How can you expect people to buy from you vs. an established brand, when they don't know what to expect?
I was listening to a podcast episode by @msrachelhollis, (episode 5) where her and her husband went over their core values as a couple. This allowed them to check in with each other easier, think before acting, and make decisions as a family with more confidence.
While listening, not only did a small lightbulb go off in my head, but it made me want to apply this concept to my whole life! Why didn't I know my own values, let alone the values in my relationship, brand, or family.
It made me wonder if my whole life, and the lives of others would be so much better if we had a set of five or six things that we always had in the back of our minds as a compass. My virgo self couldn't help but obsessively get excited about this idea. Finally, I didn't feel so lost.
I got home, and Carlos and I started talking about this poor business decision I made, (not arguing just talking about solutions and how we would move forward). I, seeing an opportunity, mentioned we needed some brand values. Perplexed by the idea, Carlos enquired. I told him, almost any place I had worked at before, had a set of company values that was part of our training. It let employees know what the company expected from us, it helped customers know what they were purchasing and what they could expect from the product, and it helped the company stay on brand. We both agreed it was smart, and I felt relieved, because going forward, I wouldn't ever have to make a decision for our business if it didn't align with our values as a brand.
** Side note: I am interchanging brand and business. Right now we have a business, but our long term goal is to have a brand. ***
We came up with these six core values: C R A F T S M A N S H I P
we believe in owning artistry and using our hands-- that each product we provide something uniquely made.
C A R E
the product we deliver was made with purpose and delivered with positivity, that is our version of consistency. Each element to our craft is important, from the materials to the packaging. We commit to a high degree of excellence, quality, and put time and love into each process.
R E L A T I O N S H I P S
if you work with us, our relationship extends beyond customer/merchant, we value you as an individual and see our customers as friends and extensions of our brand
H O S P I T A L I T Y
we are here to serve you, your needs, and prove example of how the world should treat each other
P E R S O N A L I T Y
each of our products, and people have their own individual flare we love finding the differences in the world and highlighting those as strengths
S T O R Y
Lady and Lion acknowledges that each person has their own history we want that to be highlighted because story is what becomes legacy.
After making these, I decided this is an epic tip for business owners. It defines a certain level of clarity that I think is necessary to move to another level of business. Here are 5 reasons your business needs values.
1.) Defines a framework for employees, customers, and the business.
Like I mentioned above, how can you expect someone to purchase something if they don't know what they are investing in. Consumers have gotten smarter with time. They can smell a murky merchant from a mile away. Additionally, as BrianTracy says in The Art of Closing the Sale, "A confused mind says no." If you're lost in your business, how can you expect anyone to follow you, invest in you, or work for you? Values help educate all involved on what they are investing in.
2.) It helps you lead.
Often, as a business owner, we forget the role of "leader" as a hat we wear, but often it's the most important one. You're directing the business. Having values directly associated with your company makes common leadership dilemmas a breeze:A team member showing lack of enthusiasm, educated them on the values.About to invest in business tools, do they align with your values?An investor wants to help you expand, will it productively support your values?A customer is unhappy and complaining, think of your values, and respond with them in mind.A fellow business owner wants to collaborate but you're not sure, use your values to make a decision.
3.) It gives clarity.
You can't start in any direction if you don't know where you're going. Obviously, it takes time for your values to form, give yourself that time, but eventually, you'll need to determine what you value, and those will be the pavers of your yellow brick road. Suddenly the journey of business is not so scary when you know who you are.
4.) It helps with branding.
Whether you consider your business a brand or not, all businesses have branding. Values can help deepen your branding and target your ideal customers.
5.) It separates you from your business.
A lot of business coaches would teach that you are your business, but at the end of the day, I think it is unhealthy to define your business around you and you around your business. I'm not saying you shouldn't be the face of your business or your business shouldn't be authentic, I'm saying that your business values can be different from your values, and that's a distinction worth exploring. So often we devote so much of ourselves to our businesses that we get lost and the definition between us and our work becomes blurry. At the end of the day, you are a person, and your business is a business. Those are not mutually exclusive. Sure, some values will overlap, but defining your own values separate from your business, will help you to check yourself when you feel a bit claustrophobic or overworked by your business. I hope this tip helps, and let me know if it got your gears moving : ) Jess