Weights, metaphor for value
palm, readings
What is important to you is communicated by your personality.

How to find your entrepreneurial values

Identify and describe the personal preferences, general principles and cultural values that drive you to grow a company.

Define your role as an entrepreneur

The role of an entrepreneur has to be accepted by the entrepreneur and perceived as appropriate by stakeholders. The role comprises a set of obligations and values. Founders may take on a role with cultural influence to sway potential stakeholders’ perception, and with organisational influence over partners. An entrepreneur also plays the role of achiever when he needs to function strategically in taking decisions or negotiating. Entrepreneurial roles define what each person in a start-up is supposed to do. The solo entrepreneur may at some point hold all the roles in a company. Other prominent roles include being the social hub, the strategist, the adaptor, the one with discipline and the one with focus. The role identity of an entrepreneur is based on the various social positions that the individual holds within the social structure of the business.

A new way of doing business

Entrepreneurs perform entrepreneurial actions with or for stakeholders such as customers, employees and suppliers. They establish solutions to problems through entrepreneurial actions and have a new way of doing business. Entrepreneurial actions have to be done in a new fashion because it has not been done before.

Entrepreneurs have a new way of doing business.

The implementation of entrepreneurial actions is all action and not much conscious thinking. At the intersection between society and individuals, entrepreneurs use their existing knowledge and experience to create new types of actions.

Founder personality

Founder personality is an alignment of personal values within start-up operations. Personality either enhances or suppresses a culture. The behaviour of the founders bears the ideology and influences the culture. The organisational culture will distinguish itself from other cultures by the value aspects of the founder culture. The culture may be further developed by mindfully focusing on the processes in the business system. Articulating and communicating the cultural identity will enforce its development in early days as well as in a mature organisation. The personality is shaped by the set of values that this person or group of people possesses. It is the founder’s obligation to influence the cultural identity by using his behaviour as a tool.

Values that drive your venture

Value-driven entrepreneurs seek to transform society as a whole through business. Value-driven entrepreneurs have great ideals and fundamental human values and want to act on them by creating a business. Entrepreneurs that are driven to follow their inspiration of fundamental values are empathetic and create value through their business. There is no contradiction between finding an opportunity to create value for stakeholders and making an opportunity to make a better world. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who are agile but stay focused on their founding values. People want to make money, but they also want to make a difference. Creating a culture of values is how to do both.

Discover your stakeholders' values

Stakeholders include not only the founders or owners of the firm but the community where the company may affect the economic, social or environmental welfare. The stakeholder theory identifies groups of people who have an interest in a corporation and describes methods to understand their needs and expectations.

Entrepreneurs are trying to create value for stakeholders.

To prioritise between members of the community, an organisation needs to focus on the most significant stakeholders who could benefit from the organisation and its offerings. Entrepreneurs create value by trying to enhance outcomes for several stakeholders, as well as by developing understanding and agreement on solutions to issues. A broader mapping of the "secondary stakeholders" may include the general public, communities, government, activist and support groups, and the media. Stakeholder theory not only supports ethics in business management, but it may also be used as a framework for corporate social responsibility and thereby strengthen the brand.

Be guided by the brands' ideals

A brand ideal is the brand’s or organisation’s higher purpose, which goes beyond the product or service it sells. Businesses that have faster growth and who stay in business longer have something special driving them and something special attracting non-customers, customers and employees. The challenge for the new generation of entrepreneurs is no longer about the best business model; it’s about creating authentic, deep values. From the moment companies connect with partners and recruit people, in every instance in their relationships they state the ideals they want their stakeholders to pursue. A global growth study reveals that those who steer their business based on the ideals of improving people’s lives have triple the growth of competitors in their categories. Cultures with values of secularism and self-expression also have ideals; they are just different from traditional cultures.

Startup region with religious or secular cultural values

Secular-rational values contradict traditional values on religion, ethnicity, governance, compliance and matrimony. Priorities shift from traditional to secular-rational values as a sense of existential security increases and become more traditional as the sense of security decreases. The main concerns of the hierarchy culture are stability, predictability and efficiency, held together by formal rules and policies. The largest shift from traditional towards secular-rational values happens because of a change in perceived security. This affects the kind of businesses that are being established. Cultures which are traditional yet self-expressive are more likely to report awareness of business opportunities and have confidence in their skills to implement a start-up. The ability to start a firm depends on national/regional values and the stability of these value structures over time.

Find out if your region has survival or self-expression values?

Survival-value cultures do not accept homosexuality, abstain from political action, distrust outsiders and have a weak sense of happiness. When survival remains uncertain, the desire for physical and economic security takes precedence over democracy. A self-expressive value includes the feeling of being able to use your life to do what you want.

Millennial entrepreneurs want to start movements.

Millennial entrepreneurs don't just want to start businesses; they want to start movements and express their personalities at the same time. The strongest weight on survival values is in Islamic societies of the Middle East, while in the societies of Northern Europe, the emphasis is on self-expression values. Confidence in the ability to start a company depends on the cultural values of self-expression rather than those of survival.

Are values converging into global values or are they strictly local?

The confluence of habits has contributed to the belief that globalisation brings converging values. In fact, mass values have not been converging over the past three decades. Some people feel that the supremacy of American culture influencing the entire world will result in the end of cultural diverseness. However, globalisation makes for a growing divergence between the values in low-income countries and the values in high-income countries. Understanding other cultures and advanced knowledge of foreign languages enhance the entrepreneur’s capacity to interact with workers and consumers worldwide. Globalised business behaviour will become comparable because customers will embrace the common values and behaviour. Today, businesses of any size can compete globally because they can sell locally made products online. An increasing number of companies go global-first.

Understanding how our environment and personalities shape our values helps me recognise the behaviour that emphasises my values. Do you know what forces shaped your values? Please leave a comment below.
Christian Leborg

Christian Leborg

Christian Leborg is a visual communicator and branding consultant. He specialises in building brand strategies and brand identities. Christian has worked with several specializations within visual communication as well as teaching and being an author. Christian now works on his third stint as an entrepreneur.