I first met Ros Birkett via a networking group (which is pretty much how I meet everyone these days). She’s utterly lovely and a brilliant person to have a coffee and a natter with. When it comes to branding and marketing, what Ros doesn’t know frankly isn’t worth knowing. She’s the owner of Birkett Consulting, working with a range of clients to deliver adverting and marketing that gets results. In a nutshell, she knows her marketing onions, which is why it came as a bit of a surprise to get an email asking if I could help her to come up with some topics for her blog.
When Ros got in touch, Birkett Consulting was in the midst of a website makeover. All of this was happening alongside the day-to-day work involved in running a busy agency and serving clients. There was also the small matter of getting to grips with an in-depth SEO analysis report for a client that ran to over 100 pages. Ros was faced with two main challenges. Firstly, that she was struggling to find blocks of time that would allow her to focus on website tasks. Secondly, all the topics she was reading about seemed a bit predictable. She wanted some fresh ideas that would help her to get the messaging right as we emerged from lockdown.
To start the process, Ros and I arranged a Zoom call to talk through Birkett Consulting’s marketing basics. She described her customers and the services that she wanted to focus on in the blog. Ros’ awareness of her customer base meant that I could focus on the topics that would have most impact. We also talked about bringing a bit of humour back into marketing to lighten things up after lockdown.
After our chat, I went away and came up with four possible topics using a combination of tools, including my own random marketing thoughts. I’m looking forward to seeing the results when the new website launches.
Could a fresh pair of eyes on your business help you to speak more effectively to your audience? Get in touch and let’s have a chat.
Many of us set up our own businesses so we can have more freedom and autonomy. So we can dictate when and how we work, who we work for, how much money we earn and where we sped our time. All this extra time we will have when there’s no boss dictating to us.
Fast forward to being in the thick of running your own business and you wonder how you could have been so naïve! Instead of just having your main role to do, you are now wearing ALL of the hats for your business – Accountant, Social Media Manager, Admin, Content Creator, Salesperson, Marketer to name just a few – leaving you with little very little of the headspace or freedom that you once imagined was part and parcel of being self employed.
So how do you change that?
One of the main ways is to get some clear boundaries in place. Women tend to be people pleasers. Most of my clients don’t want to let people down so take on too much and do everything for everyone else and actually let themselves down in the process.
There’s lots of talk about setting healthy boundaries but what actually is a boundary? A boundary is an imaginary line that separates you from others and vice versa. When you think of a physical boundary, it’s the image of a fence around a property to keep you safe inside and others from coming in. But there is always a gate that swings both ways to allow ease and flow.
These physical boundaries are clear for all to see but when we talk about emotional boundaries, they are much more difficult to recognise and enforce.
But how do you go about recognising and setting boundaries when everything feels like it has a competing priority?
Here are my top tips to identifying and enforcing strong and healthy boundaries
First of all, you need to identify what your boundaries are. Boundaries are very unique to you as an individual so yours might be very different to your best friends’. Spend some time (ideally a month so you can track it against your hormone cycle) noticing when someone has crossed your boundaries. Blaming yourself, feelings of shame and guilt, justifying your behaviour, sensing that something is “off, using words like “should” are all signs that your boundaries are being crossed. Make a note of when these situations occur, who you are with, time of day etc… It’s important not to judge these observations. You are just collecting data to analyse.
When you have tracked these observations, take a look at what you have captured and look for any patterns. Is there a certain day of the week or a particular activity you are carrying out or a certain person you are with etc… that triggers these uncomfortable feelings?
Name the emotion that you feel – angry, sad, frustrated. When you do this, it detaches you from that emotion so that the feeling isn’t part of your identity, it is a feeling that will pass.
When you have identified any patterns and feelings that arise, explore what this means for you. If it always happens with a certain client, is this someone you want to continue working with? If it always happens at a certain time of the month, do you need to block time out of your calendar at that time in hour cycle for more self-nourishment?
