One of the first things I did when starting my own business was I not only created a solid business plan and marketing plan, but also a values plan! With the help of a coach, my values were elicited: not the more conscious ones, but the more unconscious ones. This allowed me to discover what my true personal values are and what the very foundation that I stand on is. I realized that if I could carry those values in my personal as well as business life, then it would be a guaranteed way to create my own happiness. And I was right!
Here is the step-by-step process I followed (and still do):
1. Your values: Spend some time reflecting on your own values, preferably seeking out an especially trained coach. A coach can be a guide of clarity for you.
2. Business organization: Your decision to start a business as a sole proprietor or with a business partner should fully be in alignment with your values. What is the best way for you to carry out your own personal values? And if you seek a business partner, do their values conflict or align with yours? Is there a clear understanding? What about hierarchy?
3. Work-Life balance: How can your values best be met, when it comes to balancing your work and life? It is crucial that the way you set up your work-life balance allows for your values to be carried out in all areas of your life. What are the affects on your personal life when running your business? Or vice versa. What about finance and security? Time at work versus family time?
4. Location: The location you provide your services from also needs to be aligned with your values. This includes decisions about travel time, what type of physical environments you thrive in, and will the right clients come to this location? Is it representative of you?
5. Creation of product & service: Your product or service need to be in line with your values. You will spend a great deal of your time delivering your product and/or service, so alignment up to its fullest potential is crucial.
6. Delivery of product & service: Your product and service: what do you put out into the world at the end of the day? How can you maximize your values being carried out from a larger perspective? What are the effects of your products or service in regards to other people?
7. Marketing & sales: Your marketing and sales need to be in alignment with your values. This might end up meaning that there are certain things you will do that others won’t. An interesting by-product is, I ultimately believe that values based marketing actually sells!
8. Co-workers: The people you work with must align, energize and catalyze your values. What are their values? Can they carry out their values alongside yours? The way you work with them needs to be fully and completely in line with your values.
9. Clients: How can you attract clients into your life that allow you to operate within your set of values? And how about your ability to align with theirs in the process?
10. Your day-to-day activities: The work that you are required to do all day must be in line with your values. Not that you have to enjoy every element of your day, but you can’t go against your values. What about investment of time and finances in your own training? How do you organize your schedule? How do you treat other people?
11. Customer Service: Simply automatically add this to your list of values. The synergy this creates will affect all areas of your business. This is what clients respond to, and will set you apart from the competition.
It is important that in everything you do on a day-to-day basis, you carry out your values. Especially when this gets tough! For example, this is easy when you are hiring based on values, but you may also find yourself in a position that you are forced to fire for the same reasons. It is easy to live your values in a perfectly working business partnership, but you must do the same when it is not ideal. You must carry out your values when you are emotional and dealing with tough clients, failing third parties, the lucrative contract or offer to sell out, the “lure” of dishonest sales, the conversations you have over lunch with co-workers about clients, etc. You have to be the bigger person and you do so by always carrying out your values.
Would really appreciate some examples of each of your application of values in each business section if possible.
Thanks interesting post.
Very good question Laura! Would be a blog post al its own. But let me give you an answer. For a living I am a business owner, offering seminars in NLP, coaching, personal development and empowerment. I originally come from the corporate world, as a trainer and coach, but also spent time as manager. I became ill, and decided to never go back into that toxic environment again. My body was broken, but my soul was fully in tact. My value set, DID NOT align with my job or the company I worked for. This created a shift, to re-create and rebuild my life, completely according to my values. I built a company, rebuilt my body, lost 100 pounds, and became the energizer bunny of fun (and hard work.)
My own values: luckily I teach people in my coaching and NLP training how to elicit someones values that are more unconscious. So that took care of that. Some of my values are: ntegrity, connectedness, magnificence, fun, balance, mastery of craft, generosity, resilience, purpose and service to the universe.
Business organization: I had to organize my business in a way to be able to do business world wide. For me a lot of my values are incorporated to escape the cold and rainy Dutch weather, and spend time on beaches. My business allows me to travel to Miami Beach 3 times a year, and Los Angeles 2 times a year. It allows me to also work form my home the rest of the year. A great way to also balance my life with friends and family, at home, and at the locations I travel to. Though I initially set up my business with one partner or co-trainer, I have stepped away from that for values related reasons. And realized that it is easier to maintain my values, if it was spread over more people and less dependency than one person. Also to balance out my life, and the ability to step out of a training easier.
Work life balance: I make sure that my work is balanced out with my life. This means before a training, I get up early in the morning to exercise, to connect to family. I have come to realize work is never done. But must consider that life is never done either. So a breath and relax and take are of both sides of my life. I am very aware of this on a day to day basis. I simply won’t work myself into the ground in over hours. I also pay resources, so I can get time off.
4. I deliver my services around the corner from my house in Amsterdam, and at the beach in Miami and Los Angeles. I swim, inline skate, hang out at the beach, hang out with friends in the US. I escape winter. No beating traffic on any morning.
5-6. Everything I created and sell, was completely built with my values set in mind. And what I want for the world out there. A very positive product for life change, with people who are like minded, into helping others, personal development. Surrounded by good people, and helpers. People who want to make the world a better place.
7. I don’t want to sell at all costs. In fact, my operational manager works under the instruction to INFORM, not sell. And we aren’t for everyone. Present things with honesty and integrity. No icky weird hypno stuff to sell. We do not bad mouth competition. I even had my company and website audited by an independent government agency is what is displayed on my website, is what I actually sell. This approach actually sells in the end. People feel when they are being bull shitted. And bottom line I want people to BELONG in my training room. Not discover that they shouldn’t be there.
8. I hire and fire on integrity, simple as that. Humility is also important to me. My company as a whole needs to have people in it, inline with good solid values.It needs to be synergy. On a personal level, if I feel thrown off grid by a new resource, I do a lot of soul searching on what to do. Also how does my staff affect each other. I don’t want to have a group of people to be thrown off balance.
9. I think the product and honest sales, and the way we carry ourselves inline with values brings the RIGHT clients to us. Open minded people, who want to help others, people into self development, connecting to others. No matter who they are and where in the world. The environment is off the charts in energy. It is very special.
10. Balance balance balance. My values and balance is on my mind all day. Exercise, work, friends, students, former students, alone time, fun, more fun, sit and relax. I am hyper aware of pretty much….well creating my own day. 🙂 I love connecting with the right people, in the right way.
11. My clients deserve awesome customer service. If people are willing to commit to me, I must commit to them. People feel that. And it creates magnificent relationships and connection.