Welcome to the latest episode of Entrepreneur Money Stories with Danielle. In this episode, Danielle explores the importance of core values and how they can guide your financial decisions to build a sustainable and purpose-driven business.

What are core values and why do I need them?

Core values are the fundamental beliefs and guiding principles that shape the culture of your business. They go beyond marketing strategies and represent the ethical and moral standards you uphold. Many entrepreneurs and small business owners often overlook the need for a set of core values, but they play a crucial role in establishing a solid identity and creating a specific set of standards for your business.

Danielle highlights five key reasons why having core values is essential. Firstly, core values provide a clear understanding of your business’s identity, not just for marketing purposes, but as a stand-alone entity. Secondly, they serve as a framework for decision-making, enabling you and your employees to make aligned choices, even in challenging situations. By empowering your team to make confident decisions based on shared core values, you can free yourself from being the sole decision-maker.

Furthermore, employees who share the same core values as their boss feel a sense of belonging and are motivated to go above and beyond. This leads to a stronger emotional connection with your brand, resulting in greater customer satisfaction. By displaying your core values, you attract customers who resonate with your beliefs, fostering long-lasting relationships.

How do I create my business’s core values?

To create your business’s core values, Danielle suggests stepping out of your normal work environment and taking a moment to center yourself. Try the box breathing technique to clear your mind. Reflect on how your business deeply impacts clients and write down five to seven words that are integral to your culture and mission. It’s important to align your business practices with these values and use them as a decision-making framework. If you find that you’re not aligning with your core values, it’s an opportunity to either reassess them or make necessary behavioral changes.

Putting your core values into practice. 

By prioritizing your core values, your spending habits will naturally shift to reflect those values. It doesn’t necessarily mean cutting your spending, but rather reallocating funds to support your values. When your financial decisions are value-focused, people will connect with your business on a deeper level. Your business will become not only profitable but also meaningful and impactful.

Danielle emphasizes the importance of regularly refining your core values over time. As you cultivate a company that upholds its values in every aspect, you’ll see opportunities for improvement month by month. By consistently aligning your financial snapshot with your core values, you create a business that not only thrives financially but also leaves a positive and lasting impact on the world.

Tune in to this episode to gain valuable insights into using core values to guide your financial decisions and discover how aligning your spending habits with your beliefs can create a purpose-driven and successful business.

Check out the blog HERE to read more about core values and our 6-step methodology.

Key Points 

[02:07] What are core values and why do I need them?

[09:37] How to discover your business’s core values 

[14:23] Putting core values into practice 

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Read the episode transcript

Danielle [00:00]

Hello and welcome back to Entrepreneur Money Stories. Today we’re gonna be talking about using core values to guide our financial decisions. This is so important to. 

This is so important to start to think about how we are spending money and using our beliefs, right? What is important to us to guide how we spend money and how we support our team in order to build a long-term sustainable and healthy business. So first of all, what are core values? So we, when we talk to a lot of our clients, we’ve heard over the years that a lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs do not have core values for their business. 

So first of all, what is a set of core values? So core values are the fundamental beliefs and the guiding principles that will. Shape everything about your culture, your behavior as a business owner, the behavior of your team, and how you make decisions. These are the values that represent any ethical or moral standards that you have in your organization. 

This is. 

So these are the values that you can use to guide every financial decision, every hiring decision, every firing decision, um, every new vendor relationship or partnership. These are the values that are going to help. Guide you through these decisions. It’s not gonna be the only factor, but it’s going to help guide each and every decision that you make in your, in your business. 

So why should you have a set of core values in, in your business Now, there’s so many reasons, but I really summarize these into just five key reasons as to why you need core values in in your. In your business. First and foremost, we wanna make sure that we have a clear identity of who we are. Now, this isn’t for marketing purposes, right? 

We’re not talking about creating a clear identity or who our core customer is. This is clear, creating a clear identity as to who you, your business is as a alone. Business. Right? It’s not you. It’s not your your family. It’s not your generations of family. It is your business’ identity, right? So the core values can help you create and establish that identity for your business. 

