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Creating Your Values Statement
A business' values statement clarifies for those in and outside the business what matters to you and what guides your business decisions. It is a means not only of describing how you operate so that others will know what to expect, but also of establishing your unique value proposition.
Consider these questions:
- Are there certain products you are unwilling to sell or promote? What do they have in common? How could you describe the characteristics of the products you are willing to promote, in a way that clarifies what it is you value?
- What would people say are your defining characteristics, the things most important to you? If you aren't sure, ask a few colleagues and friends. How can you translate your passions into values?
- What aspects of a job well done make you feel that you have served your customers or clients well? What is most important to you in your interactions with customers and clients?
- What type of work environment and lifestyle do you intend to provide for your employees?
- Think about decisions your previous employers or other companies have made that you disagreed with. On what basis did you disagree? Was it the goal they tried to accomplish, or their method of doing so? How would you have done it so that it would be in line with your values?
Review your answers to these questions and look for themes. Aim for between five and seven values, certainly no more than ten. Once you have your list, ask a few people who know you well to give you their opinion as to how well it captures what they see as your values. You may want to tweak your list based on this feedback.
If you need additional help determining your values or how to word them, review these lists of operating values and consider whether any of them are a match for you and your business, either as is or in a modified version:
Share your guiding values with current and new employees and clients. The better your clients understand you and your values, the higher the chances of successful interactions. And the more familiar you and your employees are with the company's values, the more fully the values will be integrated into every aspect of your business.
Consider incorporating your values statement into your promotional materials. Refer to your values list when you are faced with a tough decision, and let your values guide you.
Advice for Creating an Effective Values Statement
Learn how a vision statement, mission statement, and guiding values can help you achieve success as an entrepreneur or small business owner, and how to create your own.