The Business Dictionary defines values as “Important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable. Values have a major influence on a person’s behavior and attitude and serve as broad guidelines in all situations. Some common business values are fairness, innovation and community involvement.”
Values in business are the fundamental beliefs you hold personally and want to build your business around. They are how you choose to act, and how you expect your employees to act. Values shape the way customers will view your company, employees, and even your products/services. If you are insincere, and not true to what you believe, your company and employees will be trying to follow an unattainable ideal, and everyone will suffer.
Choosing the most appropriate values to build your business around is vital to success. Most of the businesses you come across have some version of a values statement, and those that have values true to what they believe are more successful in the long run. Every business owner needs to acknowledge the convictions that are driving them forward, and identify the values they wish to include in their values statement. It all boils down to you and what you firmly believe in. Your convictions shape how you act and interact. Morphing your convictions into what you value most, and then infusing your business with those values creates a better atmosphere for you and your employees, and becomes what customers will connect with the most.
When you sit down to contemplate what you believe in, and how that equates to what you value, the important things to remember are that these values will become your identity, and you must commit and dedicate yourself to them. They must be adhered to at all costs, or you will begin to lose grasp on what matters most. If one value is integrable and you find employees are lying, it is imperative that you crack down and stop the behavior, even if it means firing someone.
You also need to remember that values can change. As your business evolves, you will evolve, and your values must evolve as well. Refusing to budge on the values statement is detrimental to overall growth. It may not be that they completely change. It could be as simple as adding to the statement. If you started off with ambitious, transparent, and empathetic, you might find a natural progression toward adding adaptable and accountable. Allow this change to happen, and you open the doors to a higher level of success.
When you’re ready to put pen to paper and begin writing the values statement, there are many buzz words to choose from. Stray away from concepts that are flashy and popular, but not applicable to you and your business. Find the right word for what you want to say. Always remember that this is your business, and you need to keep in mind what you’re trying to build your business around. If you’re stuck, try a couple of tricks.
- Brainstorm and include anything and everything.
- Use a thesaurus.
- Write down a whole list, sleep on it and look at it with fresh eyes in the morning.
It doesn’t have to be perfect at first. You can have a hodgepodge of different values on your list that may not go well together, but not all of them must make the final cut. If you can zero in on the ones that matter most, you will be able to build up a business around your values that will be profitable as well as healthy. Share these ideas with your employees and use them as guiding principles in the everyday running of the business.