Sitting down for a coffee with a man who happens to be a master business coach and one of my mentors it dawned on me that I didn’t completely understand my values. Your values drive you on a subconscious level and may help you make even the simplest decisions. The question you may ask is why would this matter, well this is important in every aspect of your life, personal, social and very importantly business.
For most people they discover what their values are and what really matters in one of three ways. The first way is that you may have a light bulb aha moment and it all snaps in to place, which is very rare from what I learnt. The second and more common way is that you read a multitude of books and attend various seminars around personal behaviours. The third and more effective way is by having a meeting with someone who speaks your language and is equipped and more importantly understands what you need to learn to make yourself more complete. All of these three moments require an open mind and an understanding that, even if you are good at what you do or are happy, there is a level above this for you.
Below are some of the topics that we discussed that I would love to share with you that may help you understand more clearly some of your driving values.
The formative years for us are from your birthdate up until 7 or so years old, known as the imprint period by Sociologist Morris Massey. This is the period where we soak up all that the world has to offer, but also learn right from wrong. It is also the period in which we develop a large amount of our subconscious behaviours, both good and bad. Our relationships with our parents helps us to form our bonds as we grow older with other family and friends. Personally I come from a family where my parents were strong, hardworking and considered to be successful. My parents put their hands up and helped any family member they could and so these became my strongest values. Serving my clients, friends, family and partners has always given me my greatest joys but greatest pains as well. I look to give my best in everything and feel disappointed when I don’t achieve that goal.
Life changing events have a way of changing the order in which your values are arranged as I learnt after a near death experience. As an exercise my mentor had me write down what my most important values were around my personal relationships and then rank them in order of importance. After my accident I reviewed these values and to my surprise the order had changed and some additional ones added. As a challenge to yourself, write down 10 values around your relationships with a spouse, parents, children and even close friends and review them in a year, then maybe five years and see what has changed.
Fundamentally most people we deal with want to grow their business and require that quick pill that will fix it all. A lot of businesses are catching up with the change in the workplace to allow for multi-disciplined employees but also a global market that continues to drive changes. These changes in the global market affect how people interact with each, how clients interact with businesses, evolving businesses standards and how people work.
Picture one of your parents, grandparents, uncles or aunts working in the periods between the 70’s to the late 90’s. I remember an uncle who worked for a chocolate factory, he used to be given bags of chocolates by his boss every week to give to his nieces and nephews. He worked for this factory for over 30 years and did only job every day in his workplace. He was a brand manager for this factory and dealt with suppliers and clients with a smile and a gentle yet firm handshake to confirm that all was good. The shift in the global market now is for employees to perform multiple tasks and businesses to create an online presence that should automate their business selling and customer service.
Constantly we sit with business owners that tell us they don’t need a Facebook page or a presence on any other social media platform, a website, CRM (Customer Relations Management tool) or any other online tool. When we press further they always provide the same response, which is ‘our business is doing great without it’. This could be true but there are a couple of values at play here, the most important being that these owners do not want to lose the personal interaction with their client base. There is a rumour that has been spread that the only reason a business should invest in a website or social media is only to get more clients. If you are a business that puts your clients’ needs first, then all your online presence should highlight this. Having a website should not take away from the excellent customer service that continues to bring in clients for that business. Rather that website should remind existing customers of who you are, enable those existing clients to easily recommend your business to others and provide a benchmark for other businesses within the same niche on how to provide a superior service/product.
One of the most important questions we ask our clients when they say they want an online presence is ‘Why?’. Once the business owners understand their personal values and how those intersect with their business values then it makes it easier to devise an online strategy that will work within those values.
We consider one of our most import roles to educate our clients on how to better serve their markets using any one of their online tools.
A few tips around identifying business values and how to ensure success are:-
- Write down the values for customer service, employee working roles, business growth and online presence, hiring staff
- Write a list of your ideal client criteria and the least ideal criteria,
- As a business, creating content that will keep your clients constantly engaged will ensure they keep your business top of their mind when they are ready to buy your service or product. Ensure that content selected is in line with the business goals, ethics and standards – ‘Values’
- Customer service is a value that must never be lost, this is most crucial for the success or downfall of a business. Having a presence on social media where you thank customers, reply to comments and include them in day to day activities is very important. Think outside the square and also take note of the bigger brands and their presence and interaction on most of the social media platforms.
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