I am so excited to be discussing with you guys the topic of “who are you?” The premise behind this tile as I like to say (in reference to my branding tile floor as discussed in the first Branding Is Not A Logo Post) is to get to know you, your company, values, vision, purpose and mission. All of these elements are super important for you to not only stay on track as a business, but keep you grounded and help you remain authentic and well, you. When branding a business it is important to start here, because before you jump out in the world with all your whosits and whatsits galore you need to sit down and take a look inside, the inner workings & character of your business. When tiling a new floor this is your starting tile, the tile that if not done correctly can mess up the entire look and function of the floor. This is something I am very passionate about. I think it is super important for a company to tell their story and share it with the world. Your story (values, vision, mission and purpose) are what helps you connect with not only your customers, but your employees, suppliers, blog post readers, social media followers, etc. Your story gives you a glimpse behind the curtain and into your business, but also a foundation to start building that tile floor, a roadmap for your brand. People want connection and they want to jump on board with your company, and your story gives them that and much much more. Sometimes, and a lot of times, your story/values/mission/purpose are what sell your products more than your actual product. One of the biggest parts of your story are your core values. Core values are super important to a business because they truly are your core. They hold it all together. Core values are the aspects of your business that will never change, come trends or high water. Developing your core values just because you think you have to is a no-go. You should only develop your core values if you truly want to because they must be sincere. Your values must be real values that you cling to in everything you do as a company. Having values just to have values is worse than not having values all together. If you have good values and adhere to them, values can set you apart from the competition and really bring your whole team together. The thing with setting values is that it takes time, true dedication to discovering them and courage. The reason it takes courage is because your values must be a part of your company (as stated above). You must stand behind those values even in the craziest market storms. If you change your values with every change of the wind, your company can come off as flaky and non-committal. Establishing values can really hurt. Doesn’t that sound nuts? It is so true though. You really are “forced” to follow those values. Does it sound like I am trying to talk you out of having core values? ha ha. I definitely sounds like that, but the only reason I am doing that is to emphasize just how concrete, non-changing and lasting these values need to be. Core values also differ from things like aspirational & goal values, “that randomly became a value” value, and employee/team values. Core values are the cornerstones of your business and really do help guide all the actions and steps you take along the way. In the download
I am providing this evening, I am including some helpful steps to achieve and find your core values as a company. Thimblepress®’ core values are happiness and fun, innovative, great customer experience, and encourage + inspire. Want to check out some other company core values, check these out:
EXAMPLE, REAL LIFE CORE VALUES:
MARRIOTT WHOLE FOODS MARKET TWO MEN AND A TRUCK COCA-COLA THE NATURE CONSERVANCY "Without a compelling cause, our employees are just putting in time. Their minds might be engaged, but their hearts are not. Meaning precedes motivation." - Lee J. Colan
Before you can move into the mission statement and vision you must discover and define your core purpose as a business. What is your business purpose? To me, the purpose is the heartbeat of your company. Purpose is emotional and usually involves impacting and/or doing something for others. it is the promise that you make to your customers. Your core purpose needs to be memorable, simple, customer focused, but also broad enough so that it can weather changes in technology and company growth. It needs to be aligned with your core values and provide inspiration and motivation. It needs to be timeless and have the ability to outlive products and services you offer over the years. When you are running a small business, working capital is usually limited. Shoot, I feel like it is always limited. Can i get an AMEN!? A solid core purpose can help you and your team make crucial decisions about where money needs to be spent and where people need to plugin on the team to best achieve that purpose. Basically, if something is put in front of you like an opportunity, product, or idea, and does not meet your purpose as a business, it is probably not worth your time or money. A solid core purpose help you and your team to act our your mission as a company and give much more meaning to the meaningful work you already create and put out in the world. Your purpose is the glue that holds your business together as it grows, changes, and expands! Some examples of core purposes: CocaCola To refresh the world, to inspire moments of optimism & happiness, to create value and make a difference. Mary Kay To give unlimited opportunity to women Disney To make people happy
Another important element that helps make up your story is a mission statement. Now when i first read mission statement I think, stuffy corporate business, but in reality it is not. It is, however, a lot of work and doesn’t just come at the snap of a finger. A mission statement is not a book. It needs to be short and sweet; to the point. Sometimes it is just two sentences. So to start, answer your reason for starting your company in the first place. Your mission statement answers what your company does, is currently doing to move yourself forward, and who you are doing it for. A lot of people think a mission statement is the vision, but it is not. A mission statement is what you are doing at this time to make you better in the future, and vision is the future. A mission statement inspires people to act and a vision statement inspires people to dream. A strong mission statement is kind of like a north star; anyone is the company can continually refer to it to bring them back to the main focus of your business methods. A mission statement answers the WHY. Why you are doing what you are doing, what you are doing, who you are doing it for, and what you want the outcome of what you are doing to be. Whew… that was a lot of why, what, and who! Ultimately your mission statement talks about your core purpose as a company (as we discussed above). In the downloadable worksheets I walk you through some helpful questions that can help you find your mission statement and your vision statements for the future. A vision statement focuses on hopes and dreams for the future of your company. They are inspiring and uplifting and definitely not as concrete as a mission statement. Vision statements can be short and filled with where you want to take the company and what change you want to achieve on a larger scale with your company. Vision statements can really keep a company’s goals for the future on track and help your team achieve these dreams and goals. Sometimes I dream about things I want for the company. I often feel like if they are important to me I need to write them down so that our team as a whole knows where we are wanting to go and achieve. Don’t confuse vision with mission. Vision statements are super clear and describe inspirational, long-term goals resulting from the work in your company. One example that I know we have all heart is “Peace on Earth!” Once you are finished drafting a rough draft of your mission statement & vision statements, get your team to review it and give their feedback. It may even be worth showing them to people in your life, outside your company, that truly want you to succeed. You want your mission statement to reflect your company and team accurately, that is why it is so important to have your team members involved. Your team members build and are the base of functionality in your company, and see all different facets of your company. Why would you not want them involved in the mission statement? Also, make sure to revisit your mission statement often and make sure all the elements and content are still relevant to you and your company. One of the large differences between core values and mission & vision is that your values do not change, EVER, and your mission can be amended to include additional elements as your company evolves. To me, these elements make up your story, that first tile when building a floor, your brand roadmap. I hope you enjoy reading this. Like I have stated before, i am no expert, I am just writing what I am working through and what I find useful. I look forward to talking to you next Tuesday about brand positioning and ideal customers. PLEASE DOWNLOAD THIS WEEK’S WORKSHEETS HERE!
Cheers and happy reading, Kristen