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Step 3 Brand Strategy – How to Grow your Startup Quickly with Core Values

Have you ever thought if only I could replicate myself in my business? If only I could hire another me? If you’ve ever wondered how to bring more of you into your business and get the people you hire to behave the way you want them to the answer starts with getting clear on what you value. Openly stating your core values is how you operationalize the DNA that’s in you into the behaviours of your business that will serve you even in the most difficult times.

In this article, we’re talking about how to grow your company quickly with values. If you plan on having a team of people, a partner, or even doing a round of financing then you’ll want to be clear on what you stand for. You don’t want to find yourself in a successful company that you’ve built but not excited about coming into to work anymore.

This is what happened to the CEO of NurseNextDoor.com, John DeHart. He started Nurse Next Door in Starbucks with his partner Ken Sim because they couldn’t find quality home care for their family. Like many entrepreneurs they founded their business on a passionate purpose.
On their road to growth, John walked into his office after being away for a few weeks and realized he didn’t like coming to work anymore. He didn’t like the way his supervisors spoke to their employees and customers. He didn’t feel warmly welcomed into the office when he arrived back. It wasn’t the kind of culture he wanted to belong to anymore. It made John uncomfortable walking into his own office. So he pulled his partner aside and that was the day they decided things needed to change.

In fact, it was a beginning of a new era at Nurse Next Door based on what they value. From then on, they vowed to be obsessed with their values because they knew it was the path to creating the company they dreamed about in the early days. They made some decisions about how to embed their values into the operation of the company. The partners agreed to hire first and foremost based on their values. They would reward based on people’s performance and alignment with their values. They would even bring their values to life in their weekly meetings. John now speaks worldwide on the importance of core values and the company is one of North America’s fastest growing franchises.

Company values are key. They can be extremely powerful if they are constantly alive and referenced as part of your company culture. Values underpin the way people act and behave, they govern the way people are hired and fired, they define how policies are created, they attract like–minded employees and customers. They also inspire employee rewards and recognition, as well as the creation of new products. Very few companies tap into this super power of business, but the ones who do give a big high five to their values.

This step is about just that–core values, but I want you to articulate them in a way that’s truthful. Values are the behaviours that underlie the way we act even when no one is watching. That’s what I mean by telling the truth.

Corporate brand values often include words like integrity and excellence but let’s face it, customers don’t believe that anymore. Customers are smart. They no longer believe everything they read or what they are told about a product or service. People talk to each other about what they like and don’t like. How many stories have you heard about a disappointing customer experience? As a business you need to look at what you truly believe and what you can honestly deliver. And then you commit to delivering those truths each and every day.
Customer are tired of generic statements that simply sound good. People are craving authenticity and transparency. Just look at how social media tools have empowered the customer to have a conversation about your brand, with or without you. We can’t hide behind managing perceptions anymore. It’s time to speak the truth.

What would happen if we spoke the truth and consistently delivered on that experience for our customers and employees? What if we promised to behave in a way that we could actually live up to?