You already know the importance of your individual DNA – it is the carrier of your genetic information. It determines the color of your skin, hair, and eyes, your height and weight, your core personality traits. In short – you are who you are in the largest part because of your DNA.

Much like your own DNA that provides the core of who you are, your company also has a DNA. Instead of hair color or height (because companies don’t have those), it provides the mission, vision, values, operating procedures, and key messaging for your company. Why it exists and the problems it solves.

These items are the foundation of your business on which everything else is built. Developing and writing down your core company identity is one of the most important foundational steps for any organization. It provides a deep and clear understanding of the heart of the organization.

If you don’t know who you are at your core – what your strengths and weaknesses are, why you are doing what you are doing, the impact you want to make on the world – you will never have a solid foundation for your business. When things get tough, if you don’t have a guidepost to look to, you are more likely to make decisions and do things that don’t fall in line with who you are or want to be.

There is a country song from the early nineties that says, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” I think the sentiment is true, especially in business. There are a lot of people who fall into the trap of doing anything they can to secure clients, get business, and turn a profit that they end up a version of themselves they aren’t happy with.

Take a deep and honest look at your business identity, and write it down in a clear and concise manner so you have something to look to when you are challenged.

Having your key strengths and competitive advantages clearly articulated will solidify your brand. It ensures everyone on the team is sharing the same message and it keeps you from chasing shiny objects.

There are potentially lots of things you could do—and things you would be good at—but if you truly focus on where you are the best you will have a clearer path to move your business forward.

Having a clear picture of your vision and mission fuels the fire of the organization and provides motivation to keep going.

There is an ultimate impact or change you want to make in the world with your business, or you wouldn’t be doing it. Money won’t be enough to push through the hard times. But staying true to that vision for the future will keep you going when things get tough—and they will. Trust me.

Having a clear list of values that your company will always operate by will make the challenging decisions that much easier.

Outlining the top three to six things that matter most will provide a guidepost for you and your team. When you are in a situation where the choice might not be clear cut, you can look to your core values to provide guidance.

Knowing who you are and what you stand for as an organization keeps you grounded and moving forward with clarity and integrity.

Have you thought deeply about the identity and DNA of your organization? Have you asked yourself and your team the tough questions about what you do, why you do it, and the impact you want to make? Have you written any of it down for all team members, customers, partners and stakeholders to see?

Get our checklist and make sure you are asking and answering the right questions when developing your company identity.