What Is a Business Creed?
Every business has foundational values that guide how it deals with its customers, employees and investors. Whether you’ve articulated these values or not, they guide your company’s principles. A company creed, also called a company philosophy, clearly states your values, providing a snapshot of your company’s culture. It also differentiates your company from your competitors.
Most entrepreneurs write a mission statement for their business when they organize, which helps them keep their company’s broadest goals in focus. It’s usually brief, working more as an ideology condensed into a slogan. Your company creed, which usually follows your mission statement or directly references it, provides more granular emphasis on your goals. The values your creed expresses are those that guide your strategy, operations and work force. While communicating your values, your creed empowers all levels of employees to understand and act on your values.
Your company creed also helps you craft a niche for your company in the marketplace by defining your goals. For example, dozens of furniture retailers might do business in your town, but a company creed that defines your company goals can help determine your corporate identity. Your company creed may foster your belief in high-quality products and attention to customer service, and these might mark you as a luxury retailer or one that stresses value and workmanship to make quality furnishings affordable to all.
Once you develop a creed that encapsulates your company’s philosophy and values, your employees have all the tools they need to ensure that your company achieves its mission. For example, if you operate the luxury home furnishing store, your company philosophy will help purchasing managers steer clear of shoddily made products with a steep markup, and your delivery staff will feel free to go the extra mile, helping customers rehang pictures and move carpets as part of their on-site services.
While your creed may seem like a few lines written in an organizational document, it represents something far more abstract than that: It’s your company’s culture, condensed in black and white. Because of this, altering your company creed isn’t as easy as merely reworking a few lines of text. If your employees completely embrace your creed and you plan to make a dramatic overhaul in company philosophy, you’ll need to introduce the changes slowly, making incremental progress toward your makeover to avoid resistance from employees, according to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.