expectations of their clients, their suppliers, and their employees.
Values and purpose statements are easy to create but much harder to live by, especially when the economy is tanking, your market is shrinking, and the competition threatens to crush you. There will inevitably be times when you are tempted to stray from your values or mission. Still, by taking the time at the outset to decide what matters most to you, the correct path should be clear to you. In creating your guiding values and purpose statements, it is also essential to take the long view. Typically, entrepreneurs start businesses that they intend to run for many years before selling or handing them over to family members or trusted partners.
Consider these questions as you start any business:
- What do I want to achieve as my end goal? Open or closed, this will always be there for you to change as opportunities and circumstances change. Alternatively, you might ask: Is this a business I want to grow and pass on to my children and grandchildren? Would this be a business I would like to grow and then sell after some time? When would I like to sell it? At the end of the day, how do I want my customers and employees to feel about this company?
- How do I want this business to impact the community over the long term? How do I create that?
- How do I want my spouse and our children to feel about this business over time? Will they see it as a burden, or will it be a source of support and joy for them? How do I need to structure the business and its values to reflect that?
You can create a business that meets your ideals and prevents burnout by knowing your values and the impact you wish to make through them. Take a moment today to think about what you want to see in your business so that you can create a space where you feel satisfied and fulfilled. If you make your values and principles the cornerstone of your business, I promise you will enjoy going to work.
Written by Bob Schlegel.
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