When you start your business you usually do it because you love something, you are good at something and you can see a gap in the market for that. What most of us don’t do is think about everything else around it, everything else that comes with running a business. Values are one of those things. It seemed completely natural to me to have them, but then most people I speak to wonder why/how/what they are used for in a small business.
I’ve been in many a corporate role where we ‘refresh’ the values, ‘launch’ the values. We hired to the values, trained to them, and even put them into the performance structure. But were they ever FULLY integrated, I can honestly say no! I saw interviewing managers choose skill over value every day, experience over integrity. At the end of the day, the values were on the walls and the website and that’s it.
In a small business, I think values are easier to incorporate because they are usually YOUR values. The business is you! And that makes them easier to live and breathe. But what are they? And why have them? And how do we get them? Read on people, read on!
What are values?
Values are something that runs deep, something that you base your decisions, thoughts, and actions on. They’re ingrained in you from an early age, they’re your fundamental beliefs. Yes, some can change or adapt as you grow but mostly you stay true to you. We can however lose our way, we can find ourselves sat in a room full of people listening to something we don’t believe in and not speak up, we can find ourselves working in a company that doesn’t align with a personal value. Even though they are ‘natural’ to us, it doesn’t mean they are easy to stick to.
How about business values?
The same. Something that is born with the business, but again can change. I use mine as pillars of the business and I have found that as a single director they can help when making decisions or on projects that you would usually have a team for. Mine are completely aligned to me, because, for now, I am the business. The reason I have adapted them and thought bigger is because I am onboarding associates and expanding the team. It helps to keep a level of consistency and awesome service for my clients.
Why have them?
So, let’s say I needed a new supplier for printed goods! I would do an online search but in my heart I know I am using a local/smaller company. I know I get better service from them and one of my business values is Be You. I shop local and support small, so why would I do different in my business.
Or, like today, I made a big decision in my business to join a membership that will upskill me in Building an Online Audience. This isn’t overly useful for my direct business but Being Brave and Being Adventurous I know this will serve my ideal client now and, in the future, once my new packages are live. So, I need something where I will keep up to date, keep focused, and know I am delivering the best I can do. If I hadn’t decided to live true to my values, I wouldn’t have invested, I would’ve sat tight, stayed small, and bought mini-courses/coaching calls as and when I needed them. It wasn’t about looking at what I need right now or even what my current clients need, it’s about thinking forward, thinking past that.
How do I create them?
I followed a really simple process of looking at my own values and basically flipping them to apply to the business. Ask yourself these questions:
- What matters to me?
- What do I love the most?
- What are my favourite powerful words?
- What matters to my clients?
- How do I want people to feel when they work with me?
Just doing this you will come up with loads of words that mean something to you and then you can see what integrates into your business. Also then think:
- What will help me make the right decision?
- What would move my business forwards?
- Can I live true to these every day?
My 5th value is the 5th only because it underpins everything- and that is have fun every day! EVERY DAY! I’ve worked my a** off in corporate roles for no reward, poor pay, no gratification and I didn’t even enjoy it. At times I thought I did and there were definitely FAB days, but the rest of the days were ‘ok’ ‘meh’ ‘boring’. So HAVE FUN is important to me, I love to work but that work needs to be fun. Even when there are boring tasks I set up a fun reward!
Once you have them, just get them on your website, your socials, write a blog, do a news drop and then talk about them when you can. Maybe use them as your social media content pillars, show examples of you, your team, your suppliers, your freelancers, anyone in your chain living those values.
You don’t need to have amazing banners created; you don’t need to decal your office walls (I mean that would just look silly in my office/guest bedroom!
You just need to know them, live by them and they will help you, make decisions easier and guide you. They will clear and organise your mind.
I know what it’s like to have that massive list of ‘stuff’ you never thought you’d have to do, I have been there. But please trust me in the value of values 😂😆🤣
You know what to do if you want me to sweat some of the small stuff while you focus on the big dreams- book a call here.