Have you recently found yourself opening your browser, falling down the endless blogosphere rabbit hole and constantly being slapped square across the face by the topic of “Why it’s Important to Build a Culture for Your Business”?
You keep reading about how culture is the asset that your competition can never copy, right?
And you’re thinking, “Building a culture is a ‘nice to have’ at this point. Right now, I’m just trying to keep my business together and growing without collapsing!”
Did you ever think building culture doesn’t have to be so hard? Or, better yet, that it can be done when you start your business? Or that systems could help build it?
Think about it …
You don’t want to be that company that doubles in size, then everything breaks and everybody has to adapt.
Culture, at its best, is built out of the core values of your business — which, let’s be honest, are going to be your core values, or those of your first core team members, depending on how deliberate you are about it.
Be Deliberate from the Get-Go
- Define your core values
- Download your brain onto tools that will facilitate a replicable process
- Make sure those values are pervasive throughout all of your system and thus all of your business
You can proactively and systematically create culture around what’s important in your business by optimizing your business systems.
If you can pick tools to nudge people toward effective collaboration and constructive kinds of inventive thinking, then you are supporting the development of a winning culture within your company.
Crazy simple, right?
As an example, let’s take an eco-friendly digital tour company that provides travel experiences for groups. Its core values are sustainability, adventure and community.
If these values perforate every aspect of the business from the get go, the company can create the culture that it wants and attract employees, clients, vendors and fans who care about those things.
Four Tools to Get Your Team Humming
Digital Project Manager
When you finally take a day or a vacation off, you need to make sure your team is taking care of business the way you would and that the culture doesn’t walk out the door when you do.
You want to be able to download your brain: to put down how you would do a project from beginning to end and how, and at which points, you would interact with your clients on it.
Look for a project-management application that allows you to create templates of projects and tasks that are constantly repeated so you can easily create replicable processes for the team.
Data and Resource Hub
If you have a project manager, you can make sure that things are getting delivered. Score! Then, how do you make sure they are delivered in a way that you would do them? The secret is not only the steps that you take, but how you take them.
You want to be able to train every team member on how you deliver your product or service. To do that without driving yourself crazy, you need a hub for your knowledge base. This is the equivalent of an old-school business manual.
You don’t need an expensive database, but you want to house your training materials in one area so you can have all your documents, videos or screenshots in an easily accessible place.
Examples of these are wikis, Google sites and learning-management systems.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Who your clients are, how you relate to your clients and how you service your clients are all dependent on your core values, and therefore the culture you create.
You want to design a process that attracts the right type of client — where your team knows who the ideal prospects are and how to interact with them, right from the moment they first enter your pipeline.
In order to do this, CRM is an essential part of the business. Download your brain and all your years of experience so that others can sell, close and service the way you would.
What does accounting have to do with culture? How you get paid and how you pay your people is emblematic of the culture you are creating.
Are you eco-friendly and completely paperless? Is expediency a core value? Do you bank with a local or global bank? Your accounting isn’t just about your numbers, it’s also how you conduct business.
How do you get involvement from your team when it comes to your numbers?
- Know and review your numbers — check your profit and loss on a monthly basis and see how your revenue and profit margin are trending
- Create transparency and let your team know how the business is trending
- Create buy-in from your team for future investments and make sure they are aligned with your core values
To set a tone for a positive culture, start right from the beginning, and invest in some digital tools that do an outstanding job of connecting people and their work.
Juliana Marulanda is the CEO and founder of ScaleTime. They partner with service-based companies and shift business owners out of the daily grind into awesome, systemized success. On average, Juliana and her team create ways to free up at least 20 hours per month for her clients. Productivity increases and owners take off their jack-of-all-trades-hats to put on the ones they love. One copywriting agency client’s time freed up enough for her to write a Forbes column (which recently featured Juliana and her dog!). When Juliana isn’t working with clients directly, this systems hacker is busy writing her first book. She also teaches online seminars and works offline with organizations like the Small Business Administration to help business owners solve the pain points of saving time, making money and managing … everything.