Do you know your company’s core values like the back of your hand? Or whenever you sit down to work on core values are you tempted to put it aside in favor of a more tangible project like Profit & Loss Statements or KPIs?
The good news about core values (whether you have them formally written out or not) is that you are likely already running your business using guiding principles. But knowing them and sharing them with your team, clients, and community is different things.
Core Values are the foundation of your business. They are the principles that shape your decision-making, determine who you bring onto your team, and define your brand so you stand out from the crowd.
And no – I am not talking about the generic principles like “Trust” and “Integrity” because although those are incredibly important values, just saying your brand values “Trust” doesn’t actually GUIDE you in any way.
Having a set of core values that truly define who you are as a brand is crucial to be able to use them to attract the right employees, franchisees, supplier partners, and especially the right customers/clients.
The AC Inc Core Values
- Action = growth
- We get more done when we’re having fun
- Mindset is everything
- Give a shit
- Everything is figureoutable
- Go be awesome
Having specific, authentic principles that guide your business means having them be more than “Honesty” because something vague will never be as relatable or memorable as something specific.
As an example, one of our core values is action = growth and what that means for our company is that we know that when we take action, we will either succeed or we will learn something.
Both succeeding and learning lead to growth as a team and company so we always encourage our team (and our clients) to take action.
How to Determine Your Core Values
If you’re wondering how exactly to get started – here is a handy process we have used for our team and with our clients…
- Do a brainstorming session with your team. Yes, even if you only have one other team member. This helps you get more than one set of eyes on the process and having the team involved will help promote buy-in to living out these guiding principles.
- As you brainstorm, don’t hold back and don’t try to be fancy – we’ll worry about polishing the wording at a later date. For now, the purpose of this is to look for truths about your brand and common themes that occur.
- A really great question to pose is “What are our company culture deal breakers?” Because it dives into what truly matters to your brand and team.
- Try to get it down to 3-6 ideas and write down what they mean and why you chose them.
- Sit with them for a moment (I recommend a few days) and then get another set of eyes on them to massage and tweak the wording to ensure they sound impactful and true.
Live and Breathe Your Values
Now you know why your core values are important and how to determine them, the next step is how to LIVE and breathe them every day in your business!
There are countless ways to do this but I’ll share a brief list to get you started…
- Put them in your job descriptions
- Mention them and use them as questions in your interview processes
- Add them into conversations in performance reviews
- Do a spotlight on an employee who practices your core values
- Review annually as a team
- Put them on your website
- Add them on back of staff t-shirts or merchandise
- Do a core values series on social media
I hope this blog post has been a valuable resource for you as you craft the guiding principles that will help define and solidify your business.
If you loved this post and are looking for more ways to work ON your business, you should try one of our roundtables for emerging and established franchisors.
The AC Roundtables are a free resource we offer franchisors who are seeking collaboration and peer-to-peer learning. We’ve been running these virtual roundtables since 2020 and we always love to have new franchisors join us!