Does Your Business Strategy Align With Your Values?

Have you ever done business with someone because of their flawless online presence, just to be disappointed with their {more than} flawed way of doing business? You and me both, my friend. Checking out the web and social media profiles of businesses and service providers {whether they are online or local}, before doing business with them, is standard m.o. nowadays. And if you've done it? Then your clients have done it with your business as well. 


Being the same online as in person is essential for an outstanding customer experience. Your online presence sets your {potential} clients' expectations, and you need to live up to them. 


What's that you say? You have to have a stellar online presence to cut through the sea of competition, and to get the customers through the {virtual or actual} door, and then you'll worry about the rest? Bad idea, my friend. Bad idea. Let your personality and values shine through, and live up to it - because that's what your customers connect and relate to. No ifs and buts about it. 


Is the idea of your online and offline persona being a perfect match intriguing, but you don't know where to start? There's a blueprint for that! It's the tools for better ~ strategy check. And every good blueprint needs worksheets, right? Right. It just so happens that I have those available for you as well, to go along with the 4-step blueprint below. Sign up below to access the worksheets, and dig in!

step one - core values

Where do you start? At the beginning. With your core values. That's always the bottom line. Your core values are the foundation of your life - non-negotiable, and always applicable. Unlike with the chicken and the egg, there is no question what comes first. Your core values. 

Even if you’ve never said them out loud, they already exist. You’ve developed them all your life, and you instinctively follow them. They are the filter for all your decisions, the gut feeling that tells you whether to go for it or not.


Very often, people will say that their core values are “integrity”, “honesty”, and “love” - to name a few. Big, intangible words are very popular for core values. That’s not going to cut it. You have to get more specific and really define your values. You are already committed to them, so might as well say them out loud.

Let me give you an example: one of my core values is to always say very clearly what’s on my mind, so there is no misunderstanding and people don’t get their panties in a bunch {it actually often results in people getting said panties in a bunch, because I might get a little too clear - but that’s a different story}. So, instead of saying that “communication” is one of my core values, I define it as “always calling it as I see it - respectfully, and as clearly as possible”.


Being aware and following your core values enables you to deal with the good and the bad of every situation. Consider this: what if you didn't concentrate on the quality of a situation - any given situation - but on the quality of your reaction to it? What if you react the same way to a bad or good situation, based on your core values? Because, really, your core values don't change - so why not use them to deal with good and bad situations? Your core values can be that guide for you.


step two - business values


You've got your core values, now let’s talk about how you can stop worrying about one-upping the competition with your online presence, and start concentrating on doing business in line with your core values - because that’s your secret superpower. 


Worrying about competition and what they're doing is worrying about someone else and their behaviour.  It’s wasted time and energy, because you can’t influence it. Being firm on your core values and checking in with yourself to make sure your business decisions are in line with them is a great investment into yourself and your business, because you control every aspect of the process. 


Your business core values - the non-negotiable rules of how you do business - have to be at the, well, core of your business. Once defined, you follow them at all times; they serve as a filter for all business decisions, including hiring/firing, business partners and distributors, and even {or especially} customers.


Your business values are the things you would do anyway, whether your business was making money or not. It's who you are. When nothing is left, those values remain. The reality of business will sometimes make you feel like you need to bend them in order to make money, but that's never the answer. In fact, once you discover and implement your business values, it will make hard decisions easy - because there is no way around the core. If it means cutting a client loose, then do it. If it means letting go a team member or cutting ties with a contractor - so be it. 


Defining your business values and making them an integral part of your operation is essential for attracting the right people and repelling the wrong ones; it will keep you focused on moving forward, rather than worrying about the competition. Take your personal core values as a guide, and start translating.


step three - purpose


Are you still with me? Good. Core and business values - check! Now let's talk about purpose. Let's talk about what lights your fire, gets you excited to get to work, and is the reason you were put on this earth. 


In German, we have very similar words for "profession" and "calling". One is Beruf {=profession}, and the other is Berufung {=calling}. Most of the time I think that German is the uncoolest language ever {really, who needs words like Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän or Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften?}. In this case, however, I love that those words are so similar - because it implies that what we do for a living can also be what we feel called to do, and how great is that?!


You might say that there is a certain amount of luck necessary to make that happen, because even if you have your own business and you hustle, even if money is not an issue, and even if you really really want to follow your calling, you don’t always get a chance. I can’t agree with that;  it is up to you to choose design over default when it comes to your life, whether it’s business or personal! 


A purpose or calling does not have to be an intangible concept that you don't want to tackle, because you think it's just not for you. As an entrepreneur, you already have a head start, because the question "What do you want to do with your life?" is a familiar one for you. It has driven you to come up with a business idea and start your business. You don’t shy away from commitment, but you’re hesitant when it comes to “purpose”, because it’s intangible and you prefer the straight facts. 


Guess what? Purpose can be just as straightforward as your business plan {and you have one of those, right?!?}.


step four - filter


Now that you're clear on your values and purpose, you start an ongoing practise of filtering your online presence. Your website, social media profiles, communications {and your tone!} are filtered through your values. Anything you "like" or endorse online, you do the same with offline and/or in person.


People you don't want to do business with? Rather than promising them the moon online and ditching their calls and emails in person, you make it clear what your business stands for and that you're not the best fit for them. Customer service promises you post online? Are a given offline.


Sign up below to get the 20-page tools for better ~ strategy check workbook, and make sure your business strategy {whether it's online or offline} is aligned with your values. Your customers will love you for it!