To Grow Your Business, Forget About Profit. Go All-In on Values

When you own and operate a values-driven business, your entrepreneurial mindset aligns with your beliefs. You’ll build a culture that eats, sleeps and breaths your values. You’ll attract clients and customers who have the same mindset. They’ll become loyal advocates because your passions don’t collide, they coincide. All of this helps you to build and grow a sustainable brand – one that people recognize immediately and associate with wholeheartedly.

Your values will drive your purpose

Before we get into this, it’s worth observing the difference between values and purpose.

Your values are what drives you. For example, you might consider that dependability, reliability, and loyalty to clients are three of your core values. These beliefs are reflected in how you do what you do. You’ll go the extra mile to maintain these values.

Your purpose is the objective you set. It’s your business target, the goal you want to score. You’ll want to help your clients to reach their goals in ways that reflect your values.

Here’s another thing. Values-driven businesses care more about their purpose than their profit, and that helps to develop the long-term relationships that deliver success. Now that’s the entrepreneurial mindset in action.

Studies conclude that if you want loyal clients, you need to deliver your purpose aligned with your values. For example:

  •  Research from the Sustainable Brands and Harris Poll found that 89% of consumers believe purpose is demonstrated by how a company benefits society, and they want to see this in action
  • A 2018 Cone/Porter Novelli Purpose study learned that 77% of consumers say they have a stronger emotional connection to purpose-driven companies
  • Ipsos found that 67% of people around the world agree that it is more important that brands make a positive contribution to society, and select those brands because of this
  • Between 2013 and 2018, Global Strategy Group found that the number of people who believe companies should stand up for their political beliefs ballooned from 44% to 81%

If your business isn’t driven by its values, your purpose will be vacuous, and your customers will be fickle. If a better or cheaper product or service comes along, they’ll shift their loyalty in a heartbeat.

When your values and purpose are aligned with those of your clients and customers, they’ll stay with you. They’ll help you to remain ahead of your competition. They’ll be open and honest, and have meaningful conversations with you.

4 steps to becoming a values-driven business

Becoming a values-driven business isn’t simply a matter of coming up with a list of ‘nice-to-have’ values, writing them down, and sharing them with people. Your values are going to drive your culture. They will dictate how you and your people behave. They will self-select your clients and customers. So, where do you start?

Here are four critical steps to take as you develop a passionate, values-driven business with the potential for snowballing growth.

1.     Understand your values

Most of us couldn’t list our core values right off the bat. Yet we intrinsically know that what matters to us is important, and what is important to us matters.

Understanding your core values isn’t about describing what you should value – it’s about discovering what you really value, deep within your soul.

To realize your core values, you’ll need to look beyond the mirror. Think about events and experiences that made you happy, and why. Then flip the other way and learn why other experiences made you angry, frustrated, disappointed, sad…

Consider what you simply must have in your life to make you feel fulfilled. And we’re not talking about material possessions here. Do you crave a creative life? Do you thirst for travel and adventure? Do you go to bed at night feeling let down by the day if you haven’t learned something new?

Only with a sense of self can you discover your own personal values – the values that will drive your business, because these are your USP.

2.     Define and align success to your values

How do you define your success? In our podcast “The Core Differentiator Is You”, Ken Andrukow describes his entrepreneurial success as:

Having a purpose, having the freedom to choose whatever purpose is important to me and those around me and who are close to me, and how I want to live my life with that freedom of purpose – we talk about this all the time – freedom of time, money, relationship, and purpose. And health is the overriding freedom: without it, you don’t get any of the others.

Businesses that define success purely in financial terms are naturally oriented to short-term, non-sustainable strategies. So, take some time to think about what success really looks like for you and your business.

3.     Learn through challenges and failing fast

Some ideas fly, some fail. The ideas you have will resonate with your values and your passion. You’ll make mistakes. The trick – if it is a trick – is to fail fast.

Work hard to fail, learn the lessons, and don’t repeat your mistakes. And always stay true to your values. Your values drive your purpose, your purpose drives your ideas, and your failures drive your success. It sounds kind of counterintuitive, but it really isn’t.

4.     Build your network aligned on values

As an entrepreneur there is a limit to just how much you can do. It’s essential that you discover your unique ability and understand your limits. At some point you’re going to run out of capability. So, it’s crucial to find people and businesses with whom you can collaborate.

When you’re building your network, connect with those who align with your values. If you don’t, you’re likely to suffer from a limited longevity of relationship. At some point your values and purpose will collide, and that’s going to be bad for you and your business.

Your values will drive your growth

When you connect what you do to why you do it, when you become a values-driven business, growth will come. You’ll find that your clients become advocates of your business, bringing in referrals that are aligned with your values. Your network will grow, and your customer loyalty will create sustainability that others can only dream of. Let’s return to Ken, who has built several successful businesses based upon his core values.

Currently the owner of Reebok CrossFit in Ramsey, Canada, a business he founded a decade ago, Ken says his proudest achievement is having “a large group of members who have been with us since day one”. This is unheard of in the fitness business, and he attributes this success to the fact that they aligned with the business’s values from day one. These members introduced others with the same values. As the group grew, the growth was based upon the same values.

If you build your business around your values, that makes you unique. No one else can do what you just did. No one else can express your values in the way you just expressed them. That makes you unique,” Ken says.

When someone asks what your core differentiator in your business is, if the answer isn’t you, you’re wrong.

What are your core values? Take a little time to think about this question. Then let us know your answers and thoughts in the comments below. We’d love to hear about your values and purpose. Share your passion. Share your values. Grow your business.

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