Business Values Guide for Creative Business Owners
Business Values And Their Motivating Power
Core values are a foundational part of a healthy entrepreneurial mindset. That’s because your business values are a guiding light as you navigate your life. What you value motivates the “why” behind your intentions and actions. If you’ve taken the time to identify your core values, they’ll show up when you need support the most. When you’re making decisions, setting priorities, and creating boundaries.
Many of us understand our own personal values, but we haven’t applied a set of core values to our business. Now, if you are a solopreneur, your personal and business core values may have some overlap. And that is okay! But taking the time to reflect and be intentional about your business values can be powerful.
When you understand your business values, you can better define your company vision. You’ll give your business efforts better focus, and feel more at home with who you are and what you do. But to reach that place of confidence, you have to do the work. That means discovering which values align with you and what you offer to the world. If you are not sure how to define and live by your business values (or even your personal ones), we’ve got you!
Our Guide For Defining, Understanding, and Practicing Your Business Values
- What Are Business Core Values?
- The Benefits of Business Values
- How To Define Your Business Values with a Core Values List
- Share Your Business Values With Your Audience
What Are Business Core Values?
If you are looking for a simple business core values definition, the Being Boss Book offers one. Emily and Kathleen describe values as the personal truths and principles you hold most near and dear. They offer that core values should be the things you would be willing to go to battle for. And in Dare to Lead, Brené Brown defines a core value as a way of being or believing that we hold most important.
Your business values should reflect how you operate. And how you show up for any of your partners: team, vendors, or customers. You can think of your business core values as the driving force or the DNA that makes up your business. Helping to set you apart from your competitors.
Because of this, it is important to actually practice your values. They should be more than a list on your website. You need to be clear about what you believe. Understand what you find most important in your business. Aligning your intentions and actions with these beliefs is a key to success.
Still not sure what a business value looks like? For example, authenticity could be one of your core values. Then you might always show up on social media exactly as you are in the moment. And you may enjoy sharing behind the scenes processes in your business. Structure could show up as a business value for you. That might look like having completely mapped out projects. Or you have detailed agendas for every meeting you schedule.
The Benefits of Business Values
Values Communicate What You Stand For
Communicating your business values to your audiences will give them an idea of what your business stands for. Having defined values will give clarity to your brand message and positioning. This will help build connections and relationships on shared principles.
Business Values Attract Your Dream Customers
Your dream customers are likely to share your values or at the very least appreciate them. And people want to work with businesses that feel aligned to their lifestyle and beliefs.
You may offer a similar product or service as a competitor, but your values are likely not identical. Your business values are a large part of what makes your business unique. Marketing becomes a breeze when you can talk about your core values. Showing how they show up in your business, and how they guide your customer interactions. You’ll feel great when you can deliver authentic messaging around your business values. And you’ll build trust when your customers can see you deliver on that message.
Core Values Help You Make The Right Choices
Things move fast in business. And as the business owner, you are likely making many decisions every day. But when you are clear about your business values, tough decisions are easier. When opportunities or issues arise, they will need less contemplation. This is because you are making choices in alignment with your values. If you have a team, defined company values will allow them to make decisions based on your vision for the business. All without your constant supervision, which sounds like a very boss win!
How To Define Your Business Values with a Core Values List
When you are unclear on your values, you might find yourself feeling apologetic, scattered, and even vulnerable. This could show up in your decisions or interactions with others. But when you are clear on your values you can tap into their guiding power. Of course, you’ll need to identify your values first. If you’ve never defined core values, this exercise might seem overwhelming.
So, below are a few resources to help you along the way. Let’s get to work! And remember, you can use this for your own core values or your business values.
Finding Your Values Exercise And List Of Values
Don’t rush this process! Carving out time and space to dedicate to identifying your core values is important. To start, set aside 30-60 minutes when you know you’ll be distraction free. Next, grab a pen and print out our list of values. Our list is not exhaustive by any means. If you are feeling called to a value that is not on the list, we’ve left space for you to include your own.
Download Now: Core Values List
When you are ready, take the following steps to identify your top 3-5 business values. Yes, only 3-5 values total! You will most likely start out with a lot of the words on this list highlighted or circled. But it is important to get specific about which are your core values for your business. If you are finding that all the values are feeling important, then your list of values won’t be a guiding light for you. They won’t provide you any motivation. They will only be a list of words.
- To get started, scan the list and circle the words that jump off the page and feel good to you. Don’t overthink it, trust your gut on this first pass.
- Before doing your second scan of the values list, take a second to get grounded. Then consider the vision for your business (or life). Now, go back through the words you circled before. Highlight only the words that are feeling aligned with your vision.
- If you still need to narrow down your list to 3-5 values, make a third pass. This time take a look at any of the values on your list that are similar. Consider which value is resonating more with you. For example, if you have both truth and honesty on your list consider the following things:
- What do those words mean to you?
- How does the dictionary define them?
- Can you think of a situation in which these values have played a role?
- For some extra filtering help, consider the question, “If money weren’t a concern, would these values still resonate with me?” Or try asking yourself, “Would I put up a fight or go to war to defend this value?”
- Once you have your list of values, walk away from them for a period of time. Keeping them in mind during this time and checking in to see if they show up in your daily interactions. If they are still resonating with you, consider keeping a list of your values somewhere you will see often. You could write them on a post-it note to keep on your desk or in your planner. Or you could keep the list in your phone for easy access.
Finding Your Values Quiz
If you are hitting a wall with identifying your values or diving into the exercise above still feels too overwhelming, we get it. This isn’t something that you should discount. But we can give it a fun twist. Our free values quiz guides you through a short series of questions to help you hone in on what’s most important to you.
When you’re done taking our values quiz you’ll get:
- Your top values based on your answers
- A high-level look at your strengths and struggles
- The mindset you most need to adopt
Take the Values Quiz now!
Finding Your Values Minisode
In this quick podcast episode, Emily and Kathleen discuss values. They explain why they are a foundational practice of Being Boss. The conversation will help you dispel any fraudy feelings around this exercise.
Plus, learn more about core values:
- The importance of values in your life and business
- Having and understanding aspirational values
- The difference or potential overlap in your personal and business values
- Using intentions as a way to explore values
- How to pick between values that are close in meaning
Listen to Finding Your Values here.
Share Your Business Values With Your Audience
Once you’ve solidified your business values and shared them with any internal team members or partners, it’s time to make them public! As mentioned above, understanding your core values makes communicating and marketing easier. Connect with your audience through sharing what you stand for. Use your business values on your website and social media platforms. Make sure your values are front and center when you are looking to expand your team. And when you want to collaborate with other business owners, values can be a helpful guide. You can access easy to share values graphics, more Being Boss episodes, and worksheets on our Values Resource page.
And if you are ready to take it to the next level, you’ll want to make sure that your values truly become part of the work that you do. CEO Day Kit, will show you how your values can be an integral piece of your business planning. Integrating your values and vision to develop a 12-month plan of action for your business. Because when you pull it all together, you’re sure to build the business you desire to create.