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I stumbled recently (in fact today) on this Japanese Company: Rakuten. And it made feel optimistic about what entrepreneurs should do in an age of Internet:

Businesses compete in markets all over the globe. How can you predict which companies will win and which will lose?

There are many factors that may contribute to one company’s success, but when two go head-to-head, I evaluate an often-overlooked factor to help predict the winner: which company has the strongest corporate culture.

As a business tool, culture is often sidelined as a “soft” element of corporate life. But I’d argue that a strong culture can tip the scales of success. It is culture that creates the environment in which people do their best work. A company can have many advantages, but if it lacks a strong corporate culture, it may never be able to turn those advantages into a win.

How can you build your culture so that it positions you as a winner?

  • Start from day one. Culture should be part of your discussion from the very first days of your business and not left until later.
  • Put it in writing. The bigger you get, the harder it is to communicate with your growing staff. Put your culture points in writing so that everyone can access and understand them.
  • Set culture as part of your everyday operations. At Rakuten, our key corporate culture attributes appear on signs in every conference room in our headquarters. Our culture is all around us, all the time. It is not a topic we visit occasionally, it is a core element of our existence we experience every day.

Head to head, our strong culture gives us an advantage. ”