In the online space, we hear about “creating a strong company culture” but what does that even mean?
When I think of corporate culture, I think of when I worked in a Senior role at Hunter Boots and our HR girl, Andrea, would go around with her super high pitched peppy voice and say “CHEER UP!” “ITS A BEAUTIFUL DAY” and leave Tootsie Roll Pops on our desk and call it “culture”. Like, big oooof ya know
That’s not culture though. It’s some kind of weird attempt of keeping people from asking for a raise with toxic positivity maybe but definitely not a strong company culture.
We all know the importance of branding, and culture truly falls in line with that. What do you believe in? How does your belief system affect your work? How does your upbringing trickle into client relations? What unresolved issues internally start to integrate into your team?
Life <> Business – it’s all connected.
If you don’t have a team (ps shoutout to you for keeping the full margin of your work!!!), or if you have a small team of 1-2 support system members, then it may seem weird to consider a “culture”…until you say the following things to me:
“I am feeling so burnt out”
“I feel like all I do is work”
“I’m attracting all these wrong clients”
These my lovely beautiful rays of sunshine whom I love so dearly…are a product of a strong company culture.
If you’re working so much that you can’t leave your desk, you have one strict boss. The problem is, you are the boss (which suuuuuuuuuuuucks lol) The culture you’re creating is “work at all costs and if you take a personal day you’re fired”. It’s now SCARY to work for you, and you’re the one calling the shots. You’re working with people you don’t enjoy, you’re doing work you don’t love, and all because your boss said you absolutely have to, or you’re not working here anymore.
So how do you fix it?
- Create rules, and stick to them. When does the office close? What bonus do you receive for working late all the time? If you acquire a new client, how are you rewarded? Treat yourself with the kindness you may expect in a bigger business or that you may give to others.
- Be the boss and the employee. Sometimes you gotta work late, have the tough conversations, and create the plans – as the boss. Other times, you have to do work you really don’t want to do, clock out at 5, chat to friends during the day, or take a long lunch – as the employee. Treat yourself like someone who has a boss, even if that boss is you.
- Map out a value system that your business adheres to in all situations. Think of the ways that your value system in your business affects the entire ecosystem. If you say you value “humanity” like we do, how does humanity affect the team? Your clients? Yourself as the leader? Your audience? Choose some values you adhere to, and then ensure that they show up in all departments of your work.
- Remember, we are what we repeatedly do. We are mean bosses if we’re strapped to our desk til 9pm every night. You do not succeed or win a trophy for overworking. Simplify, trim the fat, and remove anything that isn’t a priority right now. And then go have dinner at a normal time. Without your laptop.
- Integrate your culture into all aspects of your business including how you hire, how you sell to clients, how to lead your team, and more. For tips on sales, click here for our sales blog posts.
The key to growing a business you love is to create rules that allow you both a life, and a business. It’s super possible, I guarantee it. It takes work upfront, for sure, but in time, you’ll see all that work come back to you. If and when you focus on your values first, and your profit next. The first step? A strong company culture that allows you to grow the business you love and that people love supporting.