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Defining Your Business: Part Two

Core Values

Now that you have a working mission statement in place, it is time to evaluate the core values that drive your company’s mission. 

What Are Core Values?

Core values are a set of governing principles that a company strives to follow in its everyday practices.  They often act as an internal conscience to help keep businesses on the straight and narrow. 
Once put into place, core values can help create and perpetuate a company’s positive identity.  A respected, well-run organization is one that knows what it believes in and why.  It is crucial to establish a strong set of core values in the early stages of your business, as they can provide a solid foundation for your company as it grows and changes over time.   

Business core values are not so different from a set of one’s personal values or morals, as both aim for sensible, aboveboard choices.  Therefore, what is important to you will inevitably be important to your company.    

Get the Wheels in Motion

Here are a few prompts to help you establish your core values:
  • List between five and ten of your most meaningful personal values (i.e. treat others the way you would like to be treated, be honest at all times, etc.)
  • Why are these values significant?
  • Which of these values can be applied to your business?
  • How will you integrate your values into your business model and execute them on a daily basis?
Examples

Passion
Business Core Value:  Build the best systems and the best employees in the industry.  These resources will only reach their full potential when you are passionate about your work.  Passion will inspire employees to achieve things that would have appeared previously unattainable. 

Integrity
Business Core Value:  Always provide honest, reliable service to customers.  Treat employees with the utmost respect, and give them the best environment possible to learn and grow. 

Innovation
Business Core Value:  All problems have solutions.  Work to improve the problem-solving skills of your employees.  All new challenges will be met with innovative solutions to meet customers’ needs.     
 
Create Your Own

The above list is by no means comprehensive, but hopefully it gives you a good idea of how to get started.  Begin drafting your core values once you have a sound idea of the principles that are most pertinent to your own beliefs and your unique business model.  Matters such as customer satisfaction, safety, the quality of your products and/or services, accessibility, and environmental responsibility are often top priority for businesses. 

Remember: keep your core values simple and succinct.  Share them with your employees, repeat them often, and, most importantly, live by them.  
 
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