Alone, they define what your business is going to stand for, what the business believes in, and what the business wants to achieve. All right? So by creating this clear ident identity, we can differentiate ourselves from the competitors, and that can be used to help us attract customers and employees who also share those same values. 

But this is not a marketing plan. This is. Creating a very clear and specific set of standards by which we will operate as a business. Now, I’m gonna keep on using the word business, right? It’s not how you operate, it’s not how your family operates, but it’s how the business operates and it’s really important to have that clear distinction between the two Next. 

Having clear core values for your business is going to help guide your decision making. These core values are going to serve as the map, right? When you are faced with tough decisions, the business can go back and use its core values as a framework to make principled and ethical decisions that align with the businesses. 

Identity the business, what the business stands for. And I think this is really important for business owners who are, who are growing a team and really has a long-term vision of seeing themselves running the business as the C E O. If you are ever planning on maybe taking a two to four week vacation or. 

Really a day off from your business, it is really important that you have core values that will guide the decision maker making of your employees, of the key decision makers that sit alongside of you in your business. So when I leave, right, if I’m not present, my team doesn’t need me to guide every single decision.  

My team has a set of core values. They understand what’s. What the business stands for, what we believe in. They understand what we want to achieve. And so my team, 

my team has the tools that they need to continue to make decisions that they know, um, and can make confidently that I’m going to support them in because we’ve. Created those core values together. They know when they understand them and can use them day to day. Right? It’s really important that our, our core values can be used day to day. 

Now, as the team is using those core values, it’s going to shape our entire company core value or. It’s going to shape the entire company culture. It’s going to influence the behavior and the attitudes of every single employee. It’s going to guide the way that they interact with each other, the way they interact with customers, um, key vendors, right? 

If we have a positive values driven culture, our business can then attract and retain top talent and really build a strong reputation. I wanna give you a, a very key example of how we use this in, in our firm. Um, our, one of our core values is that we have a no judgment zone, right? And that means that we do, do not judge each other as team members. 

So if somebody has a question, you can go to anybody in the company and ask that question and know that you’re not being judged, you’re not looking, look down upon that you are being embraced with a. With a level of support and honesty and community, right? We truly wanna help each other succeed. And then the same goes for our clients. 

When a client emails us with a question about their business finances, they know that behind the scenes we are not judging them all right? We are. Looking at them and supporting them in the best way that we possibly can. And you know what this does? It creates an environment where clients want to ask us questions where team members want to call each other and they want to support one another, right? 

So that’s just a very specific example of how you can use those core values to shape your company culture. And then it’s also gonna increase your employee engagement, right? So when, when your employees have the. When your employees share the same core values as their employer, 

When employees know that they share the same core values as their employer, they feel more connected to the work. They’re more likely to go above and beyond their job requirements because they too are building a brand. They’re building a culture. They’re a, they’re, they belong to something bigger than themselves. 

They belong to something, something. There’s an enhancement in our customer loyal loyalty. When your business values align with your customer’s values, they’re more likely to form an emotional connection with the brand and become loyal, loyal customers. They know that as they are recommending you to other business owners and other friends, they are doing it with confidence that they know that your core values align with theirs and that they’re, you are going to treat. 

Their friends, their family members with dignity and respect, right? So by having these core values in place, our business can really create that clear identity that’s going to shape our decision making, create the company culture, increase our employee engagement, and enhance our customer loyalty. Gosh, can you. 

Can you understand why we’re having this conversation now? Don’t you wish you had a very clear way in which you can be making business decisions, especially financial decisions? 

All right, so I can hear each and every one of you say, all right, Danielle, I understand I need core values in my business, but how do I do this? I’m not saying that this is gonna come to you overnight. We have, um, been working on our core values for a long time and they’ve changed through the years so we can understand and acknowledge that this isn’t a one-time exercise, that you are going to set it and forget it. 

