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Building a Successful Company Culture, From the Inside Out

Why culture matters, and how to preserve it when you scale up.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Jeff Bezos was famously quoted as saying, "Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room." That might ring true for a giant brand like Amazon, with millions of faceless customers, but for a startup like ours, things hit a lot closer to home. The way we see it at Halla — a "taste intelligence company" that harnesses application programming interface (API) tech to enable retailers to predict the preferences of shoppers in real-time (which drives both retailer sales and customer retention) — our small company culture is our "brand," and that culture is reflected by what our employees think, say and do, whether we are in the room or not.
My two co-founders and I essentially began with a brand already in place. The three of us have been close friends since we were young teenagers, and brought our own personal culture to the table the moment we started Halla. It is one aspect of what one of our advisors, the legendary James McCann, describes as, "just the way we do things around here."

From the beginning, it was important for us to define what kind of place this company would be to work in, and for. And as we've looked back at what got us to where we are today, it turns out that understanding and articulating our own culture made a big difference — I dare say one even worth sharing with readers.

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