“Your values become your destiny.” – Mahatma Gandhi.
Have you established the core values in your business yet? Because according to Gandhi, they’re the last puzzle piece in determining the destiny of your business.
He also mentioned thoughts becoming words, words becoming actions, actions reflecting in habits, and habits creating values. Of course, Gandhi was talking about you as a person…not specifically about your business.
While you and your business are intrinsically connected, your personal core values may be distinct from those that direct your money-making goals, but they’re probably closely related because your business should feel authentic to you.
I’m definitely no Gandhi, but this concept is spot on because your core values play a pivotal role in your business success.
First, let’s get super clear on the meaning of core values for your business:
Core values reflect your brand’s beliefs, presiding philosophy, and the values that are most important to you. They should set the guidelines for how you/your business interact internally — with your team and processes, and externally — with clients, peers, and your network.
At most, you should choose two or three of them for your business, whereas you can have any number of core values for your personal life.
How To Define Your Core Values
Don’t know where to start when looking for core values? Go here for what is, in my opinion, the best core values list from none other than James Clear. You’ll probably find a lot of words that resonate with you.
Try to pull about ten core values that feel right to you before whittling those down to two or three.
Keep it simple, and don’t overthink it.
Then, spell out what they mean to you and make them your own. If you choose “loyalty,” think about what that means in your personal and professional lives and to your stakeholders — your team, potential clients, existing clients, and anyone who has invested in your business.
You don’t want more than three core values. Otherwise, you’ll scramble focus and probably do more bad than good. If you have too many values to stick to, you might end up sticking to none at all.
Think of using too many ingredients to bake a cake. The end result would be an overwhelming jumble of tastes — causing confusion to your taste buds — so you end up with chocolate, peanut butter, strawberry, coconut, and pudding all mixed together instead of a delicious masterpiece of chocolate mixed with a dash of cinnamon for oomph.
It’s in the second cake that people can come to know and appreciate your baking style. Having only a few core values which people can relate to will get you the results you want.
Here are 2 potent questions to ask when identifying your core values:
- What is important to me and my business?
- How do I want people to feel when they interact with me and my company?
Now define what each of those core values means in how you’ll treat your business (and team), how you’ll show up in your marketing and visibility, and finally how you’ll treat your clients. (See why you only want two or three? 😀)
A few research techniques you can use:
- Ask your team, customers and colleagues what they think your business stands for and jot down their answers.
- Look at the core values of competitors. Don’t copy them but find similar ones that reflect your business philosophy.
How does what you’re learning about stand out from the way you’re perceived? How do you want to be different from your competitors? That will help you define the core values for yourself.
There are many ways that you can go about choosing your core values. This isn’t the only one. It’s just one of the quickest ways to focus on what’s important to you and your business.
Where To Use Your Core Values In Your Business
Everything you do in your business will tie back to the three core values you chose in the above exercise.
- Create connections with your target audience.
- Build boundaries with clients.
- Tie into your marketing copy.
Once you define your core values, you can start prioritizing them:
- In business planning
- Within your website copy
- To align with your mission statement
- To craft your social media presence
- In your processes, client work, and the way you show up for yourself and for your clients…
And so much more…
How Do You Use Core Values To Write Copy
Your core values reflect what you stand for through the business decisions you make and in how you engage with clients. Perhaps the most obvious place your core values are seen is through your copy.
Aligning everything you do with your core values can bring you major benefits like drawing in loyal clients. You may even shorten the sales cycle significantly because potential clients seek you out to fulfill their wants and needs — instead of the other way around.
Why exactly would your audience seek you out? Because, consciously or subconsciously, prospects experience your brand voice EVERYWHERE they absorb your marketing content, and it resonates with them.
Here’s how it happens:
Your Brand Voice Guide
A brand voice guide is a document that outlines how you communicate with your target audience. In addition to your core values, this document probably includes the tone and personality you want to convey across the board.
How will you determine tone and personality? Hint: Your core values will guide you!
My core values revolve around being human-centered and helpful. I try to give off a delightful tone through my copy, hoping to leave readers with a smile. And I tell the truth as needed, while always being as supportive as possible.
Once you remain true to two factors — what’s important to you and how you want people to feel — you can create a practical brand voice guide that influences all of your content and copy.
Your Mission Statement
Your mission statement says what you do and, just like your web copy, business plan, and marketing assets, it’s going to connect with your core values.
Costco’s core values, which they call their code of ethics, are:
- Obey the law.
- Take care of our members.
- Take care of our employees.
- Respect our suppliers.
Costco’s mission statement is “To continually provide our members with quality goods and services at the lowest possible prices.”
How do the two tie in together?
Taking the second core value, which is to take care of their members, Costco further pledges to “assure our members that every product we sell is authentic in make and in representation of performance.” In providing quality products and being transparent about expected performance, Costco strives to make their members happy with each purchase — taking care of them.
And that’s just one way your core values will methodically flow into everything else.
Let’s focus on your website since it’s what clients see as your business’ homebase. Typically, it’s where potential clients fall back to when they want to reach out to you.
How do your core values fit into the impression created through your website copy?
You should always build your website with purpose and intention. There’s strategy involved for sure. Still, you’ll want to focus heavily on your core values to make your web copy more edible and attractive to your ideal customers.
You want to leave a powerful taste in their mouths by strategically getting across those values they share with you. Or, at the very least, you want them to feel your passion and resonate with your electric web copy.
To summarize, core values are essential to:
- Your business structure: They shape your brand image and marketing strategy.
- Your business plan: They influence your goals, vision, and culture.
- Your mission statement: They work hand in hand with your business’ mission.
- Your web copy: They help attract your ideal clients.
- Your online presence: They spur engagement and build connections with your audience.
- Your brand voice guide: They guide you along as you create all the copy for your business.
Now that you know how having core values can make a difference in your business, are you running to define yours? They’re pretty important. AND they’re subject to change.
Keep this in mind:
You don’t have to rigidly stick to the core values you choose today if you no longer feel they reflect you, your business, or how you want your clients to feel.
If you switch them up, your whole world won’t fall apart. In truth, changing your core values to better align with the growth and maturity of your business might bring you more success.
Your core values could be the difference between a marketing strategy that screams “meh,” and a strategy that’s highly lucrative and gives you killer results.
Book a strategy session with me to get those killer results that will draw in customers who are eager to throw money at you for your services. I’ll let you in on my snazzy growth-minded insights — taking you from determining your core values to discovering the solutions that will help you navigate the online marketing world. Book today.