With all the benefits of being a small business owner (and there are many!), one of the best is the power – and responsibility – to set the tone for your company’s future. If strong sales, a solid reputation and profitability are what drive your business, your company culture is the GPS.
Company culture is not simply a way of doing business, but a reflection of you, your values and your principles. It is not simply the products you sell or the hours you keep, but the unique social and psychological environment that sets your company apart. And while no two company cultures look exactly alike, it’s no coincidence that those which create happy employees, loyal customers and positive word of mouth tend to come out ahead (and stick around longer). So whether you’re just starting out or in need of an organizational refresh, here are some tips to create (or maintain) a company culture that people will love.
It Starts With You: In order for your employees to understand the type of company culture you expect in the workplace, you have to lead by example. Set a plan of action and deliberately follow the path each and every day. Whether it’s addressing an unhappy customer, chatting with employees, scheduling vacation time or training a new addition, act as if all eyes are on you. Company culture starts at the top.
Hire The Best: Hiring employees is one of your biggest decisions not only when it comes to ROI, but when it comes to company culture as well. Whether it’s a permanent manager or seasonal sales staff, it’s important to choose employees whose values and principles match your own. While it may seem tempting to hire based on credentials and experience, hold out for people who fit within the atmosphere you’ve created.
Have Some Fun: Camaraderie in the workplace is a beautiful thing. If you’re looking for simple way to build strong relationships in the workplace, organize occasions to let loose, get to know one another and have some fun. Whether you go bowling as a group or organize a staff holiday party, your employees will love having the chance to bond with you and their co-workers outside of working hours. When your customers enter the store and see a happy group of employees, the positive vibes will assure them they came to the right place.
Celebrate The Good Times: We spend a huge portion of our lives at work, so it only makes sense to treat the workplace as a second home and view co-workers as a second family. Whether you have two employees or 20, a great way to build your company culture is to take the time and celebrate special occasions. Whether it’s personal milestones like birthdays and new babies or professional milestones like store anniversaries or successful sales seasons, be sure to make the most of it.
Give Back: Whether you live in a small town or a large city, there are always ways you can give back to the local community. Make it a priority within your small business to either donate money, volunteer for important causes, or both. No matter the size of the donation or the amount of volunteer time, people always feel good about helping out and being involved with a business that’s committed to giving back. Plus, it sets a great example for the rest of the business community.