The other day, I wore one of my favorite bracelets. I’m not big on wearing jewelry, and I don’t buy it often, but what drove me to purchase this particular bracelet was the story behind it. The bracelet is sold by esombo, a business that empowers, educates, and empowers young women in Ghana, Afria.
My point is that many people, especially millenials, do not merely purchase items or services, we purchase the stories behind them. More specifically, we want to see ourselves a certain way, and we purchase things that reinforce those values. I want to empower women. I want to be a part of the solution to the poverty that exists in our world. So as (one, very) small way to do that, I purchased this bracelet.
One of the most common pieces of advice you will hear as a business owner is to define your target market, the people I like to refer to as your dream clients. This is excellent advice. As I wrote about here, the more you know your people, the more you can create offerings that they want to buy.
But knowing your dream client is about more than knowing their age, gender, location, and stage in life. Your dream client should also be defined by their VALUES. Those core beliefs that are central to the way they live.
Core values are the guiding principles that dictate the way we behave, act, and live our lives.
As an entrepreneur, have you identified the core values of your business? Your core values are a big part of what sets you apart from all the other people in your industry. When incorporated into your business, they have the power to move you from being merely a commodity to a way for people to express who they are and what they believe.
Ask yourself, why is your work important to you? Why does it matter? What do you stand for?
Here are five questions to get you started:
1. How do you want to feel in life and business?
2. What are you passionate about in your life and business?
3. What do other people do in your industry that makes you angry?
4. What is unique about the way you do business?
5. What change do you hope to bring about in your industry? In the world?
After brainstorming for a while, narrow down to no more than seven, the absolute most important values on your list.
Then, don’t be shy about sharing them! You may choose to have them listed on your website.
More importantly, weave them the way you regularly talk about your work. If you’re a photographer, don’t just talk about how much you love photography, or how beautiful your subjects are. Talk about what photography means to you. Share the impact you hope to have.
Your core values should also guide your client experience. How can you reinforce your core values in the way you do business? If joy is one of your core values, for instance, how can you infuse that into every step of working with you and make the process more fun? Do your actions reinforce you want to stand for?
Core values are not a description of your work, they’re the underlying beliefs that define HOW you do your work. And when your values overlap with your dream client’s values, you become the irresistible choice in a sea of businesses only talking about what they do, and not how or why they do it.
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