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Tips on Considering the core values of your startup

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by Startacus Admin

Diana Hallare our resident guest writer from Stateside startup The Daughterhood Coach continues her series of blog posts for Startacus with some valuable pointers on finding and implementing the core core valuevalues of your startup. 

Should you ponder about the core values of your startup/company before or after it is launched? This is like the chicken-and-the-egg dilemma.

Why are the implementation of core values important for a business?

  1. They help define the working environment and provide motivation (for founders, employers and employees).
  2. They help persuade partners or sponsors to collaborate as well as clients/customers to come and return.
  3. They help in the creation of a positive image of the business as well as provide meaning for the business plan.
Well-established companies which aim to deliver services/products using their core values include Zappos, DaVita, and Whole Foods Market.

In my situation, I decided about my startup’s core values beforehand and called them “essentials”: Character, Health, Expressions, Relationships, Independence, Spirituality, and Hope. As an acronym, these spell out CHERISH, which leads to my tag line, “Cherish the essentials.”

I consider these essentials applicable not only for daughterhood or just my startup, but also for any startup:

Character: With your personality, what impression would you like to leave upon others? Positive character includes friendliness, integrity, and accountability. Good character can impress, lead to success, and draw clients and fans, yet best of all, it can keep an individual balanced and happy.

Health: Health is wealth. Wellness can foster creativity and improve productivity. Considering the health of other people, including minority groups or those in poor countries, can be a driving force of inspiration for social entrepreneurs, for instance.

Expressions: How do you express your emotions or messages to colleagues/employees and clients? Do you prefer using technology or adding a personal touch, whether a letter or an in-person meeting? Do you send handwritten thank-you notes or how do you recognize the important people in your startup? Are you a creative type of person, and if so, how do you express your ideas – art, writing, drama, music? Would your startup be an expression of who you are, what you can do, and/or what you want to do?

Relationships: How are the interactions among co-founders, among colleagues, and between employer and employee? How are your interactions with clients and sponsors/partners? Human relationships are a foundation of the business; they are based on expressions and character.

Independence: “Interdependence” may be a better term – however, as Stephen Covey wrote in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, independence is a prerequisite for interdependence. Resourcefulness is needed for the startup and founder(s) to survive. Remember Robinson Crusoe? His adaptation to life alone in the wilderness led to a good friendship with Friday, but their collaboration helped both thrive. Regarding motivation, financial independence is a factor for many entrepreneurs to launch their small businesses.

Spirituality: Among the components of spirituality are balance, faith, meaning, and purpose. These apply to life as well as to business. What is the purpose of your venture, for instance? Are you balanced not only financially, but also with your emotions and time management to run the business efficiently? What would the business mean to you and your life (and to your community)? Do you believe you can do it and succeed?

Hopes: What is your vision for your startup? What do you hope you can do for and with your startup, for your clients and community? Hope is the oxygen that keeps the entrepreneurial flame burning.

It is not necessary to establish core values that correspond to an acronym. However, it is important to align them with your personal values, or virtues, in life. How do you decide which core values to use? Think of the true stories which have caused an impact on you. Think of what is important to you as an entrepreneur, as a customer, as an individual. Think of the core values as solutions or as the inspiration behind the solution.

Last week Diana wrote a piece on Business Pitches - 5 Lessons About Boosting Self-Confidence and without being at all biased - it would be fab if you could take the time to read this too! 

If you are still working on your core values this recent guest post from Jo Haigh on Tips on building value into your Enterprise is worth a read. Continuing the subtle plugging...

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Published on: 27th June 2013

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