We’re going to define our core values this year, and then look at them every year to ensure that it still aligns with who our business is. Remember not who you are, but who is your bus business? What is the bigger mission of your business and how does it need to conduct itself in order to prioritize the bigger picture? 

To prioritize the mission, the clients, the, the customers, the team members, the company culture. So in order to do this process, I suggest that you take yourself out of your normal work environment. Uh, this might be, it doesn’t have to be fancy, right? We don’t need to go rent an Airbnb for the week and have a whole c e o week. 

Um, I actually really like to work from the coffee shops. So, um, this might be a small treat for you where you’re going to, your favorite restaurant, a coffee shop, ordering your favorite, uh, favorite cup of coffee, and taking yourself out of that normal environment. And then we’re gonna take a few deep breaths. 

Um, I’m going to put in the show notes a YouTube video to some box breathing. I know this sounds a little woowoo, but I am telling you that this moment of removing yourself from your normal work environment, And then getting yourself centered is really gonna help you clear your mind, right? So you’re going to take this five minutes of box breathing. 

All box breathing means is that you’re gonna take a deep breath in, hold it, hold it at the top. You’re gonna deep take a deep breath out. Hold it at the bottom and then take that same round of breath for about five minutes. Again, we’re just trying to clear our mind. Now, there’s several different websites that you can use that list out a set of words that you can start to pick from to identify your core values. 

I’m gonna encourage you not to use them. You will end up with words like integrity, respect, teamwork, and I want you to stay away from using those. Those, those keywords that are maybe really fancy and we see them commonly used, but don’t actually attach to you or your brand. So don’t pull up any of the core values websites. 

This is just a you and a blank sheet of paper or a blank word document they want you to think about. How you impact your clients, the work that you do, or the products that you sell. How does it really impact your client? And then once you have that answer, I want you to ask yourself. How and why like six to seven times after that, right? 

How and why we are digging into the real reason, not the surface reason, right? That we are holding everyone accountable. Why does that matter to you? Now, accountability actually is one of our core values, but it matters to the business in a very deep way. I want our team members to be accountable to each other. 

I want our clients to know that, that we are accountable to them, right? That we are going to meet their deadlines. But that might not be important to you in your business. So it’s important that you ask yourself why and how five times. Right. So you, during this exercise, we’re going to just define the five to seven words that are used to explain our business’ identity. 

So you’re gonna have to keep on journaling and keep narrowing this down. Ask yourself how and why until you’ve come out with five to seven words. Then explain your business’s identity, culture, and mission. 

And then over the next 30 days, I want you just sit with these core values. So I like to print them and keep them on my, on my desk, right? So now once we’ve, we’ve defined them, we’re gonna print them, we’re gonna keep them, and we want to prioritize actually using them over the next 30 days. I want you to see if you’re actually aligning your business practices with these, these values. 

If you find yourself dismissing them throughout the day. Or not aligning with them, maybe they’re not the right core values for you, or maybe we need to have some behavior change so that we start to align with our core values and we’re do, we’re doing this with a judgment free zone so that it’s okay if we’re not aligning with them, but we need to understand that. 

We need to start to use the core values as a decision making framework, right? Can we use those, what we have written down here to. 

To actually guide our decisions to actually guide our spending habits. Are we able to use the core values in the way that we communicate with our employees, customers, clients, and vendors? This is all just observation, and over the next few months, you’re gonna continue to refine those core values until you have a set of core values that you can use moving forward. 

I wanna loop this back around to how you’re going to use the core values to make financial business decisions, right? Because that is why you’re tuning into this show today is to learn how these business concepts can be used in our financials, how they can be used to guide our money mindset and guide the way that we are spending money who we’re aligning with for vendors, employees, and clients. 

Sarah, walk us through this process. I wanna tell you about a client that we worked with a few years ago. Um, this specific client, her name was Sarah, and she ran a boutique coffee shop in her town. Now, Sarah’s passion, yes, it was for coffee and, and to create. Yes, her passion was coffee, but more importantly, she really wanted to create a unique community experience that her customers enjoyed that really went beyond a cup cup of coffee. 

