Published: Mar 11, 2020
Core values represent the fundamental beliefs around which culture develops within a business. They provide a company with a sense of purpose – an understanding of the role they play in society and how they create value for others. Everything is guided by a set of values which define character and culture; these qualities are the shared principles that bring a team together.
Peter Smith, Investment Associate based across Maven’s North East offices, sets out his thoughts on the most important values needed to be a successful start-up.
1. Have a company vision
A successful start-up is often driven by the vision of its founders and core team. Key decisions are made by a small group of individuals who have the will and drive to steer the company through the early stages. Decision making is a three-step process: first, understand all the relevant information; second consider the different outcomes and scenarios; finally, if you are properly prepared and clear on your position then make a decision based on the greatest chance of success. Often, the most successful entrepreneurs can look at the patterns and trends in order to understand the cause-effect relationships that drive them and to learn principles for dealing with them effectively.
2. Ask questions
Many entrepreneurs don’t ask the simple questions. What do they want to achieve? Who are they trying to help? How are they doing it? Founders with a long-term vision will recognise that they need to make transitions beyond a first successful stage of the business cycle, successful businesses anticipate that they will go through cycles of maturation that demand systemic transitions.
3. Be innovative
Why innovate? Innovation is the commercial application and successful conviction of the idea. It is important for start-ups to be innovative, creating new ideas, questioning accepted wisdom and offering new approaches. Cultures of innovation are naturally more dynamic with processes: founders work with (i) flexibility and (ii) self-accountability. The most successful founders generally feel intrinsically aligned to a mission, something that comes as enjoyment to them rather than a task.
These core values are seen across our investee companies and reflect Maven’s strong partnership, personalised approach, commitment to performance and integrity. Despite the challenging economic environment, many businesses in the North of England are experiencing success and growth, which is a testament to the strength of the UK economy.
Well-implemented values can serve as the foundation for a high-performance culture. It’s worth taking the time to get everyone on the same page by establishing corporate values, developing a mutual understanding of them, and then making them a fundamental part the business.