Why Your Business Needs Guiding Principles


A huge part of starting a business – no matter what industry – is creating a mission statement that will guide all aspects of how you will conduct business.  Your mission statement should be succinct, simple and easy to understand.

Your mission statement is not enough though. You need a set of standards you can share with each new employee that will set the stage for how they conduct themselves as a representative of your company. These are what I call “Guiding Principles”. Guiding principles help build your company culture. They are its foundation.

At Peoples Tax and The Income Tax School, our mission is to be a world-class provider of personalized, affordable, professional financial and educational services and products delivered with consistent quality and value.

Our Guiding Principles help define exactly what that means so that all employees know what we expect. We have 12 guiding principles and each one is defined in our employee handbook.

  1. Concern for PeopleGuiding-Principles
  2. Integrity
  3. Personal Development
  4. Excellence
  5. Quality
  6. Creativity
  7. Productivity
  8. Efficiency
  9. Communication
  10. Teamwork
  11. Image
  12. Community Service

Last week I got some great feedback after posting the blog on generating word of mouth – which is what inspired this blog.  The feedback came from a member of my Tax Business Owners LinkedIn Group.  He told me about all of the things he was doing to help others and how that was generating lots of word of mouth business for him.  He commented that Albert Einstein said: ‘A person cannot LIVE until they live outside themselves’ which to me suggests helping other people as much as possible.”

I could not agree more, Monty.  As a business owner and community member, I have always believed in helping others.  I help others in areas of personal development, in business development, and in the Richmond community.  I do this for two reasons: 1. I want to help people and share my knowledge and experience because it is the right thing to do, and 2. Helping people often results in those people helping you by making referrals, providing key contacts or endorsing you or your business.  One of my company’s Guiding Principles is “Our corporate goals will be pursued in congruity with social goals and we will contribute to the communities in which we operate.” Resources spent in this manner will usually result in a higher return on investment and will also make you feel better.

Instilling strong guiding principles like the ones I’ve listed will not only help guide your staff, but help differentiate your company from the competition.  Both The Income Tax School and Peoples Tax are governed by these principles. These principles are what set us apart and the culture we have created in the office by instilling them is what generates much of our word of mouth.

Helping new business owners and young entrepreneurs — as a mentor and as a member of numerous community organizations throughout the years — has not only helped them but has enriched my life both personally and professionally.

How does your company give back to the community? We would love to hear about it!


Further Reading:

7 Ways to Create Word of Mouth Business

Tips for Maintaining a Professional Office Image


If you don’t have a mission statement, this is an excellent read!

Stop Writing Your Mission Statement and Start Writing Your Rallying Cry