Values are essential for business owners to develop because they help to guide decisions and actions. These decisions and efforts should be based on what is vital to the business, its stakeholders, and the brand. Having values in place can help business owners to make difficult decisions, stay true to their goals, and maintain a positive reputation.
Many values can be important, but some essential ones include integrity, honesty, respect, compassion, responsibility, and leadership. Business owners who develop these values and principles and others like them are more likely to be successful than those who do not.
Let me preface this with, having a background as an Army Officer, character and values are something I hold close. With that, let’s dig into what some of these values consist of.
What values will make or break a business?
While the list of character values that business owners can hold dear is long, some have a more significant impact on success than others.
Business success starts with integrity.
Integrity is vital because it builds trust. It’s the cornerstone of a positive reputation, which is essential for success. When customers and clients trust a business, they’re more likely to do business with it. They’re also more likely to refer others.
For example, imagine you’re considering two businesses to buy a product from. One has a reputation for being reliable and has a strong foundation of integrity, while the other does not. Which business are you more likely to choose?
The answer is obvious. The same goes for employees. Businesses with a reputation for being trustworthy are more likely to attract and retain the best talent. This talent can help take the company to new levels of success.
On the other hand, businesses without integrity are more likely to have employees constantly looking for other opportunities. They’re also more likely to be sued, which can be a substantial financial and time drain.
Honesty is more than just words—it’s actions.
Another essential value for business owners is honesty. This value is closely related to integrity but is worth mentioning separately. Honesty is important because it’s the foundation of trust. Trust is essential for success in business because it’s the basis of all relationships.
Honesty is essential because it allows customers to trust the business owner’s words. When a business owner is honest, it means that they are willing to be truthful no matter the consequences. This builds trust between the owner and the customer and can result in more sales and better relationships.
This doesn’t mean you, as the business owner, need to give away trade secrets. But it does mean that you should be truthful about your product, pricing, and guarantees.
One example of honesty in business is a company that offers a money-back guarantee. This demonstrates to the customer that the company is confident in its product and is willing to stand behind it. As a business owner, do you try the ol’ bait-and-switch or offer an honest product that you can stand behind?
Build a business with a reputation of respect.
This two-way street goes a long way. Respecting your customers means that you value them and their business. It also means you’re willing to listen to their concerns and feedback. When customers feel respected, they’re more likely to do business with the company again in the future.
Respect is important because it ensures that everyone involved in the business is treated fairly. When everyone involved in a business respects one another, it creates a positive working environment. This can lead to better productivity and less conflict. Developing these values can help business owners succeed while keeping their employees happy.
Take care of people – customers and employees – with compassion.
This value is not what you would typically think of in business. However, compassion is a significant value for business owners to develop. Compassion is essential because it allows business owners to empathize with their customers and employees.
When business owners are compassionate, they can understand the challenges their customers and employees face. This understanding can help them develop solutions that meet the needs of their customers and employees. Compassionate business owners are more likely to build long-lasting relationships with their customers and employees.
This value is essential because it allows business owners to see the humanity in their customers and employees. When business owners see the humanity in their customers and employees, they’re more likely to treat them with respect—remember what we said about respect?
Develop a sense of responsibility.
Most business owners want to be responsible and run their businesses ethically. However, it’s not always easy to know what the right thing to do is. This is where having a sense of responsibility comes in.
Business owners are more likely to make ethical decisions when they have a sense of responsibility. They’re also more likely to be transparent and honest with their customers and employees. These are all qualities that customers and employees value.
Responsible business owners are also more likely to be successful in the long run. This is because they can build trust with their customers and employees. And as we discussed, trust is essential for success in business because it’s the basis of all relationships.
The key to responsibility is accountability–and customers need to know that you’re accountable for your actions.
Be a leader in the community and your business.
While leadership is last on our list, it’s certainly not the least important. Leaders are the ones who set the tone for their businesses. They’re the ones who inspire others to be better and do more.
Business owners are inherently leaders, and leaders are also the ones who are willing to take risks. They’re not afraid to fail because they know failure is a part of success. Leaders also learn how to delegate and build a strong team. These are all qualities that customers look for in a business.
Let’s look at it this way–would you instead do business with a company that is led by someone who is inspiring and takes risks or who is stagnant and doesn’t seem to care? It’s not just with the business owner, either. This feeling trickles down to the employees, reflected in the customer service. If the business owner is a leader, it’s more likely that the company as a whole will be successful.
When business owners take the time to develop their values, it shows in their businesses. They must first know and understand their values before building their businesses. Once they’ve done that, they need to be transparent about their values with their customers and employees.
Customers can tell when values-driven leaders run a company. They can see it in how the company interacts with them and how it does business.