When it comes to emotional boundaries, you need to make sure you communicate them. This can be as simple as stating in your email signature or sending an automatic out of office that stipulates your working hours. Make sure you stick to those hours. If you have said you only respond between 9am – 5pm, be consistent with that message. If you are catching up on work late at night, make sure you delay the delivery of your emails to the following morning at 9am so that people don’t expect you to be working late into the night.
For boundary setting on a more personal note, this can feel really vulnerable and scary so my advice is to start small. Begin by communicating your boundarires to someone you know really well and feel comfortable with so it’s a safe space. Eg this could be to your partner. Let him or her know that they may see a change in your behaviour because you have realised that you need to set boundaries to protect your time / energy and health. You don’t have to elaborate or explain further than that. Just be clear that they will notice a change in you and invite them to help you stick to your new boundaries so it’s collaborative.
Invite and respect other people’s boundaries. When collaborating, ask the other party what their boundaries are such as their working hours, what method of communication they prefer, what their non-negotiables are and share yours too from the outset. This role models healthy boundaries for others too.
This will take practice so continually be on the look out for when boundaries are crossed as in point one above. Be consistent and tweak your boundaries as they evolve. They will change in new situations and different times in your life so make sure you make it a regular practice to notice and enforce healthy boundaries. You will notice a positive change in your mental and physical wellbeing as a result and although tricky at first, will result in healthier relationships with less resentment and guilt.
I’m a strengths & leadership coach based in South Manchester. I’m a mum of 3 little hurricanes, wife, recovering perfectionist and introvert.
I was a coach before I even realised it. People used to say how natural I was at developing others but didn’t really understand what that meant. It turns out I have made a career out of it in various guises throughout my 15 years of leadership within large organisations.
I have combined my coaching skills with my passion for helping people thrive in their working life by setting up Elevate with Ellie in January 2021 where I specialise in helping small business owners get the best out of their people.
Hi, I’m Jo Round, Mindfulness Teacher and guest blogger. It’s taken me ages to decide on the subject area for this blog. That’s not because I’m indecisive (at least I don’t think I am 😀) but because mindfulness is so far reaching, I could have gone down any one of many different paths.
In the end I chose stress because it’s something we can all relate to so I hope this blog will be helpful. Also, if I look back to what I believe was the very start of my mindfulness journey, it would be an appointment with my GP when he told me I was stressed and his advice was to take my foot off the gas for a little while! Hmmm! Ironically, that sent me into an even greater tailspin. But here I am writing a blog about it as a fully qualified Mindfulness Teacher, so I guess it all worked out in the end.
Let’s talk about stress!
Feeling stress is normal. It’s the body’s way of preparing us to deal with threatening situations (whether real or perceived). You may have heard of the fight, flight or freeze response. This is where the body detects a threat and releases hormones so we can either stand up and fight, run away or be still until the threat has gone, at which time the body stops pumping the hormones and returns to its resting state.
Our stress can come from many sources – the workplace, family issues, financial difficulties. A little stress can be beneficial to get us through a challenging situation – a job interview, that presentation you’ve been working so hard on, even trying to buy your dream home. It’s when the stress becomes so great, persistent and left unchecked, where our body doesn’t adequately return to its resting state, that stress becomes a problem.
Spotting the dangers
Most of us recognise the types of stress highlighted in the examples above. But in the modern world, perhaps the greatest stressor is psychological – coming from our own thoughts and beliefs but so subtle that we don’t realise the negative impact on our wellbeing. Maybe we wish things were different to the way they are or the way we think they should be. Our thoughts and projections about a situation can often cause us more stress than the actual situation itself. We start to believe the negative thoughts in our head “I’m not good enough”, “what will people think”, “I don’t like this”, “why does this always happen to me?” – trust me, these thoughts are not you and they are not reality. Yet this type of stress can be constant, like being on a hamster wheel going round and round and preventing our body from returning to the resting state. The stress continues to build until we start to feel it physically as well as mentally and simple tasks become too much to deal with.
