Freedom to Make Your Own Decisions
Freedom is never something that just happens. We are all bound by constraints of circumstance and perspective. This is as true for the wealthy as it is for the poor. We are fooling ourselves if we believe money alone guarantees freedom.
It is tempting to think of lack of freedom as a matter of circumstance. “If only things were different, then I would be free.” It is our perspective or mindset that is just as binding on our lives as the circumstances we find ourselves in. Indeed it can be our mindset that leaves us at the mercy of circumstance.
So, to be free we must have a purpose; be free is to do something. And we need the means to do it. This is life where profit and values overlap. To focus on profit alone is to live without purpose, but without profit your purpose is unfulfilled.
If you run a business you must master the art of marketing. However, it is not some dark art formulated by myrmidons with jargon terms and slick salespersonship. Marketing at its best is a congruent expression of your values and what you do. You are bringing your vision or purpose into the light of day, expressed in everyday words and profoundly honest.
So, alignment of your marketing with your values and your offer is essential and your challenge is to align five elements of your business to lend it coherence and credibility.
Let’s assume you know what your values are and want to see them expressed through your business.
Sometimes business people lose sight of their values as they work on their business. Simply keeping up with everything there is to do means we don’t have time to reflect on our business. If we are a lone worker, we are not accountable to anyone other than ourselves for our values. To speak them to a listening ear, helps keep them in mind.
The other error we make is overemphasising values at the cost of business. If we have a skill we know to be of value, the temptation to give it away or sell it at a low price can overwhelm us. We must do justice to our contribution because otherwise we will in time have no contribution to make.
It is essential your offers align with your values. Coaches and freelancers, base their decision to go into business on an acquired skill and their values inform their desire to learn that skill. Some businesses have low-end products that allow them to use their skill with the greatest number of people and high-end offers that effectively subsidise their low-end offers.
This approach requires you to make sure you align all your offers with your values. The prices of your high-end packages must reflect their value to their market.
Your marketing must align with your offer and values. So far, this is obvious. Everything you say should be congruent with your values. The challenge is congruence with your offer.
Let’s say you are a coach and your coaching practice is clearly values-based. How can you use your skills as a coach to market your business? Think of the advantages. Your prospects will experience something of your skills as a coach. They will get a better idea of what you offer and understand the commitment they make when they work with you.
Market / Problem
Be aware of the distinction between what you sell and what you deliver. You sell solutions to problems in your market. What you deliver is the means you use to solve the problem.
So, if you sell peace of mind you might deliver home security equipment or fitness regimes or financial advice or …
You need to align your marketing with your market and specifically the problem you solve for them. You need to use language they understand and show you understand their problem (and can solve it).
If you get all this right and find clients, you will be able to point to success among your clients or customers.
Finally, you can align your market with the wider benefits of your business to your community. This is harder to pin down. People often speak of outcomes, the changes that happen as a result of delivery of outputs.
So, if you coach coaches, their clients will benefit from your coaching. If you help someone improve their health, their friends and family will benefit.
This is hard to capture but it is the ultimate result of your values and all the work you have put in.
Looking Back from Local Benefit to Values
So, if you imagine a line connecting values to offers to marketing to market to local benefit, you can stand at either end and look along it. As you plan or review your business you can stand at the values end of the line and see how each element falls into place and follows logically from the one before.
Stand at the local benefits end of the line and ask, whether you can see your values in the outcomes of your work. If not your values, whose? Maybe you have done unintended good and so find new values you were not aware of. Or perhaps you can begin to see where along the line your values are not fully expressed or indeed where your values are a problem!
If you are seeking freedom through business, then alignment of your values and your outcomes is essential. It is hard work but it is work with a purpose and that is freedom.
If you found this post helpful, do let me know. I’d be happy to write other posts with more details, on request.