My new thing this year is that I have a prepared list of topics to rotate on a weekly basis and I write about that in all my posts, articles and blogs that go out that week. It is all good and relevant content, but it means that I do not spend too much time deciding what to write about. Of course, I will put out spontaneous material too.
This week it is about company values. One of the many things that I think is great about running a small business is that you have more of an opportunity than in a large firm to run your business according to values that you personally rate highly or have come to appreciate in your previous professional experience.
This is exciting for individuals and businesses who engage with small businesses too. In addition to shopping around based on your business needs and budget, you can also seek out small businesses who are the right fit for you in terms of what they believe in and stand for.
I am not saying that large firms do not have company values also. But they can be less specific because of the number of people who need to uphold them. And you can be less certain how much the individuals who you are actually working with believe in them too. Here is a brief rundown of mine with a bit of context.
I am not for the limelight. Because I am a shy introvert, but also because I am less motivated about what I do versus what I can help others to do. I volunteer for local charities that provide child literacy support and end of life care. I help other freelancers and small business owners in various communities and guest spots.
My clients do not miss out. I continue to love what I do professionally even after twenty years because I have created some balance with voluntary work and leisure time. When I am working with other businesses, they get the best version of me: motivated, enthusiastic, and clear-thinking.
This is so important to me that it is in my strapline (…that you can count on.) I like to deliver on promises. Ensure that what I deliver is accurate. Be on time. Not just once, or sporadically, but consistently, time and again. Reliability may be a bit boring, but it often makes for stability and calm.
I have been this way for as long as I can remember, in life and in business. I have got better 0ver many years at learning how to decline some opportunities, so that I can remain generous and reliable with those activities and engagements that benefit both me and my clients the most. ‘No’ is a tricky but useful word to master.
When I said that I would be writing about values I had a DM from the big boss at my first company. He recalled a cringeworthy story from years ago when I told him as we travelled to a client meeting that I thought there may be an error in some numbers that we were about to present. He said he respected me for that.
It is just part of my character. My blunt and direct style have got me into hot water in my personal life as I rarely sugar coat anything. Thankfully, in business at least, I have learned to: express an opposing opinion politely; deliver unwelcome results eloquently; think through implications carefully before speaking or writing.
Honesty makes for a much simpler life in the long run. Even though it can be uncomfortable. Simpler consulting conversations, graphics, analysis, and outputs are better for business too, even though they may take longer to prepare for or produce. To be frank, and I am, if you cannot explain it simply, perhaps do not sell it.
Just because something is clearly explained to be understood well does not mean that it is simple. Even small businesses can have tough questions that need complex analysis to crack. Unless they want to, my clients do not have to wade through loads of technical info. That said, whatever I produce is shared and theirs to use.
Values are things that individuals believe are important and this shapes what they do/do not do and how they live. Company values are similar: shaping how that company operates; who it engages with; often even why it exists. In smaller companies the values tend to be closely linked to what is important to the owner.
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© Jo Gordon Consulting Ltd 2021