Here’s a secret about culture: Every company has one, regardless of whether you’re building it intentionally or allowing it to happen by accident. This holds true even for startups. Right out of the gate, you have the choice to mold and shape the culture you want—or to sit back and hope for the best.

Naturally, I recommend the former. Be intentional in building the kind of culture you want to see. And don’t make the common, mistaken assumption that culture-building is just for established companies. It’s something that even a brand-new business can and should take seriously.

Solutions for Building Culture at Your Startup

Solutions for Building Culture at Your Startup

But what specifically can you do to create company culture at your startup? I’ve got a few solutions I can share.

  1. Establish a set of values.

You may not know the precise identity of your company just yet, but you can probably articulate some of your most basic values—even if it’s something as simple as “the customer is always right” or a commitment to transparent communication. A good list of six or seven values can provide you with the scaffolding on which your culture is built.

  1. Everyone needs to know their place.

It’s also important that each employee understands how they fit into the big picture—how their actions and daily decisions impact the business as a whole. Articulate your sense of mission, and make sure everyone’s clear on the unique way in which they contribute.

  1. Form the right policies.

It’s not just values and mission statements that make for strong company culture. Policies matter, too—whether it’s a policy about how to handle customer inquiries, when and how PTO can be taken, etc. Make sure you think about the ways in which your policies underline your basic values.

  1. Help employees feel like they belong.

Finally, remember that culture hinges on having a coherent team, one in which everyone feels like they belong. Foster this “work family” sensibility from the beginning—whether through volunteerism, team-building activities, or something else.