Founding Principles, Do You Have Them?

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As you’re getting started with your new company, possibly the last thing on your mind will be defining the principles you want to run your company by for years to come.  You don’t even know if your product will work or if customers will pay money for it.  So why waste time on company principles?  The answer is because the moment you start hiring your first few employees, the culture of your company will start to get defined and you want some influence on that.

Many people think a company’s culture is something that just naturally develops from the collection of personalities and actions taken by the founders and employees.  And for sure there is a lot of truth to that.  But what can you do as a founder or founding team to set a foundation upon which the company culture develops?  The answer lies in what I and others call “founding principles”.  Some might use a different term like “core values”.  Regardless, these are mantras you declare and are almost never willing to deviate from.  They serve as the litmus test for critical decisions.  They serve as the mottos or slogans employees will voice later and will set the bar they will strive to achieve for personal recognition.

Said a different way, you’re trying to cause the company’s culture to be the implementation of, and evidence of, your founding principles.

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