One of the biggest guiding factors in everything we do is our value system, so bringing these values in business makes total sense.
Our value system is programmed into us from when we are young, and then either cemented or reprogrammed as we experience things as we grow up through different family and social experiences, as well as through mentoring and personal development. You may have noticed that you are automatically drawn to some people and wary of others, but you’re not sure why.
I had a situation a few years ago, where I had to fire one of my suppliers. It had come to a point in time through all our struggles with communication, wrong products being sent to me, wrong colours, and a very unrepentant supplier that I realised why we were having these issues. We didn’t share common business values.
As a brand new small business owner and the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I had no idea what I was doing! I had a great idea and in my excitement of the new idea and setting up my new business, it didn’t even cross my mind that I would need to make sure that our business values aligned.
I simply chose him as my supplier because he was the first shop I came across and the business idea hadn’t even popped into my head until I chatted with another shop owner later that day. I thought I was doing the right thing by going with the first guy as I had already told him I was coming back to purchase from him, without fully considering all the options when it came to him being my supplier…because as I said, I had no idea what I was doing!
So, the time came where I realised that our values systems didn’t add up. This doesn’t mean that there was anything wrong with either of our businesses – it just means that together, there were big problems. Excellence is one of my core values in everything I do, yet it wasn’t one of his values: he didn’t check his products against what was ordered before sending them; he relied on his staff to do the job he was supposed to do.
After many discussions and so many chances, it all came to a head and I flew myself over to find myself a new supplier. This time I was armed with knowledge and experience: I knew what I needed for my business to succeed. I’m sure my supplier thought that I was calling his bluff, because I had been so forgiving in the past.
I visited shop after shop and spoke with the owners and decided on which one would be my new supplier based on whether they were willing to work with me to make sure I succeeded…because if I succeeded, he succeeded.
We discussed expectations and what his role was in my business, and he is still my supplier today! This isn’t to say we haven’t had a few issues, but we have been able to resolve them quickly because we both know where the other stands in our agreement. He even gave me a better deal than I was getting with my first supplier which was the icing on the cake… because I had already decided to change to him.
Have you ever sat down and written down your personal values and your business values? If we know what our values are, it makes it much easier to identify who we associate with and why we make the decisions we make.
So, here are my points about Values in Business
- Align yourself and your business with people who have similar values.
- When setting up partnerships, first check that your values align. Notice here I say values – not vision, not lifestyle, not faith. See where I’m taking this?
- When values don’t align, don’t dally with ending the partnership.
- If you are ending a partnership, don’t tarnish the other party. Help them to see how they can improve by giving them constructive feedback – certainly don’t trash them!
- When you are in alignment with other people or businesses in your values, you are setting each other up to succeed and prosper.
- Small businesses working together to ensure the other is succeeding means allowing padding in our deals and profit for both businesses – both can do what they are called to do.