Put company values in place so you can stop being “Authentic” and start behaving like a real business owner
This has been the buzz word for the last two years. To be authentic.
And I get it.
It’s something that the well-known brands struggle with because they are big businesses. How can you be authentic and understand your customer needs when the customer services are not even based in the same country as you?
But for small businesses this can be the advantage over their giant competition. Because small businesses know their customers. Their owners interact with their customers daily and they are very aware of what they need and want.
I fondly remember when I was a student and used to go shopping at the local market. The butcher there always used to give me a little bit extra because he knew that I was a student. He would recognise me when I got there and would always serve with a smile and we would have a chat.
And I would go back every week.
Not because I got extra, but because the customer service wasn’t forced or scripted; he was being authentic.
The “interpretation” of authenticity
But over the last couple of years the interpretation of authenticity has gone completely wrong. And, unfortunately, it’s mostly female businesses that are the offenders. To the point where it actually puts me off buying from them.
I am talking about the affirmations, the selfies of tear-stained cheeks and sad faces, the social media statuses complaining about how hard it is and what a tough day it is….
That’s not being authentic. That’s just moaning.
Now, I am not a completely heartless cow. I am very aware – having got two offspring of my own – how incredibly difficult the last 11 months has been. It is tough: tough to find space for five minutes peace, tough to be a school-teacher and a business owner, tough to not be able to see friends and family.
I get it. Everyone else gets it. But you don’t need to remind us of it.
When I see a business owners being “authentic” I start questioning their reasons why they have decided to tell me that today is a rough day.
Are they making excuses for their product or service they are going to provide?
Because regardless of whether you’re having a shitty day, I’ve paid my hard-earned money and I expect a return on my investment to the same standards as if you were having a fantastic day.
So how do you be authentic, and not be some sort of hot mess on an Instagram story?
Why you need Company Values in business
Company Values in branding (and you may come across them in your business plan too) are the “rulebook” that your business lives by. They are also the way that you can come across as a real business, with a human running it and that authenticity that you are looking for. Check out my values on my homepage
When you set your values, you have to be able to stick to them. If you decide that one of your values is to continuously learn, and then you are found out that you haven’t done any sort of personal development for the last 4 years, your customers are going to feel lied to.
And that mistrust can last for years.
Knowing what you stand for and having values also cuts through this bullshit “authenticity” that we seem to be enthralled by. No longer will you need to post ridiculous “you’ve got this” affirmations that has no impact on the world whatsoever.
We all know that you are posting it to get the social media algorithms to like you. Stop it!
Social Media is full of people faking it. But by being “authentic” you are just joining them.