“If you do not develop your corporate culture it will develop itself. Corporate culture doesn’t happen by accident and if it does, you’re taking a risk.” ~Monique Winston, CEO, Optima Lender Services

Do you have a favorite restaurant where you love to dine? How about a favorite hair salon or dry cleaner? What makes them your favorite? Maybe it’s the price, the selection, the location, or the people working there. It could be all the above. The answer probably lies somewhere in the fact that you feel good when you do business with them. It is based on emotions.

Now let’s go in the other direction.  Have you ever stopped doing business with a company because of the way they made you feel? I know I have. It happened again last week with a car repair shop I’ve used in the past that tried to rip me off.  Told me I needed certain repairs that I knew I didn’t need, and a second opinion confirmed my suspicions. I will never go back. Again, all based on emotions.

You would hope that every company would want you to feel good after doing business with them, and look forward to you returning. That’s what repeat business is all about.

This is where a company’s DNA comes into play. Just like in the human body, where DNA is the genetic code that forms who we are, a company’s DNA also forms the makeup of the company.  It is the personality of the business, the soul, if you will. It is the foundation for the culture the company wants to create.

Is it important for a company to have a DNA? Only if you want to succeed!  It is central to who you are and who you want your company to be.

How do you develop your business DNA? It starts with the Founder or Founders of the company and what they want their company to reflect.  It encompasses values and morals, trust and respect. It embraces more than just the bottom line. It is the core identity of the company. It is about what they believe, and includes such areas as community involvement, philanthropy and transparency. It is about people.

It must answer the two most important questions:

  1. Who are our ideal customers?
  2. Who are our ideal employees?

Here are a few tips for discovering your business DNA:

  • What are your company core values that guide you and your employees’ behavior?
  • What are your company’s mission and vision statements?
  • What does your company do that no one else does?
  • What is the feeling you want your customers to have after doing business with you?
  • What are the expectations you think your customers have?
  • What procedures and protocols do you want to establish?

It is important to remember that your business DNA should always be growing and evolving.  It should be a shared culture created from past experiences, both good and bad that involves beliefs, purpose, language, outcomes and shared stories.

Once you have defined your culture and DNA, then your branding should come easy. Additionally, it is important to make sure your first few hires will advocate and advance your business DNA and company culture.  Communication of your core values, and leading by example will be paramount to making sure your company DNA is passed down to future employees.

Establishing who you are and what you want your company to be in the eyes of your customers and employees is too important to leave to chance.  Take the time to write down your genetic code at the birth of your company, and watch your business grow.

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