Now, more than ever, consumers care about supporting businesses that share their own values. In fact, it’s critical for long-term business success. So, today we demonstrate why running a values-driven business makes a difference and how you can create one.
Just talking about having values isn’t enough anymore. To make sure that your corporate culture is in sync with your values and you can therefore attract and keep customers, your business needs to live the values and incorporate them into everything you say – and do! The actions are what really take centre stage. Customers want to be aligned with brands that share their core values and are quick to call out their once much-loved businesses if they notice any incongruence. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of why running a values-driven business makes a difference and how you can build one yourself.
What is a values-driven business?
A values-driven business makes sure that every single decision is in line with its core values. You want your values to meet your business goals and create a culture that works for your clients and employees. Therefore, a values-driven business model helps create a positive environment for your clients and employees to thrive. You can then send out the message that your business cares about more about than just its sales figures.
What are my business’s values?
In order to run a values-driven business, you need to consider what you stand for. Think about the businesses that you interact with: your supermarket, a car dealership, an independent jewellery store. Do they just care about making sales? Or do they stand for something more meaningful like quality or customer service? Ask yourself what your clients would say if you asked them what your business stands for.
If you haven’t already, think about what values are important to your business. This could be building relationships, being sustainable, being authentic or continually improving, to name a few.
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The benefits of running a values-driven business
- Sets an example for all employees – they are more likely to respect your vision
- Contributes to the sustainability of the brand
- Customer satisfaction levels will increase – making values a priority makes customers feel good when they buy your product or service
Creating a values-driven business
Lots of businesses across the globe emphasise their core values. But, to consumers, they are just words that carry no meaning until they are proven. Simply posting some values on your social media pages and website doesn’t mean everyone is going to take them to heart. To truly be a values-driven business, you need to lead by example and create a business culture where every member of your organisation lives and breathes your values every day. Be careful not to be one of the many other companies where the values are left behind in the business manual.
Once you are in a position where your culture lives your defined values, then you can share this with the rest of the world. One way to achieve this is to support a cause that connects with the culture you’ve built. On top of this, you need to make sure the conversation about your values is ongoing, that you are authentic and that you weave your values into every single one of your business activities. Follow these tips to make sure you are running a values-driven business:
- Establish the purpose of your business strategy beyond making money
- Define your core values
- Check every decision against your stated values and hold yourself accountable
- Employees should be honest when measuring their individual behaviours and decisions
- Don’t sacrifice your core values when facing tough business decisions
- Make sure you are proud of your reputation, and that it reflects your values and principles
- Always consider your social impact and ways you can positively impact the community and the wider industry
Example of a values-driven business
I’m sure we’ve all indulged in some Ben & Jerry’s at some point, but as well as bringing us some of the tastiest ice cream on earth, it’s also a fantastic example of brand that lives by its core values.
From the very start, it’s been clear that Ben & Jerry’s does things a little differently. According to its website, its three-part mission guides its decision making:
- Our Economic Mission asks us to manage our company for sustainable financial growth.
- Our Social Mission compels us to use our company in innovative ways to make the world a better place.
- Our Product Mission drives us to make fantastic ice cream – for its own sake.
Central to the Mission of Ben & Jerry's is the belief that all three parts must thrive equally in a manner that commands deep respect for individuals in and outside the company, and supports the communities of which they are a part.
It’s not enough for Ben & Jerry’s to make sales and provide tasty ice cream. They actively use their business to make the world a better place. One example of this is through charity work; the founders launched the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation in 1985 and it received 7.5 percent of annual profits to fund projects in the community. It also supports lots of different causes, including preventing climate change, GMO labelling, LGBT equality, Fairtrade and so much more.
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Ben & Jerry’s is brilliant role model when it comes to going above and beyond making money for the greater good of society. While it can be hard to decide to take a stand for a cause you believe in, especially if some people might not agree with it, it can help solidify the identify of your business to customers and put you at a competitive advantage.
How consumers can tell if your business is really values-driven
- If your employees remember what your core values are
- If you or your employees can describe specific activities or behaviours that demonstrate the values in action
- If your company’s values are integrated into every aspect of how you do business, not just something you do on the side
- If your public message matches their own customer experience
Building a values-driven business – the round-up
It’s your choice whether you want to operate a values-driven business or not. But this proactive approach to running a successful business often leads to greater internal and external opportunities. Having authentic values that guide your business decisions and are embraced by the whole team can help make sure your business stands the test of time.
Here at Point Franchise, we have a large bank of articles that can help your business, with everything from how you can protect your business during the COVID-19 crisis to creating a crisis contingency plan.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©