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165 values for ethical business owners

Business values are essential for business owners who don’t want to be arseholes. In this post, I will outline why values matter, give you a whopping list of 165 and tell you what to do with them so they don’t become meaningless.

Set your own business boundaries

As a business owner, you get to set the rules and put the boundaries in place, you are in control. The problem is that this much power can be overwhelming. There is so much information and advice out there, it is easy to get distracted and overwhelmed. Many business owners experience decision fatigue and feel pulled in different directions, often finding themselves running a business they don’t feel aligned with anymore. Having clear values gives you the opportunity to ground yourself. Every decision, every social media post, every sales conversation can be guided by these values, ensuring that as you build and grow you don’t lose yourself in the process.

Attract your dream clients

Values help you with your marketing and attracting those dream customers. Let’s face it, working with people we

love working with makes life a lot easier. How we connect to people on a human level has a lot to do with shared values. It isn’t about finding people who agree with you on everything but if your values are similar, you will be able to find common ground and communicate better. Knowing what your values are and effectively communicating them in your marketing opens the doors to those you will love but it will equally repel those that could potentially turn your dream business into a nightmare.

Increase your influence

Knowing your values can help to increase your impact. Small business owners are in a powerful position of influence. We contribute three-fifths of employment and around half of the turnover in the UK. We haven’t got to wait for big businesses to lead the way, when our actions and voices can be seen and heard together we can make a difference.  It is very easy to get pulled into worrying and focus only on profits. Although this is undoubtedly important in business, alone it isn’t enough. At least it isn’t if you are a business owner who isn’t an arsehole. If you are itching to be more than the richest person in the graveyard and leave a legacy future generations will be proud of, then having clarity on your business values is an essential step.

How to decide your values?

I have listed below 165 values you might decide to use in your business but in reality, you can’t focus on them all at once. Even if you like the sound of a lot of them, they will be ineffective if too broad and woolly.

Remember you are selecting here the values that will drive your business so consider what is important to you from this perspective. Keep in mind your industry and your audience when selecting. Also note this isn’t the only list and it isn’t extensive. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, you probably already know the answer.

My own process discerning my business values

I was first asked to do this exercise from a personal perspective by my friend and client Nicola Buckley. She asked us to select 3 values that resonate and stand out the most out of a massive list.

Mine were Equality,  integrity, and compassion.

Soon after, I decided to look at it from a business perspective, connecting my values with my mission. The previous work I’d done defining what I stood for and what my business stood against really helped me to be discerning in this task. It can feel overwhelming to see so many values which is why the clearer you are before you begin the quicker and more effective this process will be.

Honesty, integrity, and transparency were the three I landed on for Lisa Barry Online.

Although equality and compassion are both values I still hold close, when it comes to identifying three that help position my business within my industry, these were more defining and connected to my specific mission.

If you look at my website or any of my social media channels, you won’t have to look far to find these words. By using them in my content I am able to communicate what makes me different as a content marketing coach and attract clients who align with these values.

They have also acted as a compass in my business, giving me the strength to make some tough decisions about courses, launches, and strategy. Everything I do is grounded in honesty, integrity, and transparency.

Now it’s your turn… When considering this list, it might be more helpful to eliminate those values you definitely don’t connect with first. Keep narrowing down the words until you have three remaining that can represent your business, what you stand for and what you want your audience to know about your business.

Acceptance
Accessibility
Accuracy
Adaptability
Adventure
Ambition
Anti-corporate
Anti-bureaucratic
Appreciation
Approachable
Assertive
Attentive
Available
Aware
Balance
Beauty
Belonging
Calmness
Caring
Cleanliness
Commitment
Communication
Collaboration
Common sense
Community
Compassion
Competency
Competition
Compassion
Confidentiality
Connection
Consciousness
Consistency
Continuity
Contribution
Control
Conviction
Craftsmanship
 Creativity
Credibility
Courage
Courtesy
Decisiveness
Democracy
Dependability
Determination
Devotion
Dignity
Diligence
Duty
Discipline
Empathy
Eagerness
Empowerment
Endurance

  1. Engagement
  2. Enjoyment
  3. Equality
  4. Ethics
  5. Excellence
  6. Excitement
  7. Expertise
  8. Entertainment
  9. Enthusiasm
  10. Entrepreneurship
  11. Fairness
  12. Family
  13. Flexibility
  14. Fluency
  15. Focus
  16. Friendly
  17. Generous
  18. Genius
  19. Goodwill
  20. Gratitude
  21. Greatness
  22. Growth
  23. Happiness
  24. Hard work
  25. Harmony
  26. Health
  27. Heroism
  28. HIstory
  29. Honesty
  30. Hope
  31. Humility
  32. Humour
  33. Hygiene
  34. Imagination
  35. Impact
  36. Integrity
  37. Independence
  38. Individuality
  39. Innovation
  40. Insightful
  41. Inspiration
  42. Intuition
  43. Joy
  44. Justice
  45. Kindness
  46. Knowledge
  47. Leadership
  48. Liberty
  49. Logic
  50. Love
  51. Popularity
  52. Power
  53. Practical
  54. Pragmatic
  55. Precision
  1.  Preservation
  2. Pride
  3. Privacy
  4. Productivity
  5. Profitability
  6. Progress
  7. Punctuality
  8. Reason
  9. Reliability
  10. Resilience
  11. Resourcefulness
  12. Responsibility
  13. Respect
  14. Results orientated
  15. Sacrifice
  16.  Security
  17. Self-awareness
  18. Self-motivation
  19. Self-responsibility
  20. Self-control
  21. Selflessness
  22. Self-reliance
  23. Sensitivity
  24. Serenity
  25. Service
  26. Shared prosperity
  27. Simplicity
  28. Skill
  29. Speed
  30. Spirituality
  31. Stability
  32. Strength
  33. Success
  34. Support
  35. Sustainability
  36. Teamwork
  37. Thorough
  38. Thoughtfulness
  39. Timely
  40. Tolerant
  41. Tradition
  42. Tranquility
  43. Transparency
  44. Trustworthy
  45. Understanding
  46. Unflappable
  47. Uniqueness
  48. Unity
  49. Value
  50. Vitality
  51. Warmth
  52. Welcoming
  53. Wisdom
  54. Wonder
  55. Work/life balance

What to do next

✅ Do a mini audit of your social media platforms, website, and any other online spaces you have a presence.

✅ Consider if these three values are communicated quickly and effectively and ask what you need to edit to make sure that people can identify your business values almost instantly.

✅ Write these values down somewhere you see them every day. Ideally in a place, you are working.

✅ When creating content consider using these words regularly and telling stories about why these words matter to you and your business.

✅ If you have a team or specific tasks you outsource, make sure you discuss your values with them so everyone is working from the same page and focused on communicating the same message.

✅ Stay mindful that these values need to be reviewed regularly. As you and your business evolve, you might need to change your values to communicate these changes. Be careful about shifting your message without careful consideration but you do need to check in and make sure they still align and can continue to be a practical tool.

✅ And finally – when you have decided, please join my free Facebook group – The Mission Led Content Revolution With Lisa Barry, and share your values into the group. #MLCvalues

Download the free MLC Manifesto now

And commit to a more compassionate way to do business online.

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