We know that we can go to Starbucks, Panera, or all the other big chains for a cup of coffee, but what Sarah really wanted was to create a sense of community. To create a sense of purpose and connection with her clients. And at the same time, Sarah realized that she was having a really hard time managing her business along with her business finance, finances. 

So when we started working with her, 

When we started working with her on her finances, we completed her bookkeeping and we started sending her our financial snapshot on a monthly basis, and it became really clear that she needed to start to focus her efforts and her spending. Right? So she was spending a little bit here, a little bit there, not really investing her money, her spending in a clear and intentional way. 

So after some reflection, we did guide Sarah through this, this exercise. Sarah came up with Q three core values for her business. It was quality, community, and sustainability. And she understood that if she could prioritize these core values, that she could really make better business decisions with her finances and really ultimately, And ultimately create a better experience for her customers. 

So how exactly did this impact the way that Sarah made financial decisions and looked at her financial snapshot? One really good way. One really good example of this was that she decided to invest in high quality coffee beans and equipment. I know I’m, I’m, I’m flipping the story on its head. It does not cutting costs. 

It’s not all about cutting costs all the time. She actually decided to increase her spending, so to make sure that she had the highest quality coffee beans. And she decided that she was going to lo, she was going to partner with local farmers and suppliers to support her, her community and reduce her carbon footprint. 

Now, this meant that Sarah was spending more money in order to partner with those local farmers and to C and to purchase those high quality coffee beans. Luckily, we understood that and we reflected that in Sarah’s pricing in her marketing. And every time that we looked at Sarah’s financials while we reviewed her financial snapshot, we were able to understand that this was the way that Sarah invested in her business, in her community, and that these places were not places that she was willing to cut costs, right? 

So when we look to cut costs or increase profits, we had to look at other places like increase our, our. Like increase our price prices or choose to allocate funds differently because we knew that her cost of good sold was not going to be a place that we had any wiggle room. Now we also had a really unique opportunity to really bring the local farmers into her community and to build a brand. 

No, take all that out. I like it. 

Now as a result of Sarah changing the way that she made decisions so that her, her decision making. 

As a result of Sarah using this values driven decision making process, Sarah’s business started to thrive. Her customers really appreciated the quality of her coffee and the sense of community that her shop provided. Her employees were proud to work for a business that prioritize sustaina sustainability and social responsibility. 

Her. Employees and customers were connected to her in a deep way. Now, as the years have gone by, it’s been a really amazing journey. We’ve watched Sarah’s Coffee Shop become this beautiful staple in her town. She continues to to prioritize her core values and use them to make business decisions, and as her business faces new and new challenges. 

Every year in business, she continues to use her core values to guide her decision making through those challenges. Now, this is a beautiful success story of how when we create core values and use them to guide our financial decisions, we can create something bigger than ourselves. We can create that community. 

We can create something that is bigger than ourselves. We can create a business that is not only profitable, but meaningful and impactful. So once you have your set of your set of core values, I would like you to take your core values and. Print out your financial snapshot that you received from your bookkeeping team, and look at the way you are making businesses decisions today. 

Are your financial decisions aligning with the core values that you set out? If not, that’s okay. Here’s your opportunity to take action and make change. You’ll be receiving your financial KSA snapshot from your kickstart accounting team month after month, so use that opportunity each and every month. So use that opportunity each and every month to look at how you’re making financial decisions and how they align to your core values. 

Every month is another opportunity to make change, learn from your mistakes, and continue to grow a profitable business. If you are not currently receiving your monthly financial snapshot from the Kickstart Accounting Inc. Team, don’t hesitate to book a call at kickstartaccountinginc.com/bookacall. You’ll talk to Kelsey and I directly about your business and how the financial snapshot can impact you in the way that you make financial decisions. 

All right. Until next time, I hope you enjoyed this episode. Please don’t forget to like and subs, subscribe and share this episode with one other business owner who you know needs help on their money mindset. 

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