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.

  1. Acceptance
  2. Accessibility
  3. Accuracy
  4. Adaptability
  5. Adventure
  6. Ambition
  7. Anti-corporate
  8. Anti-bureaucratic
  9. Appreciation
  10. Approachable
  11. Assertive
  12. Attentive
  13. Available
  14. Aware
  15. Balance
  16. Beauty
  17. Belonging
  18. Calmness
  19. Caring
  20. Cleanliness
  21. Commitment
  22. Communication
  23. Collaboration
  24. Common sense
  25. Community
  26. Compassion
  27. Competency
  28. Competition
  29. Compassion
  30. Confidentiality
  31. Connection
  32. Consciousness
  33. Consistency
  34. Continuity
  35. Contribution
  36. Control
  37. Conviction
  38. Craftsmanship
  39.  Creativity
  40. Credibility
  41. Courage
  42. Courtesy
  43. Decisiveness
  44. Democracy
  45. Dependability
  46. Determination
  47. Devotion
  48. Dignity
  49. Diligence
  50. Duty
  51. Discipline
  52. Empathy
  53. Eagerness
  54. Empowerment
  55. Endurance
  56. Engagement
  57. Enjoyment
  58. Equality
  59. Ethics
  60. Excellence
  61. Excitement
  62. Expertise
  63. Entertainment
  64. Enthusiasm
  65. Entrepreneurship
  66. Fairness
  67. Family
  68. Flexibility
  69. Fluency
  70. Focus
  71. Friendly
  72. Generous
  73. Genius
  74. Goodwill
  75. Gratitude
  76. Greatness
  77. Growth
  78. Happiness
  79. Hard work
  80. Harmony
  81. Health
  82. Heroism
  83. HIstory
  84. Honesty
  85. Hope
  86. Humility
  87. Humour
  88. Hygiene
  89. Imagination
  90. Impact
  91. Integrity
  92. Independence
  93. Individuality
  94. Innovation
  95. Insightful
  96. Inspiration
  97. Intuition
  98. Joy
  99. Justice
  100. Kindness
  101. Knowledge
  102. Leadership
  103. Liberty
  104. Logic
  105. Love
  106. Popularity
  107. Power
  108. Practical
  109. Pragmatic
  110. Precision
  111. Preservation
  112. Pride
  113. Privacy
  114. Productivity
  115. Profitability
  116. Progress
  117. Punctuality
  118. Reason
  119. Reliability
  120. Resilience
  121. Resourcefulness
  122. Responsibility
  123. Respect
  124. Results orientated
  125. Sacrifice
  126.  Security
  127. Self-awareness
  128. Self-motivation
  129. Self-responsibility
  130. Self-control
  131. Selflessness
  132. Self-reliance
  133. Sensitivity
  134. Serenity
  135. Service
  136. Shared prosperity
  137. Simplicity
  138. Skill
  139. Speed
  140. Spirituality
  141. Stability
  142. Strength
  143. Success
  144. Support
  145. Sustainability
  146. Teamwork
  147. Thorough
  148. Thoughtfulness
  149. Timely
  150. Tolerant
  151. Tradition
  152. Tranquility
  153. Transparency
  154. Trustworthy
  155. Understanding
  156. Unflappable
  157. Uniqueness
  158. Unity
  159. Value
  160. Vitality
  161. Warmth
  162. Welcoming
  163. Wisdom
  164. Wonder
  165. 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

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