The 4 C’s – Creating Value

Alas, we come to our final “C” of InkleDeux’s core values. Creating value is a critical aspect to operating a successful business, yet we have it last on our list. The order of our priorities is as the blogs were published: Craft beverages, Community, Culture, Creating value.

I’m sure some of you have noticed that making money has not been a priority in any of the previous posts. It is not going to be a priority in this post either. Which begs the question, how do you become a successful business if you do not have money as a priority?

Money is a big part of business, and we will have to have money to support all of the things we want to accomplish. We cannot have making money be our prime directive though. On my first attempt to start a coffee company, I focused too much on money. I made decisions that reduced cost and increased margin, all good things, except it was at the cost of my quality. I wanted to operate in the specialty arena, but focusing on my profits resulted in decisions that pushed me down into the commodity realm.

We could have said something like, “Generate Revenue,” or “Generate Margin.” That would have put the focus on making money front and center. Instead, we choose to “Create Value.”

Value has two aspects: The tangible and intangible. These are 2 sides of the same coin.

The tangible aspect is straight forward, it’s the value of the company. Yes, we would both like to earn a paycheck and work this all day, e’ery day. There is more than just generating money though. Value in the business is both cash and potential. If there is no potential for expansion and growth, then that cash will dry up eventually. Its like treading water, eventually you’ll get tired and sink. We have to ensure our decisions generate both cash and potential. This changes our view from being focusing on the immediate nickles and dimes we can put in our pocket to the long play. It keeps us moving forward, making progress. There are other aspects of tangible value, such as offering health care, profit-sharing, higher wages, or something else that might make this a real job that can sustain our employees lives.

The intangible values are a different kind of currency. Providing personal and professional development that employees can utilize in the future are often just as valuable, especially if it is early in their work life. Offering tutoring programs to help kids with school, empowering employees to manage community projects, hosting intellectual debates, and offering entrepreneur work spaces, all add value to the participants and the community around us. These intangible values take a lot of work and are often not considered by large employers. If you are only receiving a paycheck for services rendered, you may have considered how unfulfilling that is. We ask, “why, if I make a good paycheck, am I so unhappy here?” The reason is the missing intangible values. That part of you that wants to be creative, or studious, or give back is being neglected.

We also wanted to ensure we used the word “create.” We are craftsman and our product is our creation. The environment is created by our behaviour and decisions. We do not want to fall into neglagence. The value should be a result of our seeking and finding.

We don’t want people to just work a job at our shop, we want it to be a career, bordering on vocation. We want to provide tangible and intangible value to our employees and our community…and, well, the owners too.

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