What 'Company Culture' Means to 10 Successful Entrepreneurs

10/11/2016 09:14 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Company culture is a valuable part of any business, yet it carries a different meaning no matter where you go. Here's what 10 successful entrepreneurs believe the real definition of company culture is.

A. It's Your Company's Personality

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Culture is your company's personality. And like all personalities, company culture will evolve over time as new people are added into the mix. Our company culture is like that smart aunt or uncle who enjoys working with numbers but can be silly at the same time. We hope there's an air of playful experimentation. - Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, AirPR

A. It's a Gravitational Force

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Culture is the gravitational force that draws talent and clients into your company. It's more than atmosphere, values and events. Culture is an intangible asset that is created and projected from the top down. It's the secret sauce that cultivates talent to become greater than the company itself and keeps them coming back each and every morning. - Jarrett McCraw, Mighty

A. It's "How" You Do Business

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Whatever your company's mission is, your culture is the "how" you work to support that mission. If your goal is to be the trusted business advisor to your clients, your culture should be focused on providing quality content and information that is focused on educating and informing. Culture starts at the top down, so be prepared to be the example of what it means to live your company's culture. - Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

A. It's the Brand People Don't See

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I like to think of our company's culture as an inward reflection of our brand. Our logo, website and advertising aren't the only things that give life to our brand. Our people do too. Our brand tells the world who we are, but that's because we built a brand in alignment with who we are. Our brand isn't aspirational. Our culture is the part of our brand that people don't see. - Robby Berthume, Bull & Beard

A. It's a Transparent and Nurturing Environment

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To our company, culture means how comfortable employees are with their assigned responsibilities and the environment that we carefully cultivate to make them happier and more productive while they carry out their daily duties. Culture also encompasses how we encourage positive and productive two-way communication with management to nurture growth and overall employee happiness. - Volkan Okay Yazici, Stonexchange

A. It Means Winning as a Team

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At botkeeper, culture means that we're a team. We all win together. We are a small crew, and without the trust we have in each other, we wouldn't be where we're at. Culture is about having confidence in your team and sharing all the same values. It's about support and the ability to be there for one and other. We all wear many different hats, but the key is that we have a goal and we all want to make it happen. - Enrico Palmerino, botkeeper

A. It Runs on Mutual Alignment and Respect

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At Mappedin, we run by the motto, "Never ask anyone to do anything that you haven't done or wouldn't do yourself." The other perks often associated with a "positive" startup culture (e.g. free lunches, events, ping pong, drinks on Fridays) happen organically and come easily. But what we care most about is conveying a culture of mutual alignment and respect. - Hongwei Liu, mappedin

A. It's What You Make It Out to Be

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For the first 15-20 people in your company, you as the founder define the culture. After that, your team defines it. That's why it's important to establish what your culture looks like. It defines your brand and your interactions in and out of the company. It's OK if your culture changes over a period of time; what's important is that it stays consistent across your organization. - Shilpi Sharma, Kvantum Inc.

A. It's Your Company's Energy

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Our company culture is the energy behind everything we do. It's a palpable current running through our team that visitors, partners and job seekers notice when they're in our office. That type of energy is something people naturally do or don't have. Hire for culture; then it's your responsibility to provide the resources that sustain that energy. - Zach Robbins, Margo

A. It's About Collaborating

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Culture means everything; it's how we are successful. We have instilled a collaborative culture in the office by working in a large, open room where we can bounce ideas and questions off each other. Our company culture keeps our staff from feeling isolated or afraid to ask questions. - Bryanne Lawless, BLND Public Relations

These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.