How mindfulness can help
Like I said, stress is normal and we can’t make it go away – life just isn’t like that. But practicing mindfulness helps us to learn how to deal with stress so that it doesn’t have a detrimental effect on our wellbeing. Imagine stress as a fire and every time we have a negative thought or wish things were different or get too caught up in our thinking, we’re adding fuel to the fire and it grows, burns and consumes until we’re quite literally burnt out. In mindfulness we learn to spot the signs, we learn to step back and we learn to watch the fire, as though we were watching it on a TV. We don’t get involved or pass any judgement or think too much about it, and in doing this, the fire dies down on its own and eventually it goes out. Mindfulness isn’t about changing things; it’s about accepting things as they are. When we can do this, things no longer take a hold and we can live our lives with much more calm, clarity and contentment.
If you’d like to find out more about mindfulness, courses or working with me, do pop along to my website www.likeacircle.co.uk or drop me a message through the contact form on the website.
And finally, thank you so much to Kirsty for allowing me to be a featured blog.
In case you’re reading that question and wondering what the answer is, well, it’s me. I would. You’ll hear lots of business gurus telling you that business success is all about you – how dedicated you are and how far you’re prepared to go outside your comfort zone to reach your goals. The truth is that it’s not always just about you. For me (and I’m guessing most of you) there are competing priorities. The people you love don’t revolve around you. They all have their own needs, ambitions and dreams that need to be recognised and included in your own plans.
Some of them are predictable, others not so much. Sometimes you have to shift things to let someone else live their dream. In my case, it came in the form of a Channel swimming husband.
My husband has been a swimmer all his life, but when I first met him, he mostly did it in nice warm swimming pools. Pre-kids I’d go along to some of the same training sessions, sticking to the slow lane while he zoomed along with the speedy people in the fast lane. I can’t say for certain when the Channel swimming dream was first mentioned, but his open water career started a long time ago. We used to travel to grand prix swims around the country at weekends. They were mostly good fun, apart from the Scarborough swim where it rained so heavily that the spectators got wetter than the swimmers did.
Somewhere along the way, the Channel started being mentioned. Then it got serious.
Channel swimmer training
It won’t surprise you to learn that Channel swimmers need lots of training, and not just on endurance and technique. You’re not allowed to wear a wetsuit, so you train to withstand the cold. You also need to sort your head out. Most people who pull out will do so because their brain told them they couldn’t do it.
Obviously, there’s lots of swimming in cold water. This is sometimes lovely – there’s a lake up the road from us where the whole family can go along. However, a swimmer’s need to train with other Channel swimmers means living with a man who disappears off to Dover for the weekend, or to a training camp in Croatia. I admire single parents generally, but never more so than during those weeks.
You might think that most of the stress of being a Channel swimmer’s wife is in the juggling. It isn’t really. He’s training for his third swim at the moment, so I’m mostly used to it. (Oh yes, did I mention that being a Channel swimmer is addictive? He keeps saying things like ‘five is a nice round number’.) The real stress comes when someone you love is swimming through a shipping lane. My logical brain knows that his support boat has a professional crew and two of his friends looking out for him. I reassure myself with the statistic that there have only been ten Channel swimming fatalities since 1926. Yet I still don’t breathe easily until he’s on dry land.
I know that most of you probably don’t have a Channel swimmer in the family. That’s not why I’m telling you this story. It’s because we all have things that we juggle and I wanted to you know that I get that. If you’d like to work with a writer who knows how life works for you and will help you tell that story to your own customers, get in touch and let’s have a chat.
You love what you do, and you are happiest at work doing all those things you love, but how much time is all the admin that comes with it taking? Is it leaving you drained and robbing you of your weekends and evenings that you’d really like to spend with family or friends and have a break from the job? Worse still, is it keeping you awake at night?
