A Guide to Creating Your Company’s Core Values

Your core values drive business decisions, set the tone for interactions with employees and customers alike, and build a foundation for long-term success.


July 21, 2023


Insights, Global

In 2022, the United Kingdom had 5.5 million small businesses, 3.1 million sole proprietorships, 2.1 million trading businesses, and 353,000 partnerships. Running a business can be fulfilling, but it also has its challenges. Bringing your ideas to reality, building a team, gaining loyal customers, and acquiring resources are all gratifying experiences. However, it requires significant effort, commitment, and perseverance, particularly when the path ahead is unclear.

Many business owners begin their journey by identifying a problem that needs solving. However, more than simply addressing the issue at hand is required to build a loyal customer base. A business must establish core values that align with the values of its customer base. This connection creates a sense of shared values between the business and its customers, essential for building a strong bond. Additionally, having firm core values helps to establish a positive company culture and attract and retain top talent who share those values.

Core values are intended to function as the fundamental beliefs and principles guiding your business. These core beliefs drive your business decisions and set the tone for your culture and how your business engages with your clients and teams. Establishing your company’s core values is essentially establishing the heart and soul of your business. Your company’s personality, if you will. Therefore, by prioritizing core values, businesses can solve problems and build a foundation for long-term success.

For new business owners needing to establish their core values, we’ve curated a guide to help you get in touch with the heart of your business and how you want to communicate those values:


  1. It is imperative for a business to establish clear and concise values that will effectively define and direct its actions and behavior. These values ensure that all decisions and actions align with the company’s overall vision and mission.
  2. As the company grows, these founding beliefs will need to be made more formal and explicit. Doing so allows your business to maintain a consistent and cohesive vision for the future.
  3. It’s best to avoid using generic words and phrases like “integrity” when writing down your values. Instead, use your unique voice to make them more relatable and emphasize what’s unique about your culture.
  4. To ensure the effective implementation of your company’s values, it is vital to involve your whole team in their creation and codification. While you, as the business owner, should take the lead, you should not dictate the values. And remember, this ongoing process requires ongoing efforts to ensure continued adherence to the values you have agreed upon.
  5. To maintain company values, it’s important to reinforce them through repetition, rewards, and recognition consistently. An effective way to recognize employees is by having the CEO select one value each month and allowing the company to vote for the person who best embodies that value.
  6. Having a set of well-established values can be instrumental in making tough decisions, particularly those that cannot be resolved by numbers and analysis alone.
  7. It’s essential for the CEO and leaders to lead by example and follow the company’s values so that they are also adopted by everyone else.
  8. As an employee, expect to be evaluated based on your values. Your colleagues will hold you accountable for adhering to them. Although this may be challenging, it is a positive indication that the values have been deeply ingrained and are being applied in various ways.
  9. Values should make you (and everyone else in the firm) proud to work there.
  10. Always stick to your core values, and be honest about them! Consumers will appreciate the transparency.

This guide is also helpful for those businesses that need to revisit their core values over time because as we grow, things change. It’s important for the health and sustainability of your business to ensure your core values are being adhered to and are felt in every aspect of your business. By having a well-defined set of values, your company can establish a strong and trustworthy reputation, both within its organization and the larger community.


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