Does the idea of “going corporate” make you cringe? “Being corporate,” “going corporate,” and “working for corporate” have been slurs for small business owners and independently-minded workers for at least 30 years.

Maybe you’ve felt exploited by corporate greed. Maybe you’ve felt the man condescending to you.

Or maybe you just started your business to do something different a different way.

It’s time to reclaim corporate.

It's time to reclaim going corporate.

What does “corporate” really mean? Well, the root of the word (corporare) means to form into a body. It’s been used to describe communities coming together to govern themselves and it’s been used to describe people of faith coming together to worship.

When it comes to business, going corporate means to create a body of systems: policies, models, frameworks, procedures. Going corporate means being organized, knowing how things work, and intentionally choosing to operate in a way that gets results.

Too many micro and small business owners choose to make it up as they go.

They’re fighting the need to set their marketing, product development, outsourcing, client intake, or sales into systems because they fear those systems create rigidity. But systems and frameworks don’t create rigidity, they give you a clear space to play and create in.

Going corporate gives you the ability to be more creative and take more risks.

The other reason people fear going corporate is that corporations have a reputation for hurting people. They create systems for the purpose of profit instead of for the purpose of taking care of people.

It’s like that old adage: Systems don’t hurt people, people hurt people.

There are plenty of corporations run by people who care who create systems that are efficient, effective, profitable, and people-driven. If you care about people, your systems can too.

And, just like systems and frameworks allow for more creativity, systems and frameworks also allow you to take better care of people. When people know what you expect of them, they feel more comfortable and better able to do what they need and want to do.

If you’ve been resisting going corporate with your business, it’s time to rethink your fears. There’s a whole new world waiting for you, your business, and your customers when you make the decision to strategically and intentionally run your business.