Value is defined as something intrinsically valuable or desirable (human rather than material). The word can also be used to rate usefulness, importance or general worth.
Values in business often relate to the business strategy of a large company and usually describe its commitment to shareholders, customers and employees.
For example, Zappos lists their core values on their website as:
1. Deliver WOW Through Service
2. Embrace and Drive Change
3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
4. Be Adventurous, Creative and Open-Minded
5. Pursue Growth and Learning
6. Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
8. Do More With Less
9. Be Passionate and Determined
10. Be Humble
For entrepreneurs and small business owners, business values are personal values. Your personal core values define who you are and what you believe in, align your business with your true self, make it easier to identify your ideal clients, establish a powerful voice and provide a clear path for the tough decisions every entrepreneur faces.
Zappo’s core values are a perfect example of appealing to your ideal clients. Not many people appreciate the idea of a company proudly announcing they are weird, creative, adventurous and humble. But for some, those values ring true with what they believe. There is an instant connection and bond with the customer. More importantly, this new fan is likely to rave about the company to like-minded friends. They become an ambassador for the company, all because of common core values.
It is easy to spot businesses that either don’t follow their core values or haven’t incorporated those values into their business. Realizing you and your business are not living the values you treasure deeply is often the turning point in business, and life.
Your first step is to identify your core beliefs. Choose 10 values from the list below. Don’t think about it too much. Just circle the values that call to you, not the values you think you should have:
*Abundance *Acceptance *Accessibility *Achievement *Adventure *Ambition *Authenticity *Beauty *Challenge *Charity *Competitiveness *Connection *Contribution *Courage *Creativity *Efficiency *Enjoyment *Excellence *Fairness *Faith *Family *Fame *Freedom *Friendship *Gratitude *Happiness *Honesty *Honor *Humility *Independence *Inner *Harmony *Innovation *Integrity *Justice *Kindness *Leadership *Love *Loyalty *Luxury *Magnificence *Passion *Peace*Power *Prosperity *Recognition *Relationships *Reliability *Resilience *Respect *Safety *Security *Service *Simplicity *Spirituality *Stewardship *Strength *Success *Trust *Wealth *Wholeness
Next, narrow your 10 values down to five. If you are really struggling between two values, then think which value you treasure the most in others. Listen to your gut.
Once you have determined your top five core values, examine your business and life and ask yourself the following questions for each value.
1. How is this value showing up in my business?
2. In which parts of my business is this value missing or weak?
3. How is this value showing up in my life?
4. In which parts of my life is this value missing or weak?
You may find one or two values that are not showing up as strongly as you like in your business or life. This may explain why you are struggling with certain issues or unable to move beyond a particular challenge. You may even see a need to revamp your website, message points or image, or you may realize the need to target another market or offer different services.
Aligning your business is a strong statement of who you are and what your business can do for your clients. Don’t be scared to express your core beliefs; it’s not sign of vulnerability. Never underestimate the power of being you.