Entrepreneur

What Does Your Company Stand For?

The road to excellence begins with defining and embracing a positive, effective company culture.
A healthy philosophy: Paul Lindley of Ella's Kitchen. Source: Photo Š James Merrell

Mike West started BPV Capital Management five years ago, and since then he has shepherded the mutual-fund company through some dramatic expansion. In the past year alone, Knoxville, Tenn.-based BPV has nearly doubled its work force to 38 employees. Ask West about the key to his firm's growth, and he mentions hard work and innovation. But he also points to the importance of a company culture that has been enforced from day one.

West describes BPV as simultaneously "intense" and "relaxed." How does that work? "I think if you're going to get anything done, you have to have a mindset that you're going to go at it pretty hard," West says. "But if you're going to be innovative, creative and disruptive, you have to have the freedom to smile and relax."

Lighting the flame of a company culture is a necessary step in any entrepreneurial venture. But keeping that flame lit as the company grows from, say, a handful of charter employees to dozens, hundreds or more, is an essential daily

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