So what’s the first thing you’re supposed to do when you start a company?
Many will tell you to begin with a business plan or a financial operating model. Others might suggest you dive into customer discovery to figure out if there’s even a need for your product. Still some might encourage you to first grow your social media presence and create relevant content.
All of these suggestions are valid, but one often overlooked component to starting a business is identifying your company values. For many this is a cliche. More fluff than substance, values can be perceived as having little to no impact on the success of a business. I know this because for most of my career I have counted myself among these cynics. I too found company values all too often to be a compilation of corporate gobbledygook; mere cliches strung together for appearances sake alone.
But I was wrong.
Having worked at companies that have failed and succeeded, I often found that the glue that held things together was a common purpose, a mission, a sense of working on something larger than yourself. Don’t be fooled - the mission doesn’t need to be altruistic. This is business after all. The goal can be as simple as making your customers lives easier or changing the way your industry operates. But without fail, a mission, not just a paycheck, was required to get people to truly give the best of themselves to a company. Without a core set of principles, a career dissipates into ‘just a job’ and a company becomes exclusively a means for revenue rather than an opportunity to make a lasting impact on the world.
At KinoTek, we made it a priority to establish our corporate values as a team. Every person at the company was asked to describe their ideal place of work. What does this company look like? What does it stand for? What would make you proud to work there? In open conversation, every department - from marketing to product to sales - sat down to identify our company values together as one.
This is a good start, but listing ideals on a piece of paper isn’t enough. The real test begins NOW - with every customer interaction, company meeting, and day of business needed to be imbued with and inspired by these virtues. I have no doubt that with the following values as our compass, we will navigate the terrain of challenges that come our way. Together as a team, one day at a time.
We don’t judge work by the hours, but on what we get done
Where others see risk, we see opportunity
Integrity & Transparency
We are driven by honesty and an unrelenting sense of right and wrong
Learning is not bound by titles or departments. We are intellectually curious, life-long learners
We are a family that supports each other unconditionally