As an ethical, sustainable, eco-business you will probably agree that having a well thought out set of business values is something for serious consideration. Whether you’re a one-person business or a team working together to make a difference, it’s not just about having values, it’s also about how you communicate your business values to the people that matter, your audience.
Note from Katie…wait, why the lack of pictures? In an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of my web presence, I am only using images at the very top of my posts, as well as where they serve a true purpose, such as headshots or infographics. That’s why you won’t find any purely decorative photos here anymore.
What are core business values?
In short, your business values are a set of principles or beliefs that guide you and help you run your business.
Business values are often directly linked to the way you choose to do business and the standards you hold yourself and your team to. They indicate how you will build and manage audience relationships and are very often extremely personal.
With small businesses, your core business values will also often match up to your own personal values and how you live your life.
Why communicate your values?
Communicating your business values helps you to build trust with your audience. When your messaging matches your audience experience, you establish the reputation you want to establish.
It also encourages loyalty. When your audience finds a brand that aligns with their values, they are more likely to return and recommend you and your business.
How can you communicate your values to your audience?
There are so many different ways to consider communicating your values to your audience. But first…
Create a values statement
Capturing your values statement in a single sentence and incorporating it into your elevator pitch is a great way to begin getting comfortable with talking about your values.
Your values statement should be a short (1-2 sentence) statement that shows your business’s principles and, well, values! It helps show people what is important to your business as well as guiding the way you operate as a business.
If you’ve not yet created a values statement here are some tips:
- Avoid jargon and buzz words – these types of words can make your audience feel like businesses are trying to hide their true actions. And they can make your business seem a bit impersonal too.
- Consider words that have physical, emotional, and logical attachments so that you can link your values to a physical or emotional feeling or a logical way of thinking. For example integrity, passion and connection are all very common words to use within a values statement for good reason. They all have positive emotional connotations.
Display your values
You’ve got your values and you’ve got your values statement, now shout about them from the rooftops! A few places you could choose to display your values are:
- Your website – consider your values statement in the header or footer, or perhaps have a page dedicated to your values.
- Social media profiles – a great place to display your values statement, especially in your bios and in banners or header images.
- Email signature – so every time you send an email, you’re communicating.
Live your values (through your actions)
Another fabulous way of communicating your values without saying a word is to live them. Display them, openly, to your audience by carrying out business (and life) activities in line with your values. One of the best ways to inspire people is by setting a positive example. Who knew that this would be so true when my Mum used to say it to me about setting a good example for my brother when I was 6 and he was 3.
Share examples of your values in action
Rather than just sharing what your values are, sharing evidence of them in action is a great way to build trust and show you mean busines! You can do this through:
- Sharing a specific action you have taken during your day. Storytelling is a powerful communication tool.
Talk about them, everywhere!
Whenever you have the opportunity to tell others about your business, use it as a chance to shout about your values. Some ideas for places you might be able to start a values-based conversation:
- When networking – especially if you use it as a way to help others share their values too.
- On social media or in conversations in online groups.
- In your client communications, such as calls, emails, and proposals. This is particularly important if your customers are also led by their own personal or business values.
Communicating your business values…right here!
I’d love to hear what your core business values are. My values in single words are connection, collaboration, community, transparency, and support.
How about yours?