Apart from the fact that most of us have to earn a living to keep a roof over our heads, everyone is driven with different goals and dreams, to earn a certain amount, to have that dream house, to move to a certain area, buy that nice car, or to be able to travel are just a few. How lucky you are to be able to do that doing what you love to do.
Why I got started
After a health scare and a wakeup call, I am driven by time. I know just how precious time is and no amount of money can buy it.
This is where I get the passion to do the role I do. Taking away all the time-consuming admin jobs from my clients gives them back time to use more productively and frees up time so they can enjoy the weekend and evening as they wish. By achieving work life balance, they will feel more in control and less stressed and enjoy life and enjoy the success they have worked so hard to achieve.
Why you might need a VA
Outsourcing to a VA is not easy to do, your business is your baby, and no one else can do it as well as you can, damn right they can’t – but is your business doing the admin?
Cash flow is the most important thing in your business, when you can see clearly where you stand, what monies are coming in and what monies are going out, then business/cash flow improves.
Sending invoices out in time and chasing up late payments is the first thing that improves your cash flow, yet the longer you put this off the more overwhelming it gets = bad for cash flow.
If you are too busy to check your emails and you miss all important orders and enquiries, then again this will affect your cash flow as you will not have invoices to send, so no cash flow.
A good VA can be your accountability buddy, someone that wants to see you succeed, and will do everything they can to help you achieve your goals. She is not a competitor. She is someone who you can bounce ideas off and someone who will make suggestions, she is totally on your side.
It may take a little while to find that “right VA” for you, just as every business is different and has different needs, so is every VA.
Why I love my work
I love working with my clients. Once we have done a bit of brainstorming, have systems in place that work for them and have everything organised, they feel that they’re back in control. Having gained their trust they know that all the admin behind the scenes is in safe hands, that is when I see their business thriving. The client is less stressed, so much happier and enjoying their business. When they have their evening and weekends free to do as they wish then I know that I am doing my role well and that I have achieved what I want from my job.
How nice to be able to kick off your shoes, sit back and relax knowing that all those boring admin chores are being sorted. One happy you and one happy VA.
Ann is a brilliant VA (I can personally recommend her). If you think you might need some support, you can get in touch with Ann here:
I’m one of those people who always wanted to be a writer, even if it wasn’t always the only thing I did. I’ve shared the story behind leaving my old career and starting a new one before, but I’ve never really talked about the reasons I started writing in the first place. It’s been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember. Here’s how it all began.
Surrounded by books
My mum always jokes that I had a library before I was born. It’s pretty close to the truth. My grandpa worked for Brockhampton Press, which was the children’s book division of Hodder and Stoughton at the time. They published classics like Asterix and The Magic Roundabout, with Papa being responsible for book fairs. One of my favourite stories is the one where he got pulled over by the police pulling a Roman chariot up to Harrogate. He wasn’t in trouble, they just wanted to know why. His job meant that I grew up surrounded by books. What’s more, I knew from an early age that being a writer was something you could do for a living. It left a lasting impression.
Creating my own stories
I know that we all have to write stories at school, but I was the kid that just kept going. As a teenager I filled endless notebooks and devoured books to learn more about how to create a good plot. Whenever I had to wait somewhere or spent time on a train my notebook came out as a form of entertainment. I was once on a train, mid-story, when I ran out of paper and ended up finishing my tale on the back of a sandwich bag. Some of the stories were good – I was shortlisted for a prize for young radio playwrights a couple of times. Others were dreadful, simply because they were too simplistic. It was time for a change.
Finding something else to do
The main problem with my teenage writing was the problem every teenager has – I just hadn’t lived long enough. I loved crime fiction and came up with plots that needed to be populated with believable characters. The best crime writing is born out of a solid grasp of human nature and the ways in which relationships can go wrong. I just didn’t have it. I realised that to become a good writer I needed to go out into the world and get some experience. That’s what eventually lead me into a legal career. Ironically, the thing that first attracted me to the law was the fact that there were so many good stories in it. Obviously, there was also crime, although that’s not where I ended up working.
