The What & Why of Core Business Values

Strong core values are the glue that holds together a business and allows it to thrive in day-to-day circumstances and stay true to its unique mission. They lie at the heart of its business model and affect every area of its operation. It’s no exaggeration to say that they can be the key to whether the business succeeds or fails.

Every business needs to identify its core business values and make sure they’re reflected in every aspect of its operation. Doing this offers a wide range of benefits that includes better branding, improved customer service, and a business that’s run more effectively.

What Are Core Values?

A business’s core values are at the center of everything it does. These core values reflect the company’s purpose, vision, and culture. They are constants that underlie every decision a business makes.

This last point is especially important. No matter what trends in the market come and go or economic changes occur, these core values don’t change. For example, if having strict quality standards is a core value to a business, it won’t cut corners during an economic downturn.

Core values are not dependent on industry, type of company, products a company sells, or the market. They are created by the founders and leaders of a company, and based on their vision of the company.

It’s easier to understand core values if you compare them to a family’s values. Some families are very practical, watching carefully how they spend their money and guarding their future savings. Other families value a sense of adventure over security and stability. Company values work in exactly the same way, but on a larger scale.

Examples of core values include:

  • Trust or accountability – A company guarantees that it will provide for customers and employees when they need it.
  • Commitment to quality – A business puts its high quality standards for its products or services above all else.
  • Innovation – Some companies are known for their ability to keep coming up with new and revolutionary products.
  • Building community – A business may revolve around the idea of creating a positive, supportive community for its customers and employees.

These are just a few examples of the countless possibilities and combinations of core values.

Why Core Values?

When core values are clearly defined, this makes decision-making much easier. Decisions can be made quickly and with less deliberation.

Clear values attract the right kind of employees, customers, and business partners. Your values energize and motivate you and the people you work with, rallying people around them and building a sense of pride in your business. They create a corporate culture that each member of the organization embodies. When employees understand and believe in their company’s core values, they can consistently act in accordance with them.

When decisions are made that go against a business’s core values, great harm can come to that business’s image. If you know your core values, you can measure possible actions against them and rule out those that are contradictory.

Core values are important in branding and communicating with the public. When they’re well defined, representatives of a company can communicate with the public with confidence because there is no wavering.

The 3 Keys to Maintaining Core Values

There are three keys to maintaining core values:

  • Unity – Core values are well-defined and everyone in the company is on the same page.
  • Belief – Everyone in the company truly believes in these values.
  • Adherence – Core values are not merely lip service, but are actually put to use. The company always acts in accordance with these values in all of their actions.

Most companies spend a great deal of time and effort focusing on technical aspects of their marketing, business operations, and product development, all the while neglecting to define their core values. But actually, core values are the important foundation that drives all other aspects of a business. Neglecting core values costs these businesses dearly down the road.

March 29, 2015

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