You’ve heard it many times before: It’s the principle. But what does this mean? Principles are plumb lines by which people, groups and societies gauge adherence to morals, values, and truths. In business, principles serve as guiding forces, keeping individuals and teams on track toward personal and organizational goals. Without them, owners, managers and team members run the risk of straying from the original mission and vision. Principles can be individual — Always exceed deadlines, or group-oriented — Adhere to a replicable sales process. As one of your greatest investments and achievements, your business craves the value that guiding principles bring to it. There’s no doubt they are important, and that they impact and influence the growth and longevity of the sole proprietorship. How? In three significant ways.
Charting the Course
The owner greatly determines the direction a small business travels, especially in its early days. As team members come on board and responsibilities evolve and become shared by people with varied experiences and perspectives, this direction can become skewed. The whirlwind of daily operations can also make it difficult to see a clear path forward. As it relates to keeping the business on a solid course, staying true to a carefully curated set of principles accomplishes two things: It reinforces the importance of the original mission and vision, and it ensures everyone is fully aware of expectations and goals so the team can move forward in a shared direction.
A diverse team made up of varied contributions, skill sets, viewpoints and levels of experience is ideal. But if not kept in check, the differences meant to enrich a business’ internal culture can quickly begin to blur the lines between what is acceptable, appropriate and constructive and what is not. Frequently revisiting and re-communicating core principles reminds everyone on the team of the healthy, productive limits within which everyone is expected to work and function, all of which are designed to keep the culture, and subsequently the business, vital and thriving. Principles can also serve as effective litmus tests to help identify which team members are not fully aligned with or attuned to organizational guidelines, policies, procedures and expectations so interventions and adjustments can be made as needed.
While there is no universally agreed-upon definition of success, principles can help businesses to home in and focus on what matters most, making goal setting and task prioritization easier and more meaningful. For the business that primarily defines success as having a strong, thriving internal culture, the majority of guiding principles in that organization will likely be team- and people-focused. For another that defines success as a certain net profit, many of its top-line principles might be more fiscally focused. The healthiest businesses operate according to a well-rounded set of principles that leave no stone unturned and that equally value both individual and organizational success and achievement.
Is your business guided by ironclad principles? Take this quiz to find out.
- Can you and your team clearly and concisely articulate your business’ mission, vision and value statements?
- Is everyone on your team clear on — and on board with — the direction your business is traveling?
- Does everyone on your team regularly adhere to norms that ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in the business?
- Do you regularly take time to evaluate the guidelines, rules and values by which you personally operate?
- Do you have a clear idea of what constitutes both individual and financial success in your business?
If you answered no to most of these questions, you and your landscaping business could benefit from a clear set of guiding principles. Visit www.landopt.com to find out how LandOpt can keep your business on course and guide it to greater success.