Maintaining values as you grow
Why you need to maintain your values as you grow
To grow a business you have to know your brand and stick to your core values, says Craig Bunting, Co-founder of BEAR
“Where did the name BEAR come from?” The no-frills, honest answer is, “BEAR was simply a name that
my friend was going to call his kid.” However, putting that simple answer in the context of myself and Michael’s personal culture, lifestyle, shared ethos and values really meant that the name BEAR actually subconsciously stood for something.
Growing a brand requires the help of other people which, in turn, creates shared ownership of our further brand values and purpose. Nevertheless, these should all still naturally be built from the foundation of a relationship.
The first step in maintaining your values as you grow is about going back to your grassroots. Remember why you started this thing. BEAR has been on an exciting journey of growth – we’ve opened additional stores and grown a large team of people who are all taking ownership of our brand and inputting into its direction.
After opening our second store, we realised that we needed some input to help us understand our next step and to really begin to define our values, enabling us to fully engage and take ownership of them as a wider team.
After two years of building our core senior team from the foundation of relationship and common interest, we felt there would be huge value in defining our purpose as a brand, casting vision and creating BEAR’s core values. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity, with funding from our local LEP (D2N2), to bring in a coach that could journey us through the next steps.
Our coach nurtured engagement among our core team and listened to our discussions about what we were doing, what we loved and how various successes and challenges at the time made us feel. She observed our actions and influences and helped us to understand that BEAR is a brand that really thrives on passion. BEAR is a lifestyle and is defined more by actions that we portray as a brand rather than the words we say.
This is where we took our values to the next stage and did something I would wholeheartedly encourage any business leaders to do (if you’re not already!). We brought together a wider group of our team, ordered pizzas, and chatted about where BEAR all began and how we arrived at where we are now. We came to the conclusion that BEAR is a people-focused business and our teams, therefore, embody everything we do. However, with so many great personalities within a larger group of people, we needed to tackle how to keep everyone focused in making the right choices and using their personality to add value to our business, driving things in the same direction and in-line with our vision.
You need to be able to bring your values to life. They can’t just be words on paper, they need to be something that the wider team can embody, take ownership of and be held accountable to. In summary, accountability is key. Accountability not only ensures shared ownership of values, but it actually creates a care for that ownership. BEAR serves specialty coffee, fresh food, cocktails and craft beer in beautifully thought-out spaces.
Our purpose is to be a challenger brand and our vision is to grow the business, build people
and have fun.