I always get asked, “What is the best way to scale my business?” Even by my business coaching clients.
Based on my experience, scaling a business through values will help to achieve sustainable growth, in any industry. Value-based companies should start with understanding their core values and how to scale those values before worrying about how the company itself will grow.
Failure to scale these values causes all sorts of problems when the company begins to scale. Your core message gets lost. Your team’s motivation decreases. Your lack of a strong corporate culture leads to a lack of production.
Don’t lose your values.
Losing sight of the values that comprise your company culture makes organizations less successful, efficient and effective. It can even cause companies to fall apart. Don’t undermine or undervalue your company’s values or mission.
Studies have shown the impact that a focus on company values has on operations. According to Deloitte research, mission-driven companies have 30 percent higher levels of innovation and 40 percent higher levels of retention. Companies with happy employees that are aligned with their core values also outperform the competition by 20 percent, Gallup found.
Set the stage.
When new interns start at our firm, we tell them that we do not teach about working in sports. We only teach four things, the four core values of our company: gratitude, empathy, accountability and effective communication. In order to get everyone aligned, we reinforce these values in all three stages of scaling our business, and we use different strategies to instill them.
Invest in the learning stage.
Understand that your new employee is an investment in your company, not a privilege. You are investing in a person’s professional growth and, for those with a values-based business, you also invest in their personal growth.
The learning stage is where you tell stories and share content which will get your team aligned with your core values. Find people who represent the values you aspire to follow and tell their stories. Provide examples of people who succeed with those values. Also, share times of failure that happen when people do not live aligned with the standards that your team is supposed to follow.
Don’t execute the messenger.
The next stage is the execution phase, where our team members mature through those core values and eventually become profitable. The execution stage is where an employee learns to balance the values of a company while also maintaining profitability for the firm.
Having an appropriate compensation package is key at this stage. What matters is that there’s a learning phase that we as employers invest, an execution phase that leads to profitability, and then an equity phase where we share our company assets via 401(k) options, warrants or even investment from our employees.
Equity stage: Retain and reward.
The equity or partnership stage allows your company to scale and thrive while maintaining a connection to core values. Equity or partnership rewards employees who have shown a commitment to your company and its culture over an extended period of time. Setting an appropriate timeline to transition from employee to partner is important. People need to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
SAS shows how to scale.
Some of the biggest companies have been able to grow and scale because of their commitment to their culture.
Billionaire Jim Goodnight’s company, SAS, is one of the many companies that operate based on values or a mission. They are committed to a holistic approach, providing core values, support and appreciation to their employees. They see themselves as “authentic, accountable, curious and passionate” and put those values into everything that they do.
Live your core values.
If you remain firmly rooted in your core values and principles, you’ll be able to not only bring monetary success to your company, but personal success to yourself, your employees, your community and the people you interact with every day.
Remember, nobody can succeed without inspiration. Show them how to give back, how to be of service and how to succeed. Empower them with values that will change their personal and professional life.
Inspire other companies to follow your lead by sticking to your core values and working to empower others to be successful.