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Why you need core values to run a successful business

March 27, 2017
Your core values might include things like: Safety Service; the customer always comes first Contribution to the community Excellent workmanship
Image: iStock/ThinkStock.

Core values — you’ve probably heard of businesses touting that they have core values. Maybe you donate to a charitable organization that proudly displays its core values. Maybe you even have core values of your own. Or, perhaps you’re like a lot of contractors and wonder, “Do I really need core values? What’s the big deal with them anyway?”

Core values sound like a fad, like something that a big company like Google or Apple or Amazon have, so everyone else needs to have them too. But the cynical side of you says, “It’s business as usual, whether or not you have core values, they’re just something fancy to be on trend.”

I used to think that too, until I discovered the hidden power of core values and exactly how they could be used. You’ll find that when core values are done correctly, which they are often not, that they are just as useful as any other tool in your toolbox right now.

Unfortunately, the business value and impact of core values has diminished with their popularity. Many companies jump on the bandwagon to create core values simply to say they have them. And yes, you are correct in assuming that it’s business as usual for those companies that are creating core values just to be like everyone else.

Why you need core values

Core values are so much more when done correctly.

  • Core values help you make decisions. They act as a filter and a decision-making tool to help you assess any decision to reach a conclusion that is good for your company.
  • The decision-making value extends to your employees too. Core values help to empower and equip your employees to make on-the-fly decisions that are right. So, if a customer asks them for something extra or unusual, the employee can simply turn to the core values to help them know whether or not they can comply with the request.
  • Core values help you hire the right people, people who are aligned with your company, and even fire the wrong people, or people who are not aligned with your company. Core values also help you attract and recruit employees too.
  • Core values, when done correctly, can be attractive to your prospects and customers, helping to set your company apart from others.
  • Core values are also a powerful service tool, enabling you to serve your customers at a higher level by reminding your employees and demonstrating to your customers exactly what’s important to your company.

How to build core values

Creating core values does not have to be a complicated or costly process. You do not need to bring in a core values consultant at $1,000/hour to help you to create your core values. Simply think about what’s important to you, as an owner, and what you want your reputation to be in the community. Find other companies with core values that you like (they don’t have to be in your industry). Pull together four to six core values that resonate with you. You’re not trying to paint a complete picture here; you’re just trying to say, “We really think these are the most important things.”

Your core values might include things like:

  • Safety
  • Service; the customer always comes first
  • Contribution to the community
  • Excellent workmanship

Of course there may be others but this is a great start. Don’t make too many core values, though, because that makes it harder to deploy them.

How to deploy your core values

This is where a lot of companies get it wrong. They create core values just to say they have them. Then they are forgotten.

Your core values truly need to become your core. They should be visible for all to see, all the time. They should be talked about in every meeting. They should be listed in marketing material that you give to customers. They should be on the front page of your employee handbook.

Your entire team should be able to recite your core values and understand how the work they do fits into the core values. That’s the measure of how successfully you are deploying them. Unfortunately, even the people who create core values in a company often forget what their core values are.


Core values are not a fad or a trend. They are a powerful tool that will positively impact all aspects of your business if you use them correctly. Powerful core values can transform your business when you follow these strategies to create and deploy them in your company.

Mike is the “Business Warrior” and founder of CEO Warrior, a business consulting and mentoring firm, providing tested and proven methods to defeat the roadblocks that prevent small to mid-sized businesses from achieving their ultimate success. He has played a key role in building Gold Medal Services’ success, as co-owner of the company. For more information about CEO Warrior, visit

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