Although I’ve heard many businessmen and women talk about their core values, I never could quite identify mine for my business. Creating personal core values make sense to me because I grew up in a home with parents who instilled good values in me. These values have shaped my thoughts and beliefs. Yet, to be honest, I didn’t even think I would need them as an author-entrepreneur. After all, don’t many businesses just use them to take up wall space? Wrong! (At least I hope they don't!)
Core values are essential not only on an individual level but are also essential for brands, too.
Just in case you aren’t sure what core values are, they are simply principles that guide “an organization’s conduct as well as its relationship with the external world” (www.businessdictionary.com). In other words, core values help determine how you behave as well as how you treat others.
As an author-entrepreneur, there are three reasons you should identify your brand’s core values.
Core values help you stand out.
There are a ton of authors and entrepreneurs in the world. Your brand’s core values, however, will help set you apart from the crowd. Sure, you may have some similar to others, but your rationale may be different. For example, my brand’s core values are:
Authenticity - I help writers own their truths and write from the heart.
Confidence - I help writers confidently write and share their words with others.
Creativity - I help writers embrace and use their creativity to make a difference in the lives of others.
There are definitely other brands that share the same core values as my brand; however, I know specifically how these core values tie into my brand vision. That’s all that matters.
Pro tip: When choosing your brand’s core values, make sure you know why you are selecting each choice. How will each choice tie in with your brand vision?
Core values help you focus on what really matters for your brand.
Once you’ve identified your core values, you can use these to help you focus on your ideal reader’s needs and resolve their pressing issues. For example, my core values appeal to writers who may need additional confidence to write authentically, or to create an author brand that is authentic. My core values also appeal to writers who want to use their creativity with words to inspire, empower, and change lives.
Now that I’ve identified who my values specifically appeal to, I have a better idea of the types of products and services I can provide as an author-entrepreneur. Obviously, I can offer my current book, 11 Ways to JumpStart Your Thinking. I can also write additional books that specifically address the types of problems my audience struggles with. Outside of creating and selling books and workbooks, I can also offer writing challenges, create virtual or in-person workshops with actionable steps, engage in motivational speaking events, create coaching packages, or even create an e-course to suit my audience’s needs.
Pro tip: Test out your offerings with a beta group first to help identify ways to improve your product or service before offering it at full value.
Core values help you create content.
In addition to creating content to sell, core values can help you identify topics and themes to include on your author blog, vlog, or podcast. Core values can also help you identify what type of content to provide in your weekly or monthly newsletters you send out (you do have an email list, right?).
I know from experience how difficult it can be to come up with content; however, after identifying my brand’s core values, I now have a better picture of the direction I need to take to reach my overall goals.
How do you identify your brand core values?
You may feel like I did not too long ago, struggling to figure out how to identify your brand’s core values as an author-entrepreneur. It can be overwhelming and frustrating, to say the least. I’ve read many blogs about how to find your brand’s core values, but I wasn’t able to actually identify mine until I read this post by Jessica Richard of Wamp Designs. She clearly articulated how she arrived at her brand’s core values and even modeled how she did it. After completing her brand’s new style guide, she went on to create her elevator pitch, and then identified her values simply by looking at three brands she admires (and why), three people she admires (and why), and the qualities within herself she admires most. Then, she identified which qualities stuck out to her the most from the list she made, and essentially, which qualities she wanted for her brand. I never understood how to genuinely fuse my personality, interests, and beliefs into my brand until after completing the exercise Jessica models. I'm really fortunate to have come across such a great resource!