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For the last several years, MarketBeat has been a small team of four. We had written down some core values in 2013. I wanted to pull them up because we had a couple of new employees and wanted to instill them into our employees. The problem was I couldn’t find the document and couldn’t actually remember what they were, so clearly they aren’t core values, right? I decided it was probably time to take a look at our core values again, especially now that our team is growing. Core values are important because they help your team think, make decisions and work in a consistency way and the way that you would want them to. They also help describe what your company is all about to people that haven’t interacted with your company before, whether that’s new employees, partners, customers or whoever. They’re important. I do think they can be overemphasized in some cases, but they are important and every company should have them.

If you haven’t written core values down, you probably already do have core values in your company, you’ve just never thought about them. For example, my favorite coffee shop, Queen City Bakery, makes all of their baked goods from scratch. They care very highly about food quality even to the point that it erodes their profit margin because they make everything in house. For them, food quality would be a core value. I doubt they have a list of core values hanging in their back office, but that’s definitely a core value for them. You really just need to think about what’s really unique about your business and how you operate and some of your core values will begin to emerge.

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Now, you can’t just write down some core values and expect that defines your business. Core values are not really something that you can write. They’re things that emerge out of how you run your business and treat your customers and your employees. If you write down some core values and your employees think, “Huh, that doesn’t sound like us.”, they’re not really core values then. If you write down core values and your employees think, “Oh man, that describes us to T, those are definitely your core values”, those are probably your core values.

At MarketBeat, we’ve come up with a new list of core values and I wanted to walk through them with you all so you can have a better understanding of how I think and how we run our company.

  1. It’s okay to be an introvert – No mandatory company “fun.”
  2. Automate Everything – Humans shouldn’t do work that software can do.
  3. Be Data Driven – If you’re not sure, test it.
  4. Be Dependable – Do what you say you’re going to do.
  5. Be Scrappy – Don’t spend my money if you don’t have to. Protect our profit margin.
  6. Embrace Flexibility – Set your own schedule (just do the work).
  7. Have a life outside of work – MarketBeat exists to allow us to pursue our other passions.

I’d be interested to hear what you value in your business, so please comment your company’s core values below.