A Blog For
For Small Business Owners and Leaders
When I say “company values”, what comes to mind? For most of us it’s those companies with a clear social mission – and how they outwardly demonstrate those values (and get stories written about them). Think Tom’s donating shoes to underprivileged communities worldwide. Think Honest Company that avoids (or tries to avoid) certain chemicals in its formulations. And those are great examples.
Having a clear set of principles your company will attract more talent and more customers that want to be aligned with those same principles. I believe there is true value in knowing your true values. With that in mind, I wanted to share some ideas about how to uncover (or rediscover) your organization’s core values and put them into practice.
So, your business is looking down the barrel of a business slowdown. It’s been an issue Right turn arrow sign you’ve been thinking about for awhile. Maybe one of those back-of-your-mind things that is breaking out into the open. Something could be wrong here. You’ve asked yourself if it’s a temporary, short-term “bump in the road” or something bigger. And if it’s bigger, what do you do about it? Like any business decision, it’s not an easy call. As always, you have to decide based on less-than-perfect information. Well, I have some thoughts about how to approach this difficult situation and how to manage through it.
It goes without saying that your employees are critical to the success of your business. But Happy team (fingers)in my opinion, too often we treat them like they play for some other team. We keep them at arms-length. We don’t involve them in decisions. We neglect to share the firm’s vision and long-term goals. We don’t spend nearly enough time educating them about what makes the organization unique and what drives its success. And then we expect commitment, trust, and great service for our customers. Good luck.
If you want a committed, inspired, and motivated staff you have to do the things that will build that level of trust and teamwork. If you want a cohesive group of employees, then you have to proactively build it.
So, how can you make that happen? Here are a few ideas:
The most fuel-efficient car. The hotel with the best customer service. The clothing store Prada billboard with the unique items you can’t find anywhere else. The grocer with the healthiest choices at the best prices. We’ve seen them all. The “brand promise” – the expectation we get when we hear about a brand. Sometimes it’s not much more than a clever tagline or ad dreamed up in the minds of marketing whizzes. Sometimes it actually has meaning and lives up to our expectations. Which do you want your company to be? I have a few thoughts on how to make sure you deliver on the promise your brand makes.
So you’ve chosen a market to serve. Cool. Now, how well can you describe the value that your company brings (or will bring) to that market? How well do you actually know the market? Can you clearly describe the market’s participants? Can you describe their needs and wants? Do you know how your company produces value for them? These are questions every business should be able to answer to be successful.
Once you’ve settled on the market and its parameters, what are some practical ways to approach delivering a unique solution to the marketplace? I have a few ideas to share.
Part of being a leader is being responsible for setting the organization’s direction. Keeping the conversation focused on the horizon; looking forward and planning the future. And, yes, that can be a real challenge. But it’s one you must take on. You have to accept responsibility for the organization’s direction. You can’t wait for someone else to set the strategic direction and tell you what to do. That’s a manager. In this blog post I discuss how you can take the lead and set the course.