Most entrepreneurs are way ahead of big business when it comes to being close to their values, and I’ll bet you have a really good idea of what values and philosophies you’ve based your business on — am I right?
You decided when you started your business that it was going to fit you, and be a good match for the way you live your life. But do you really use your values to help guide you when making decisions for your business? Doing so consciously can make decisions easier, lower your stress level, attract your ideal clients to you, and help you build your expert brand.
Try it and see Begin right now to consciously act, speak, behave, relate, and communicate in ways that represent your values, and watch what happens. Be purposeful and representative in how you present yourself and your business — be aware. For example, if one of your values is that “family comes first,” bring it forward. In your conversations, when you talk to customers, partners, vendors, anyone you come into contact with — your family values should be apparent. When making presentations, when doing the actual work, represent that value. When setting up the systems of your business, plan them around setting aside time for your family. Over time, this way of thinking will become a part of the way you do business.
Decision making becomes easier Decision making becomes easier when your values are defined. As entrepreneurs, we are always looking for opportunities — and sometimes we get opportunities that we’re not too sure about. Looking at your values and really considering them will give you great insight and the knowledge and understanding to be able to say, “Yes, this is a great opportunity for my business (it matches my values),” or “I’ll pass on this. It’s not for me (it doesn’t match my values).” This may surprise those around you who say, “What!? Dude, this could be huge — what is your problem?” Your answer: “It doesn’t line up with my core values and purpose – it’s not what we’re passionate about.” It’s not the direction you’re going. It doesn’t fit you. And you only have to look to your values to know whether it does or not.
It will help you stand out to your ideal client Your values can be very visible to your clients and customers, as it should become the way that everyone in your company acts and speaks. This can be part of your “pull” strategy, a differentiator, and the way you attract clients to you.
If one of your values is to be “friendly,” and if friendliness truly permeates everything you do, it will be noticed by clients and prospects. You can’t be friendly and not have it be noticed and become part of your company’s reputation.
You’ll also be able to judge your marketing and communications — advertising, brochures, speaking, website copy — for “friendliness.” If it doesn’t look and sound friendly, you’ll know it doesn’t fit your values. These values can become filters for all your promotions.
Aligning with your values is a great way to bond with your team Bringing your values into your business also works several ways with your team, all for the good. Your team members should share and embody the values you’ve introduced, which will be a big help in recruiting and hiring decisions — be sure to look for common values during interviews.
You should also represent your values when relating to your existing team — these are not just external values. Be friendly and authentic with your team, and let them know what your true values are. Find out what theirs are. There isn’t a better way to bond a team together than to live your values at work — people are not just looking for a place to pass time, they’re looking for a place to belong. Notice I’m not advising you to act a certain way, but to be what is the truth for you — you can’t make this stuff up. That means there will be missteps along the way of course, but if you’re on the level and you’re sincere, your team will understand, and you’ll all be the better for it.
Align your systems, too When setting up systems for your business, whether internal or external, they need to fit your values, too. If “integrity” is one of your values, then your systems should have integrity — or they should be friendly, or whatever they need to be to fit your values. You’re starting to get the picture, right?
Aligning your business with your values helps you to know what fits you and what to pass on. Sometimes knowing what to say “no” to is very, very valuable.
The bottom line with all of this is authenticity. If you live your values, and use them to help you make decisions, and represent them in your actions and your interactions with people, you’ll have a cohesive, stable base, people will know what to expect from you, and you’ll be building your brand. You’ll find yourself to be much less stressed in the long run, because you’ll have a structure to hang your business on, and it will fit you. You can tweak it and refine it as you and your business grow — and it will deepen over time. You’ll find yourself letting go of the “should’s” and doing what feels right for your heart and the soul of your business.
You’ll hear people describe you and your business in certain ways that will make you proud, because your values will shine through.
And you’ll find that true success comes from who and what you’re being, rather than what you’re doing.