As an entrepreneur, knowingly or not, YOU are your company's culture, and that culture sets the tone for how your company operates and communicates every single day.
No matter the size of your company, maintaining a strong culture that YOU define is important for many reasons, including the optimization of productivity, and employee retention.
Whether you like it or not, the way you react to things, what you're afraid of, and what makes you excited every day are all parts of that overall culture your company will adopt.
Scaling your business while maintaining your corporate culture isn't easy--and if you don't feed it deliberately, it will silently slip away--especially once you get a larger team and a heavier workload.
Here are a few ways to keep your morale up and culture strong from some awesome companies:
Connect with your employees often
Daina Trout, Co-Founder & CEO of Health-Ade Kombucha says she is "a firm believer that each employee needs to feel connected to the company at every single level. Of course, and I'd argue most importantly, they first need to understand their job expectations and how to succeed; this means managers should touch base regularly with each direct report (I require it weekly) to ensure everyone's on the same page."
If it's possible, hold candid one-on-ones where you can talk about anything. Invite your team to talk to you about their goals, concerns, focuses and the company.
Be clear about the company mission and vision
To further the point above, you need a strong company mission to point back to. If no one knows what the common goal is, it's impossible to create a strong loyalty, not to mention retain customers.
Always be clear about company direction, especially if there are any changes - even if its really hard.
Develop your people
Loyalty to your team starts by developing the ones that you see promise. There is nothing more rewarding as a leader to watch them grow into larger positions. People will step up if you need them to. You just have to trust.
Put it down on paper.
Another great tip from Daina, as I sit here nodding, drinking my Kombucha... "Founders have it figured out, but they fail to articulate and communicate it to their employees. Once the company grows, suddenly their culture is way off base and it feels like a different company. Do yourself a favor--take a week to write it down, define your company culture (not to mention your reason for existence, your vision, your strategy, etc.) and then communicate it with your people A LOT."
I agree with her. I've had to do quite a bit of searching for myself trying to figure out my own vision. Sometimes I don't even know where we're going but as a leader you have to hold it together and steer the ship!
The path to success is not a straight one, so the more you write down, the more you will feel sane. Believe me.
*Note: I am not affiliated with Health-Ade in any way other than our entire company loves it and a friend of mine does their PR...and I think its a smart and well branded startup.