Corporate Culture for One: How Sole Proprietors Can Boost Their Creativity and Productivity

Corporate culture is important, no matter the size of your business and many believe that it directly relates to a businesses overall success. But what if you are a company of only one (or two or three)? 




I am blogging on behalf of Visa Business and received compensation for my time from Visa for sharing my views in this post, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Visa’s. Visit to take a look at the reinvented Facebook Page: Well Sourced by Visa Business. The Page serves as a space where small business owners can access educational resources, read success stories from other business owners, engage with peers, and find tips to help businesses run more efficiently. Every month, the Page will introduce a new theme that will focus on a topic important to a small business owner’s success. For additional tips and advice, and information about Visa’s small business solutions, follow @VisaSmallBiz and visit


Corporate Culture for One: How Sole Proprietors Can Boost Their Creativity and Productivity


Businesses of all sizes are learning the importance of corporate culture. In fact, research shows that the majority of workers feel an organization’s company culture is closely tied to its success. But for a sole proprietor, there are no other employees to motivate and inspire. Still, every business has a corporate culture, and it shows to each client, customer, and industry colleague a business comes across in a given day.

What is Corporate Culture?

In a business, “culture” refers to the morals, vision, and beliefs shared by all of its workers. This set of core values drives everything a company does, making it unique from all others in the industry.

Whether a sole proprietor is an inventor working from his basement or a one-woman PR firm buying her first office space, workplace culture is in place from the first day an idea is formed. Each business owner should approach various phases of developing a new business in his or her own unique way. That unique way is what defines the corporate culture for that business.

For instance, an aspiring bakery owner starting a shop in her own kitchen would tackle each day in a different manner than another aspiring bakery owner. She might get up at five a.m. and bake enough cupcakes to pack into a van and deliver to local shop owners. A different baker might bake large numbers of muffins and drive them to office buildings to sell to business owners.

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The primary reason corporate culture has such a direct impact on a business’s success is that the corporate culture drives employee morale. A company that maintains a casual, fun environment might find that it appeals to younger workers who have a less traditional approach to projects and dealings with clients. A more straight-laced, traditional workplace may find that while workers are more conservative in their dealings with clients, they also tend to have more conservative approaches to projects.

In a sole proprietorship, the business owner has his or her own approach to dealing with each project. While it might not matter how that sole proprietor behaves alone in an office, that casual vs. straight-laced approach shows through to each client. It contributes to a business’s overall image, which eventually sets the tone for that business’s operations, whether it grows to include more employees or remains a sole proprietorship.

How to Define Your Culture

Some small businesses don’t realize what their corporate culture is until it’s already developed. Just as it’s important for a small business owner to develop and maintain a corporate culture that fits his or her own personal vision, it’s equally important for a sole proprietor to craft and maintain a corporate culture.


By writing a mission statement, along with your goals and objectives, you can make a conscious decision to set up a corporate culture that fits your own core values. Then, as your business grows, you can share that mission statement with each new employee to ensure you’re all working in the same direction.

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