Business Owner Upskilling Part 3: Values
Business Owner Upskilling Part 3: Values
At the start of your journey as a business owner, getting caught up in working IN the business versus working ON the business is easy. You will likely be preoccupied (and rightly so!) with the day-to-day operations, KPIs and setting your business on the trajectory for sales and success, but it’s also important to stay aligned with your core values personally and professionally.
Your values act as the guiding principles that will shape your core business functions, roles and decisions that you make daily. Even the simple act of choosing to strike out on your own as a business owner highlights certain values and strengths of independence, responsibility, creativity and a healthy appetite for risk-taking – so even without realising it, your actions to date are already a reflection of your values and what is important to you.
Why are values important as a business owner?
If you’re taking the time to reflect on your values, consider how they have shaped your business culture and reputation to date. Values can keep us on track and move us closer to our goals, and they are often larger and more important than “making money” – for example, while financial success is a reasonable goal, the value that sits behind it is to have more freedom, more opportunity, to be able to take care of your family.
While your values are unique to you, as a business owner, it is very important that you have a clear understanding of your values and that they are communicated effectively to your employees, your customers, and other stakeholders from the get-go (these can even be worked into your business plan and missions statement).
One of the most important reasons for having a strong set of values is that they can help build customer trust. People want to do business with companies that align with their values. For example, if a business has a strong commitment to sustainability, customers who value the environment may be more likely to choose that company over one that does not have a similar commitment. When customers trust a business, they are more likely to be loyal and recommend the company to others.
How do values support my team?
As we’ve shared in other articles here at Finn, much more goes into choosing a workplace these days and extends far beyond just the compensation. Let’s say your business values are to be a pillar of the community and to support local growth and development – employees looking to work for you will immediately be able to connect with a larger purpose that centres around others, being of service and staying connected.
Even if a junior member of staff is in a role they plan to upskill out of, if they are aligned with your values both personally and professionally, they may view your business as a career and a lifestyle over simply a role and a way to pay the bills – this way, you attract and retain the best talent, as well as set yourself apart from similar businesses within your industry.
Your personal values are likely to overlap with those of the business – in fact, if there is a big disconnect between your business values and those you uphold in your personal life, it’s a good opportunity to take stock and see where you can realign. In times of crisis or stress in business, your values are your compass to lean on when your problem-solving skills and resilience are low.
For example, if there is a downturn in your market, you can use your values to find other ways to market your business. A business owner who values communication and support within your team will prioritise being transparent with your staff about what’s ahead, whether it’s a pivot in your operations or even tough conversations like cutbacks.
Your values should reflect who you are as a person, and you must believe in them with conviction (there are plenty of businesses that “value wash” their image, and it’s clear when they aren’t truly connected to the words they are saying). As a business leader, they ensure that you “walk the talk” and live your life authentically and genuinely in business and personal worlds authentically and genuinely – you also model this to your team members.
Ass your business grows and evolves, it’s likely that some of your values may also need to change, so make time to review every 6 months or a year, and take the opportunity to brainstorm with your team to weave in core values that are important to them also.