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Building a "Good" Company

The weekly radio broadcast, Start Something, Columbia! took on corporate culture today. Here are the show notes:

Start Something, Columbia! is made possible by the McNair Institute for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at the University of South Carolina and by the Women’s Business Center of South Carolina at Columbia College.

Music today from Villanova: Brian Connor of Villanova is a Freeway Music instructor and certified rock star. Enjoy Villanova here and here.

Theme for the day:

Continuing our study of The Hard Thing About Hard Things with Ben’s section on building a “Good Company”

  • Building a “good” company — what do we mean by good? Taking care of people, products, and profits in that order.

  • The value of Training in your organization — as a solopreneur building your skills, as a micro employer helping people see your vision, etc.

  • Company culture — awareness of it, building it, maintaining it

Agenda review:

We’ll hear from Patrick Jinks of The Jinks Perspective, he’s a leadership coach that works with non-profits.

We’re continuing our study on The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz and are talking today specifically about building a “good” company and what that means.

Last we’ll outline some events happening this week.

Segment 1:

This week at 1 MC -- Patrick Jinks -- leadership coach and owner of The Jinks Perspective

Why did you start your own company?

Who is your target audience?

What do you hope to get out of speaking at 1MC?

Segment 2:

Building a good company - taking care of people, products, and profits. NOTE the order.

Building quality-focused companies (products and profits)

Five Habits of Quality-Focused Companies:

  1. They set clear expectations.

  2. They collect and analyze data.

  3. They invest in capacity.

  4. They promote from within.

  5. They celebrate victories.

Focusing on People and Products means that the Profits will come! When not focusing on people (and the processes that train, unite, and encourage them) or products (innovative, new, affordable, competitive), even the best of companies can go bad.

Segment 3:

Value of Training - building your own skills and making people see your vision

  • Training helps your employees to address their strengths and weaknesses and in doing so, increases consistency, productivity, and satisfaction

  • Consider training an investment that will more than pay for itself in the long run. It is invaluable to have a united team that has a shared vision and the same knowledge of processes and expectations to be more productive, efficient, and happy


Just because you are your own boss does not mean that you do not need to hold yourself accountable and set expectations of yourself. Leadership, responsibility, and inspiration are just as important in solopreneurs, if not more so, than in big CEOs; skills rated most important for entrepreneurs and leaders of entrepreneurial ventures:

  1. Promoting an ethical environment

  2. Acting with authenticity

  3. Understanding and interpreting the competitive environment

  4. Developing trust in relationships with other employees

  5. Demonstrating optimism and enthusiasm for organizational objectives

  6. Demonstrating dedication and effort

  7. Promoting a sense of responsibility for the whole organization

  8. Creating cohesive teams within my business unit

  9. Communicating strategic frameworks

  10. Engaging other employees in the strategic vision

  11. Understanding and interpreting changes in the economic environment

  12. Acting fairly towards others

  13. Developing strategic frameworks

  14. Promoting teamwork

  15. Serve as a role model

Some of these stories teach us the most important lessons about being a solopreneur:

  • persistence,

  • observation and problem-solving skills,

  • learning how to balance several things at once, and

  • willingness to take risks

Company Culture


The focus of companies has shifted from top-down management to a more collaborative, community-focused corporate culture. The sooner companies realize that and adapt to it, the more likely they are to succeed.

Benefits of a strong culture:

  • Identity - the values of your company, operating principles

  • Retention - attract and retain top talent

  • Image and brand identity - your culture is an extension of an example of the brand identity you’re trying to get your customers to buy into and buy from.


Creating a culture of quality throughout all employees (connect back to building a good company)

“We define a “true culture of quality” as an environment in which employees not only

  • follow quality guidelines but also

  • consistently see others taking quality-focused actions,

  • hear others talking about quality, and

  • feel quality all around them.”

8 steps to building a great company culture

  1. Learn from the past

  2. Create a culture that aligns with your core values

  3. Find great people who complement you

  4. Communicate

  5. Have Fun

  6. Invite people to drink the kool-aid

  7. Work as a team

  8. Maintain and carefully evolve your culture


Maintaining corporate culture is often harder than creating it:

  1. Be transparent and maintain clear expectations

  2. Be consistent and stress accountability

  3. Invest in enriching and maintaining your workplace culture

  4. Hire values-compatible people

What about when your business starts to grow? It is possible to still maintain a positive culture:

9 Ways to Keep Company Culture at Your Start-Up

  1. Hold all feet to the fire

  2. Enforce the penalty

  3. Remember where you came from

  4. Hire with heart

  5. Culture must be universal

  6. Build and maintain

  7. Don’t compromise

  8. Don’t poison the well

  9. Lead by example


What are your company’s KEY VALUES? How have you built those values into everyday operations? How are you sharing them with employees and customers?

Segment 4:

Events of the week --

Find the Point! Thursday at Publico in Five Points, come out and meet Shane Sweeney of Swampfox Radio.

On Location with Lorie Gardner -- the Women’s Business Center of SC invites you to visit Lorie Gardner’s Mad Monkey Productions on Friday from 3-5 p.m. to see what it looks like behind the scenes in a real production company. Register here.

Shop the Rosho Live closet is today at 5 p.m. at Styled by Naida on Lady Street. Register on Eventbrite.

The W.H.O.L.E. Launch is this week. Join Tameika Isaac Devine and Betty parker -- both friends of the show -- as they embark on a new journey of Women Helping Other Ladies Excel that’s at 617 Lady Street, door open at 5:30 on Thursday, June 21. Register on Eventbrite.

Next week -- Caffeinated Conversations with the United Way of the Midlands on the topic of How Small Business Can Make a Big Impact. Ron Harvey and Ashlye Wilkerson, both 1MCers and friends of the show, will be part of that event. It’s Wednesday June 27th from 7:45 until 9 at Midlands Technical College’s Center for Entrepreneurial Success. Register on

Interested in sponsoring Start Something, Columbia! or advertising to our audience? Call 803-569-8200 today.

#Villanova #entrepreneur #corporateculture #companyculture #business

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