Coming back to writing
As the years passed, I told myself that I wanted to write but I was spending less and less time actually writing. Then I heard an interview with P.D. James, who wrote her books around a full-time job and raising three children alone after her husband’s death. When asked why she had continued with her writing, she replied that if she had found herself telling her that ‘what I always wanted to do was write’, she would have felt that her life had failed in a very important way. Her answer has stayed with me because I feel the same. I realised that if I was going to write I just had to get on and do it. So that’s what I do now.
Can I help you to share your story in your marketing? Book your call here and let’s have a chat. Alternatively, you can sign up to my mailing list for blogging and marketing tips straight to your inbox every month.
Like a lot of you, I’m a Mum who has had her kids at home for the last couple of months. The last period of home school (if you can really call it that) taught me a lot. It meant that I felt a bit more prepared for the day-to-day reality. I’m not going to say that it was easy, because it wasn’t. There were a whole lot of days where the kids cried and I joined in. Sometimes it was even the other way round. Or I cried and they wandered off to play because they hate handwriting practice and geography is some form of torture. We got through it. What’s surprised me is how much I’m struggling with the back to school bit. Not because I don’t think they should be there, I do. It’s just been different and that’s what’s inspired this blog. If any of this resonates (or if you’ve got any advice) please leave a comment and let me know.
The schedule shift
Home learning meant that my working day started at 3.30ish and had shrunk down to a couple of hours. I thought that shifting back to my previous work pattern would be easy. The start of the day was fine. I made a cup of tea and turned on my laptop as I always have. That wasn’t the issue. It was the afternoons. A full working day suddenly felt too much. It was as if my brain had turned into a sulky teenager. I couldn’t work out why it had been easy to readjust last time but not now. Then it clicked.
I’ve been thrown in at the deep end
Last time the kids went back to school it was much more gradual. The phased return that applied to younger kids first meant that my youngest was the only one who went back before the summer holidays. It wasn’t an all or nothing situation where everything had gone back to normal. Then the summer holidays started as usual. By the time that school fully reopened for the Autumn term, it felt more like normal school. Somehow it meant that I could get back to work more easily. It made the difference between then and now so much harder to understand.
The strange this about this return to school is the sense of anticipation that came with it. I kept hearing that this would be it. There was no way they’d close the schools again (although I heard plenty of muttering to the contrary). It was a sign that life was getting back to normal. I don’t know why, but I felt as if I’d be able to leap back into work and everything would be as it was before. It wasn’t. Having shorter day had focused my mind. A full day found me procrastinating, unable to decide what needed to happen first.
How I’m dealing with it
I wish I could tell you that I’m back to full strength and have turned into a goal hitting dynamo. I haven’t. As I write this, I’ve just completed a bit of planning that would normally have taken me an hour. My lack of focus turned it into three afternoons of dragging myself back to my notebook. I’m getting there though. There’s a plan and my priorities are putting themselves into order. I’m gradually building my work muscles back up (just in time for the Easter holidays!). Plus, if I need a break, I take one. Even if it means a two-hour lunch break.
Are you getting back into work mode? How’s it going? Let me know in the comments!
I listened to Money Box on Radio 4 last week and they were talking about lasting power of attorney documents. Professionally I draft these documents (along with wills) so I know how invaluable these can be. What struck me the most was the lack of publicity power of attorney documents get compared to a will. They are just as important and for many people even more so than a will! So, this year I am making it my mission to spread the word.
Why should lasting power of attorney documents matter to me?
One family had to raise money through crowdfunding to a pay their mum’s day to day household bills as they couldn’t access her bank account. Their mum wasn’t old, she was in her 50’s. I am in my early 40’s now and 50 doesn’t seem so old as is once did. It was utterly heart-breaking listening to the lady speak about her situation. It also got me thinking back to one of my former colleagues, who in their mid-twenties seriously injured himself from diving into a shallow swimming pool whilst on holiday. He was in hospital and rehab for a long time. It took his family over 10 months to be able to manage his finances. Is this what you would want for your family?
