Companies often talk about mission statements, vision statements, and core values, which often sound like corporate lingo that small businesses don’t have time to worry about. The reality is that even if you haven’t defined your core values, you likely already use them every day in your plumbing business with your customers and your team.
Getting clear on your values and bringing them into your business plan can help you make better business decisions. If you’re clear on what your business stands for and why you’ll be a better boss, you’ll choose the right people for your team, and your employees will know what to expect.
But here’s the kicker: there’s no magic way to develop your core values. Every business has a unique set, and it can take time to work them out. Here’s how to go about doing it.
What Are Core Values?
Core values, sometimes also called value statements, are a set of ethics that explain what is important to your business. They are the standards you use every day to go about your work, build relationships with your team, and serve your customers. In other words, core values are the heart of your business that guide all your decisions.
Why You Need Core Values
When you create values, you give your business direction and clarity. You tell your customers, your staff, and the world what you believe in. Core values help you find focus, build programs that match your goals and reach the right customers.
They Give Your Business Focus
Lots of home services businesses know what they do and how to do it, but they can get even better at it with a little focus and direction. You’ve probably already noticed that you get better results when you give your team clear goals and instructions. But at some point, we all ask — who are we, and what’s the point? Your core values can answer these questions.
For example, you might know that you offer new plumbing installations or emergency plumbing rescue and you might have specific methods or systems to handle these services. But knowing that you believe in quality can help you refine your services and your earnings. You might invest in new technologies, charge by the job instead of the hour to make sure it's done right, or build out impressive warranty plans for your work.
They Guide Your Team
Employees also want to work for companies that share their values. According to the2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Report, six in 10 people choose their employer based on their beliefs. They want to work for companies with inclusive workplaces that add to the greater good. Shared values add meaning, purpose, and a sense of belonging to their work.
Your core values can help you find the right people with compatible ethics for your team, but they also help current team members understand their roles. Values are guideposts, so they teach your team how to respond and perform in their jobs. Employees can turn to your values to help make decisions and handle challenges with customers and coworkers.
They Tell Customers What You Believe In
Research shows that customers also are paying more attention to brand values. A 2021 survey found that 82% of people would spend more money on a brand or business that fits in with their values. It also found that 60% of people shopped from or hired a company because the business had values they believed in. On the other hand, 53% said they would never buy from some brands because of where they stand on an issue.
People want to know what you stand for before they work with you. An important rule in business marketing is to figure out exactly who your customer is and appeal to their needs, wants, and values. By developing core values and sharing them with your customers, you can reach and work with like-minded people.
They Make Marketing Easier
Good marketing depends on a clear message, and it’s easier to be clear if you know what’s important to your business. Core values help you understand who you are, which also helps you understand who you’re trying to reach. Weaving your values into your marketing materials helps you resonate with your customers. If you don’t know what those values are, you risk your marketing falling flat.
See also: How to Build Trust & Win Jobs
How to Define Your Company’s Core Values
How you create your values depends on what’s important to your business, so the right words are different for everyone. Most people value honesty, trustworthiness, teamwork, and good customer service, so these are common values. They tell the customer that you’re here to do good work, you’re dependable, and you want to make them happy.
But values are meant to be lived. Actions speak louder than words, so it’s best if your values reflect what you actually do in your business. Every customer expects that you’ll treat them well, that you’ll be fair, and that they can trust you. But your core values should go above and beyond the basics.
To start, take some time to really think. Ask your business partners or executive team to come up with some ideas as well. After you brainstorm, filter through the ideas and follow these guidelines.
Keep Them Short
You and your employees should be able to remember and repeat your company values. If you write a novel, you'll lose both your customers and employees in translation. Instead, condense the meanings down into a few words.
Make Them Specific
Corporate lingo is almost always vague and confusing. It’s common to use fancy words and a bit of fluff, but this only confuses your staff and customers. Instead, focus on saying exactly what you mean.
Play With Words
Not every business is cheeky, but you can still play off your company’s name, branding, or themes. Be clever with your core values and use your branding where you can. The trick is to do it without being cheesy or sounding forced.
What Are Some Examples of Core Values?
Some companies write their values as a set of short sentences. That way, they're easy to understand, remember, and share. Some core values examples include:
- We are committed.
- We do the right thing.
- We have fun.
- We are agile.
Other companies like to come up with a handful of words and then explain them with a sentence of two. Generally, the shorter the sentence, the better. For example:
- Health and safety: We put health and safety first and don’t compromise on speed or profit.
- Care: We take pride and care in our work, and we care about our customers, our community, and our team.
- Excellence: We hire the best and the smartest people, we provide high-quality services, and we guarantee our work.
- Family: We’re a family-run business, we treat our team like family, and we extend that warmth to our customers and community.
- Openness: We meet challenges with curiosity, fresh ideas, and focus.
- Accountability: We are leaders who take ownership of our actions.
- Long-term thinking: We look to and plan for the future and build systems for our customers that last.
How Many Core Values Should a Company Have?
There are no rules about the number of values you need. Some companies only have one that outlines everything they believe in. Other companies have many, but usually, less is more. Four or five values should be enough to define your business, but not so many that nobody can remember or use them.
How to Promote Core Values in the Workplace
The best way to promote core values in your workplace is through leadership. Change comes from the top down, so it starts with you. Everyone in the company should work by and follow the core values, and they should be part of all your communication. Start during the interview and hiring process. Build them into employee expectations, goals, and performance. Use them as guideposts for reviews, rewards, and promotions.
You can also use your values to both measure your company’s growth and make important decisions. Share and discuss your values regularly and clearly. The more you focus on your brand values and use them for direction and guidance, the more natural and familiar they'll become.
Create Your Core Values With Scorpion
Your core values are your company’s spirit, solidifying your beliefs and goals. They help you build business focus, guide your team, connect with like-minded customers, and make marketing easier.
Defining your core values is an important first step to getting more from your business and your marketing. Keeping your core values public and accessible is a good way to make meaningful connections with your customers. Scorpion’s marketing experts can help you get clear on your core values and weave them into a marketing plan that lands you customers. Get started today.
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