6 Secrets to Building a Company for the Long-Term

Building a business that lasts requires having a well-defined company culture. Many business leaders don’t focus enough on developing their business culture. A defined company culture can improve employee engagement and increase your bottom line. Consider John Scumniotales, CEO and president of software corporation Verdiem. According to Seattle Business magazine, after Scumniotales redefined his company’s culture in 2011, he found that employee morale was at an all-time high, and each employee felt a greater sense of accountability. Their sales have increased and their team has been able to develop and improve products at a faster rate. Their customer satisfaction rate is up and their revenues increased by 30% compared to the previous year.

Here are 6 secrets to giving your company more staying power.

1) Don’t just develop your mission statement, communicate it throughout your entire organization and make sure everyone understands it. A vision that is internally adopted will empower employees to drive your company forward. Get everyone on board to achieve your goals.

2) Collaboration is essential. An environment that invites collaborative efforts allows everyone to be hands-on, and to have a stake in the business. Cisco executive, and co-author of ‘The Collaboration Imperative’, Carl Wiese, says that establishing programs that develop your team and allows each individual’s talents and temperaments to shine is important. Breaking your employees out of their strident managerial/employee roles and allowing for collaboration is a great way to hear new ideas and look at the business from different angles.

3) Be self-disruptive. Take risks to ensure your product or service stays relevant to meet the constantly changing needs and desires of today’s customers. Push yourself and your team to change course as needed to stay up-to-date. As Cynthia Tidwell, the president and CEO of Royal Neighbors told Inc. magazine, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you are not going to reach your potential.”

4) Be willing to ask for help. As your company grows, you will be faced with making hard, and sometimes fast, decisions. Over time, the challenges also become bigger. Remember that although the CEO is at the top, he or she does not need to be alone. Develop your mindset to always seek out help. Look for those who can teach you, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. This is where CEO kitchen cabinets and peer groups come in very handy. React quickly; don’t let pride hold you back.

5) Own and lead your culture. Your company’s culture comes from you and it’s one of the most important things you can develop, says Lars Dalgaard, former board member at SAP, said in an Andreessan Horowitz podcast. Your culture defines how you want your company to do business, and how you want your staff to behave toward customers and each other. Decide on meaningful and relatable values. Write them down. Post them everywhere.

6) Review your board annually. Look to those who really care about your company and want to help you but who can still be 100% independent. Choosing outsiders can help you develop new strategies and see new angles.

Implementing these 6 tips can help you grow—personally and professionally—to a higher level and help your company stay in the game for the long term.v

PARTNER CENTER