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Startup Rulebook: Does your Small Business Have Standards?

If you find that your small business operates with absolutely no standards – guidelines that outline a certain level of quality – it’s time to get some.

Do customers, suppliers, investors, and the general public know what to expect from your business?

Is your staff nice to customers one minute and passive aggressive the next? Do customers have to follow-up with you numerous times to ensure you’re “on top of it?” Are investor’s micromanaging every dollar invested?

If so, it’s very likely that your business needs standards.

We’ve all run across people and businesses with no standards. Anything goes.

If you’re completely honest with yourself, whether you have standards (or not), you ultimately lose respect for others that seemingly don’t have them (standards). Yet before you sneer at the low standards of another company, think first how hard it is (and was) to delineate your own.

When conducting business in a global marketplace, standards breed respect, and respect begets trust and so on. To be unrespectable is to signify that a certain level of trust cannot be placed in what you say (marketing communications) and what you do (sell and ship products or services).

Companies that hold themselves to a higher standard are often revered because we all know how hard it can be to perfect the basics while managing growth, corporate culture and refining offerings.

If you find that your small business operates with absolutely no standards – guidelines that outline a certain level of quality – it’s time to get some.

3 Simple Ways to Set Standards in Business

As the CEO of your company it is your responsibility to lead the charge as it pertains to standards. Never be afraid to raise the bar in business, because more often than not your people (and public) will rise to the occasion and meet you there.

Start by defining three things: Your mission, vision and values.

At the core, your mission states why you exist, your vision illustrates where you want to go and your values act as a measuring stick to set the tone for your culture, brand and business strategies.

These three things should receive your seal of approval and be easily accessible to your internal and external stakeholders. Repeat them early and often.

The human brain processes information and learns by repetition. So, if you think you’ve said it enough, you haven’t. At every company meeting, remind people of your mission, vision and values (MVV). Make your MVV simple enough for everyone to understand and easy enough to be memorable.

 

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