Do you know what your values in life are?
Chances are, even if you don’t think about them constantly, you act in alignment with them. Perhaps you value politeness, so always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Or maybe your family are a big part of your life, so you block out regular time for family meals or days out together. Or you may believe in helping others, so you donate old clothes to the local charity shop.
Now think about your business. Do you know what your values are for your work?
Often, big corporate companies have these set and shared with employees from day one, but entrepreneurs often forget about them. You don’t need a business declaration for employees to work to because it’s just you and you know exactly what you do, right?!
Your values will inform the content you produce, they give your business a personality and they are a way to stand out against others in the same space as you.
Also, in the creative industries, people often say to me, ‘I just design nice interiors, what values do I need?’, or ‘I just photograph peoples’ weddings, they don’t care about my values, all they want is nice images’.
It’s that use of the word ‘just’ that always gets me. You are giving clients SO much more than ‘just a nice living room, or ‘just pretty photos’. Knowing your business values isn’t only about setting the foundations of why you do what you do, it’s also about knowing what you stand for and what you are worth.
You might not be providing dozens of employees guidelines to work to but it’s vital to know what you’re working towards and why you’re doing it. It’s easy to get lost in a business fog and lose track of why you started doing this thing in the first place. Not only that but your values will inform the content you produce, they give your business a personality and they are a way to stand out against others in the same space as you. They will help you attract your ideal clients because your values will resonate with them.
Let’s take interior designers as an example. Both essentially do the same job but their values could be completely different to each other.
Interior Designer 1
Believes our homes should be restful places to refresh, rejuvenate and replenish. Their values in business might be:
Self-care: helping people to live in homes that encourage time out, peaceful sleep, meditation and learning.
Calm: they create clutter-free, tidy, easy-to-maintain spaces.
Ease: being at home should be easy and so should the relationship with an interior designer. They keep communication channels open, don’t force ideas onto clients and take time to get to know a client before beginning the design process.
Interior Designer 2
Believes our homes should move with the times and be convenient and fun places. Their business values could be:
Fashion: they create spaces that reflect current trends.
Technology: their designs feature plenty of bells and whistles, helpful gadgets and new technology.
Sociability: they help clients to live in open-plan, inclusive homes, where everyone can interact freely and often.
Not only would those values influence each designer’s business branding but it would also determine the topics they would choose for their content marketing. Designer 1 is unlikely to produce a video showing how to use the latest trends to style a kitchen-dining space for a large family gathering, but that would be completely appropriate content for Designer 2’s audience.
Values ensure consistency in everything you do – meetings, marketing, difficult situations, branding etc.
So, let’s say you’re a 50-something yoga instructor, whose children have moved out of home, you begin every day by meditating, you do regular digital detoxes and host a variety of one-day retreats at your house throughout the year. Which designer’s values are you going to be drawn to the most?
If you haven’t thought about your business values yet, don’t worry, you can set them now and chances are, you’re already working in alignment with them in some ways. Start by thinking about these questions:
- Why did you decide to do what you do?
- What are your values in your personal life? (often these will cross over into how you run your business)
- Think about businesses or business owners that you admire and respect. What is about them that draws you to them?
- What problems do you want to solve for your clients?
- How do you want to make people feel?
Once you’ve chosen your values, each time you produce a piece of content, take a couple of minutes to think about whether it relates back to those values. Not every piece has to rigidly tie back to all of them but it should relate to at least one in some way.
My values are up on my little office pin-board, so that I see them every day. It’s a great way to ensure consistency in everything you do, not just your content. You can use them to help you with meetings, client calls, difficult situations, branding and networking.
Below, you’ll find my business values as another example for you to refer to when setting your own.
If you’d like to spend some focused time defining your business values and understanding how to use them to inform your content and identify your dream customers, a Laser-focused Coaching Session could be just what you’re looking for. You can find out more about getting personalised support by clicking the button below.
My business values
BE FRIENDLY AND APPROACHABLE
I never want to be stuffy or full of jargon. I want to be a ‘jeans and a nice top’ business, not a 3-piece suit.
SHARE KNOWLEDGE FREELY
Community over competition because we can all learn from each other, and there is room for us all to be successful.
BUILD SUPPORTIVE, GENUINE RELATIONSHIPS
I will listen to and support my clients throughout the whole journey. I want them to know they have safe, judgement-free support from me, to help them feel calm, less overwhelmed and more confident in their ideas.
I will work with creative clients that I feel passionate about, but in turn who feel passionate what they do themselves and see genuine value in creativity – it’s not all about money.
I will give my clients focused time and also help them to master content marketing efficiently, so that they have more freedom and time for their creative passions.
Content marketing isn’t a one-size-fits all activity. I want to help my clients to do content in a way that feels good for them.
Never sell aggressively, always act with kindness and be honest.
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