You are never too young for a lasting power of attorney!
I don’t think any of us feel we would need a power of attorney in our 20’s, 30’s or 40’s. But people do, accident and illness happen. Rent, mortgages and household bills must be paid whether you live in on your own or you’re in a shared household with friends or family.
It will be ok, my family can help me.
No, if you become ill or unable to manage your own affairs the banks and building societies first duty is to protect the vulnerable person. Joint and single name accounts can and will be frozen.
Just because you live with someone, or are related to someone, or have a joint account with someone does not give you the legal right to manage their finances. The journalist and GMB presenter Kate Garroway has spoken about the difficulties she has had with her family finances in the last year. Her husband is still seriously ill in hospital with the after effects of COVID-19. She had no power of attorney in place. I am not sure she will have had her deputy order through yet either!
It’s ok they can just apply for a Deputy Order if they need to.
Yes, families can apply to the courts for a deputy order to manage a loved one’s finances but it is more expensive (more than double and have on going costs), time consuming (9 to 12 months +) and stressful (4 forms not 1).
Deputy orders are not as flexible as a power of attorney and often a deputy will have to re-apply to the court to carry out a particular course of action (e.g. house sale) where as an attorney can just get on with managing the finances and assets without having the extra cost and hassle. A deputy must pay recurring fees for ongoing supervision, where as an attorney doesn’t. The cost of all these fees come from the finances of the person they are supporting.
It’s easy to put off because you think it might be hard or you just don’t know where to start. There are a lot of good resources available on the internet and the government website www.gov.uk/power-of-attorney is a great starting point. You can draft the documents yourself or if you don’t have the time, energy or inclination there are people like myself who do it on a professional basis.
If you have a question no matter how small on this then give me a call 07920 061946. Let’s make sure it’s not your family having to crowdfund to keep the roof over their heads.
Rosie O’Hanlon-Hills is the owner of Westcotes Wills, helping to make life easier for you and your family by drafting wills and lasting power of attorney documents you can all understand.
It’s that time of year again, the time of year where the guilt of what you eat and drink seems to hit twice as hard. Where the first day you swop to eating fresh fruits and vegetables and start to exercise – you feel like you are already onto a winning streak.
You set a new years resolution, a goal for 2021 – to make a change – get fit and healthy, drop a stone and exercise regularly.
Yet every year most people (not all) last until around the end of January, maybe the beginning of February, before it all falls by the wayside. Why? Read on and find out….
1: Why do people fail?
Two simple things – motivation and expectation! When people start exercising they talk about motivation “I’ve set a goal, I want to make a change, I feel so motivated”. The problem with motivation, it has a life span. Sometimes you can be motivated for a long time, other times it’s a short burst. People try to keep up their motivation but with the constraints and pressures of everyday life it isn’t always possible. Combine this with setting unrealistic expectations (aka expecting immediate results) and you have a recipe for “giving up”.
What’s the first thing you should do this January? Be realistic with your goals and change the word motivation to discipline.
2: We change our lifestyle for the wrong reasons.
Everyone talks about exercise and fitness being a lifestyle change and it is, however we need to ensure we are doing this for the right reasons. Reasons not to – guilt, social expectation/ social media, others comments, because it’s that time of year? The reason you exercise has to come from within, it has to be because you see all of the benefits of it. It can’t be focused on weight loss and numbers on the scales (big mistake…I’ll explain why shortly). It has to be because you want to feel great, positive and energised FOR YOU. You have to want to build this discipline into your life in a way that works for you and makes you feel great.
3: Numbers on scales and good/bad food.
