Your Small Business should be intentional about Building a Culture, here’s why!
As a growing business, building sustainability goes beyond having an impressive product, recruiting the most creative team, and a great customer service; it has a lot to do with your values. I feel so good when I walk into a certain Nigerian Bank and the security greets myself and over 50 other people who come in, saying, “Good day, welcome to XYZ Bank” and on our way out he, he waves with a smile, as he says, “Thank you for banking with us, enjoy the rest of your day”. His action signifies that the Bank has a culture to respect people and make them feel important.
Generally speaking, your business culture is how you expect both employee and customers to feel after an interaction with your brand. Business culture is the personality of a brand. It shapes the atmosphere around the office and sets a tone for how employees should behave while at work. It specifies how you want to treat your staff and what you expect from them in return; many of those staff you think are not performing as expected only need a little more push and motivation to get the best out of them. As much as we talk about customer service and satisfaction, you must also place importance on your employee because they are the ones who actually make things happen. Your company culture is the reason people want to work with you or run from you.
You Should Read: Relationships, an ingredient to small business success.
As an employee, your decision to work with a company shouldn’t only be based on the paycheck that you take home at the end of the day; you should consider their values and decide if you are a good fit or not. For example, if you perform better working independently, you have no business working in a company that emphasizes team work. With a good company culture in place, certain work-related issues can be resolved and some totally avoided.
Watch: How to Build a Great Company Culture.
What A Good Culture Does for Your Business
Small businesses may be skeptical that a strong culture can translate to financial results, but research proves that when employees are engaged and invested in their work, everyone benefits. Building a business culture is all about the little things you do to not only be known in your industry but to be the best; putting the right structure in place is not as expensive as you think. We at Triift Africa believe that no matter the size of your business you should be focused on how you can make an impact and better the lives of people around you. Culture-driven businesses put people first; people make the company, rather than the other way around. Here are a few benefits of a great culture to your business.
It’s one thing to build a business and another to know why it was built, if you are unable to relate with the mission of your business then you’ll have a problem sharing your vision with people who can actually make it a reality. According to Simon Sinek, if a founder starts a business because he found a problem that needs a solution rather than a mere business opportunity, then he’ll understand why he is in business and won’t quit easily. As a business owner, when you know what you want, you would be able to create a culture that helps you achieve it.
You should try reading Sinek’s book, ‘Start With Why’.
You honestly cannot work diligently for something you don’t believe in and your staff won’t stand for what they are not convinced about. They might not know how to arrive at a solution but they must know what the problem is and why it needs to be solved. A person’s values say a number of things about them.
Hiring and Retaining the Best Talents:
Having a culture makes the recruitment of staff seemingly easy as you get to pick from a pool of applicants whose values are in sync with yours. When you bring new people into your team you should make provision to orient and make them feel welcomed into the work environment. Never feel like this is unnecessary since you are a small business. Remember that creating a positive and strong company culture as a start-up is one way to help ensure longevity of your business. We at Triift Africa have noticed that many small businesses do not set enough standards for hiring people because they are desperate to get their business running, this is a huge mistake; one negative energy can contaminate your entire company.
It’s one thing to get the best set of people on your team and it’s a different game trying to retain them but if you give them something they can hardly get elsewhere then be sure they’ll stick with you. One of the best things about building a positive culture is that it can be done with a low budget, for any size of company and within any industry. You could include incentives like: fun and recreational activities, personal and professional development trainings, holidays/vacations, lunch and snack, social outings, gifts, ‘Thank You’ cards, health care, and more to ensure the happiness and productivity of your staff. The aim is to make them feel important. When they enjoy such benefits and every other thing is in check, they really won’t think of going elsewhere.
A company’s culture and values are unique identifiers. Everything else like, products, services, strategies, marketing can be competitively replicated by others in the industry.
Let’s return to our example of the Bank, most banks offer the same services but what makes me enjoy banking with one and detest another? You might say that I enjoy their customer service or prompt response, that can be referred to as their culture because it is a part of them that I have been able to identify and it makes them unique.
It’s not too late to set a business culture and you could also improve on an existing one. Ensure you select your values carefully and build a culture around it; practice transparency by acknowledging your weaknesses and mistakes. Since it’s something you want your business to be known for, pick it intentionally; you could evaluate your performance as a leader by giving your staff copies of questionnaire to fill anonymously. By doing this, you’ll get to know areas to improve on.