Two words that say so little, yet say so much.
What is company culture, you ask, and why should you care?
Let’s answer your question with a few questions.
Interested in owning and running your company with both high and recurring profits?
Looking to one day sell your company and get the highest possible price?
If you answered yes to one or both of those questions, you better have a strong and healthy company culture.
And speaking of success, company culture trumps strategy, money, and resources. All day. Every day.
If in doubt, ask yourself this question.
What do Starbucks, Apple, Virgin, Google, and Zappos have in common?
Yes, each one of these companies is profitable and a leader in its space.
But let’s look past the obvious. Below the surface is a strong and vibrant company culture enabling outrageous success.
A quick story.
The next day after I graduated from my MBA program I launched my first business, Embanet.
I had no money, experience or team. On paper, I should have failed before I even began.
I was up against competition that was smarter, had more people, and well financed.
Despite the odds, Embanet became both profitable and the industry leader.
And later, I had a 9-figure exit.
What’s the secret to my success that led to my 9-figure exit, you ask?
Want to know how you can do the same for yourself?
How Company Culture Enables Your Vision And Mission (Every Day)
Turned on people figure out how to beat the competition. Turned off people only complain about being beaten by the competition. – Ben Simonton
The right company culture brings your vision and mission alive. All day. Every day.
Most companies pay lip service to their vision through a plaque that has a lot of words that say nothing.
The result? Nothing.
And that’s the point. If your company is like this, you’re an easy mark for your competition.
When done right, company culture takes both your vision and mission and brings them to life. You don’t need a plaque on the wall to remind you of your core values.
From the janitor to the CEO, everyone’s on the same page and ensuring the company’s identity is on target.
At Embanet, as an example, the company culture revolved around one principle.
What’s that one principle, you ask?
Ensuring that as many students as possible completed their online graduate program.
No matter what.
The best and most profitable companies in the world have employees who think like owners.Click to tweet
Everyone in the company lived the entrepreneur life.
The results spoke for themselves. And so did the profits for our partners and our company.
Money can do many things. But money cannot buy corporate culture.
And it was our corporate culture which drove a high value when the company sold.
Company Culture Keeps Everyone On The Same Page
Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first. -Simon Sinek
For most businesses, company culture is an afterthought. And it shows. Everywhere.
And the same is true for businesses with a strong company culture.
In most companies, it’s common for departments to fight amongst themselves.
IT feels misunderstood. Sales and marketing believe they know best. Operations feel frustrated.
Everyone is looking out for themselves.
A vibrant company culture has, dare I say it, departments working with each other.
To ensure customers get the best possible experience.
One of the things I did at Embanet was creating ‘Embanet Reserves’ for technical support.
During peak times, people from other departments manned the phones and emails.
Running as a cockroach startup, Embanet Reserves was originally created to save money.
And that it did, with some unintended consequences. Good ones.
Embanet Reserves went back to their departments as changed people. The Reserves had a new respect for our technical support team.
This respect turned into something beautiful. All the departments began to meet with each other for upcoming initiatives.
Whereas this was once an afterthought, it now became a best practice.
Each department weighed in with its unique viewpoints. Flaws found. Problems prevented.
Everyone was on the same page.
And that’s when the magic happens.
Company Culture Finds And Retains The Best Talent
Hire great people and give them freedom to be awesome. – Andrew Mason
In the not too distant past, large companies had their pick of top talent.
Fast forward to today, and all bets are off.
What smaller companies lack in larger salaries, they overcompensate in other areas.
Company culture, yet again.
Your company culture has you stand for something. Your team knows who they are and what they’re supposed to do.
It’s not same s*it different day mentality.
And it’s your company culture that enables your team to grow, learn, and have fun.
In my experience, money is in the middle to lower part of factors that motivate employees. Instead, for most employees, it’s about feeling fulfilled and doing work with a purpose.
It’s your company culture that drives home, every day, fulfillment and purpose.
Success begets success.
Top talent will attract more talented people to your organization. And leading the charge is your company culture.
Seven things you can do to drive your company culture (and top talent):
- Have a clear mission and live it. Every day.
- Ensure your customers are the only focus.
- Be a great communicator at all levels of the company.
- Put teamwork at the center of your company culture
- Embrace and welcome change.
- Celebrate what people do right.
- Have fun.
Company Culture Has You Stand Out From The Crowd (And Win)
You have to be a place that’s more than a paycheck for people. – Rick Federico
The saying ‘what gets measured is what gets done’ has a universal truth about human nature.
Today your competition is global, smart, and hungry.
Being a ‘me too’ puts you out of business. Quick.
Customers aren’t enough either. You now need ‘Raving Fans.’
What’s one to do?
Enter, you guessed it, company culture.
The stronger your company culture, the stronger your differentiation is in the marketplace.
You go from being another me too company to a brand making a difference.
It all starts with your team. When your team feels like they have a life worth living as a result of your company culture, step aside and watch the magic happen.
And after all, isn’t this what being an entrepreneur is about in the first place?
Do you remember the days when the Microsoft Zune was going to be the killer of the iPod?
The Zune was only a business for Microsoft.
The iPod is a way of life for Apple. People at Apple define themselves by their music and playlists.
Apple gets music. Microsoft doesn’t.
The results speak for themselves.
According to this article, the term ‘Zune’ is now synonymous with corporate humiliation.
A vibrant company culture has you stand out from the crowd. And win.
Company Culture Creates More Profits
When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible. – Howard Schultz
A vibrant company culture has you live your mission by serving your customers and changing the world.
Somewhere along the line profits will flow. And the profits will keep on flowing.
You become an unstoppable force because you’re a company with something to prove.
And your customers love you for it.
That my dear reader was the Embanet story.
The company that should have failed, skyrocketed to success and made a difference.
Embanet changed the social fabric of society. We did this through working professionals upgrading their lives via online education.
Our competition tried, but couldn’t copy our company culture.
And if you can’t beat them, join them.
Enter my 9-figure exit.
The ‘secret sauce’ throughout Embanet’s meteoric launch is corporate culture.
Embanet was never a job. For all of us, it was a way of life.
Our company culture was us, and we were our company culture.
And our customers loved it.
Whether you plan to keep your company forever or you plan to sell your company, whatever you do, do this one thing.
Build and foster a vibrant company culture.
Act as if your entire existence depends on a vibrant company culture.
Because it does.
What are the only things standing between you and outrageous success?
A healthy company culture.
Sound too easy?
Don’t confuse simplicity with easy.
Building a healthy company culture will be the most challenging thing you’ll ever do.
But when you nail it, and you will, there’s not stopping you.
I should know.
It was my company culture that helped create my 9-figure exit.
My business valuations were through the roof as a result of my company culture.
In this article, I revealed my five principles that built a healthy company culture.
I started with creating a vision that was meaningful to me and living it every day. I fostered that vision to ensure everyone in my company was on the same page.
With a living vision and everyone on the same page, I began to attract and keep top talent.
With top talent my company culture had us stand out from the crowd. Customers loved this and wanted more.
By serving our customers, we created a way of life for everyone. And as a result, the profits flowed. And never stopped.
One principle builds off of and depends upon the other.
And if I could do this, so can you.
Remember, I was the kid right out of school with no money, experience, or team.
And the great news is, you have everything you need to succeed. Right now. It’s already within you.
You can do it.
I know you can.
Here’s to you and your success!