Creating core values for your small business

Like a mission and vision, a clearly defined set of values help guide the company’s actions. Core values are important things to have in a successful small business.

Examples of business values are ethics, commitment to customer service, continuous improvement, respect for the individual, environmental consciousness, quality, efficiency, or empowerment.

Core values of a business are usually the same as the values of the business’ founder. Starbucks’ core values (or “guiding principles”) are:

  • Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.
  • Embrace diversity as an essential component in the way we do business.
  • Apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting and fresh delivery of our coffee.
  • Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time.
  • Contribute positively to our communities and our environment.
  • Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success.

It takes time to unearth your core values. You probably value many things, but which few will be the most important to your small business?

We suggest a “yellow sticky” exercise — write a core value on a sticky note and paste it somewhere where you can reflect on it. Do this with all your core values until you find the ones that best fit you and your business. Your values may change over time, so be prepared to do this exercise again later.

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Discover the 10 steps for small business success

GoForth Institute’s first newsletter of 2011 is out now, and we’re excited about it. Not only do we discuss how to develop a sales forecast and have a discussion with our Module Four instructor Nathalie Callender, but we also tell you how to create a strategic plan in just 10 steps.

Creating a strategic plan for your small business – whether you work from home or are at the helm of a high-growth venture – is critical for success. How else will you know where to take your small business in the coming years? A small business strategic plan will make sure your business grows exactly in the way you want it to.

Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll see in the feature on our 10-step strategic plan:

  1. What is the purpose of my business?
  2. What is my vision for this company?
  3. What are my business values?
  4. What are my business’ SWOTs?
  5. Do a STEPC analysis.
  6. Set overall corporate goals for the year.
  7. Set strategic objectives in marketing, finance, human resources and operations.
  8. Create tactics in marketing, finance, human resources and operations.
  9. Implement the plan.
  10. Re-visit your plan.

Check out our January newsletter for complete information about these 10 steps, as well as more great news and tips for Canadian entrepreneurs.

We hope you enjoy it!

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