LESSONS WE HAVE LEARNT #2 ‘BRAND AND CULTURE’
The first 18 months are critical for a new company. Literally every decision you make affects the brand and the culture you are creating. It can be hard in these early days with so many decisions to be made – and these early decisions are pretty important we think. Here is what worked for us:
1. Be aware that every decision affects your brand in these early days, from packaging design, products you launch with and pricing, through to where your products/services are stocked or seen. Saying no can be just as important as saying yes.
2. Find the best possible people to work with. You cannot expect to have all the answers. Find talented and like-minded experts to help with what you know you are not so good at.
3. Create some guiding principles to help with decision-making. For us, we used the concept of simplicity to guide key decisions. ‘What is the decision that creates the most simplicity?’. In the long run, having simple solutions will make the company stronger. We also referenced Japanese design principles – but more on this another time.
4. Don’t rush things. Often time solves problems and a better solution becomes clear. At the same time, it is important to feel like you are in a hurry to get your products/services out there as fast as you can. Every product or service can be improved on – launch with what you have. And continue to perfect it over time
5. Creating a company means creating a culture. Think through what’s important to you and how you want your organisation to behave. For us, that meant building a company based on high integrity, doing the right thing in every regard and building strong trust-based relationships. This means we treat others with kindness, we pay bills on time or early if we can and we offer strong support to those we choose to work with (staff, stockist and suppliers).
6. Treat mistakes as opportunities. Without fail, whenever we have faced what has seemed like a problem or failure, it has lead to a better outcome in the long run. Believing this also helps us in dealing with mistakes. People do make mistakes and moving forward from them is far better for everyone than reprimanding or making someone feel bad.