We are raised in a culture that puts TOO much focus on the numbers on the scales. These numbers can be the most demoralising thing you focus upon. Our weight can fluctuate every day – losing a lb can mean LITERALLY NOTHING. (Sorry to burst your bubble there). Picture the scene, you’re training everyday, feeling positive, energised – dare I say – motivated and then you step on the scales. You haven’t lost a 1lb in the last week. How do you feel? Rubbish. In one swoop you have mentally undone all of the hard work you have put in. Little do you know that on that particular week you hadn’t managed to drink enough water that week, or it’s that time of the month in your cycle…
So stop fixating on the scales instead start taking pictures, focusing on the changes you can see in your body, the strength and positivity you are feeling.
Get rid of good/bad food. FOOD IS FOOD. Every bite, mouthful you consume contains calories – our body’s fuel. Change your mind-set and start to understand that fuel is what your body needs. So alleviate that Christmas guilt, you didn’t indulge in bad foods – you may have eaten more calories than you required but I bet you had a great time! To lose weight you just need to eat fewer calories than you are burning. Simple. Don’t starve yourself, don’t deny yourself – just become mindful of what volume of food you require – your optimum calorie intake.
4: The first steps to making sustainable change.
If you try to take on too much at once you will ultimately overwhelm yourself. Make one small change at a time and ensure it fits into your lifestyle in a sustainable way. My recommendation is find an exercise regime that is bite sized to begin with. Something you get a quick win from and that makes you feel good. I run At Home HIIT, it live streams workouts to you everyday that last just twenty minutes but are extremely effective and challenging – get that win in early!
5: Set realistic goals and remember every workout is a win!
Whatever change you are making set your goal and be disciplined enough to complete it. That is your goal. Don’t focus on weight and numbers focus on how amazing your body is that it can support you everyday through exercise AND LIFE. Focus on how positive it makes you feel, the benefits to you mental health and well-being. This is how you will succeed.
Don’t forget to make it fun, reflect of how brilliant you are everyday and use this to maintain that, ever important, discipline.
Have a great 2021.
If you need support with your health and fitness goals you can find Laura online here or on Facebook where she runs an awesome community with workouts you can access online and do anywhere. (OK maybe not anywhere – you do have to get out of bed!)
Marketing (and especially the selling part of marketing) can make a lot of us feel deeply icky. We know we need to sell stuff to make a living but the idea of giving anyone the hard sell just feels wrong. There are lots of solutions to this. One is acknowledging that you’re offering your customers something they want or need and you aren’t forcing them to buy anything. Good marketing is persuasive, not forceful. You show your customers how you can help them in a way that makes it easy for them to say yes. The thing is, a lot of the time they aren’t just saying yes to your product or service. They’re saying it to you. When you share your values in your marketing you help them to make a decision. Here’s how it works.
Why you need to share your values in your marketing
Every successful business shares its values in its marketing somewhere. Even Amazon. They could be about pricing, service or product quality. It all means that when you buy from them you know what you’re getting.
The same applies to small businesses, but there’s a bit more to it. A huge corporation needs overarching brand values because of the number of people involved. When the business is just you it can be more about your personal values. Sharing those means that your customers can recognise you as one of their people. It just makes you more relatable.
What are your values?
What do you stand for? You might think that most of us have the same values – truth, justice… wait, that’s Superman. The values that matter to your customers might be closely aligned with your personal views. Maybe you set up your business to create cruelty free cosmetics or environmentally friendly products. Share what sets you apart.
Sometimes values are intangible. Perhaps the things you stand for are more about how you treat people. Maybe you’re great at going above and beyond in your customer service or at keeping in touch with your customers. It can be more difficult to share that in your marketing but it’s worth doing.
Sharing your values regularly helps you build trust
This is related to the idea that sharing your values makes you relatable. That could prompt you to say ‘right, I’m going to go and write a mission statement on my website and a blog about my values.’ That’s fine, but it isn’t the whole picture.
Giving your customers a regular reminder that you stand for the things you say you do them to believe it. Testimonials are perfect for showing future customers that your promises are backed up by other happy clients and you don’t have to write them yourself.
It doesn’t have to be a mission statement
A mission statement can work brilliantly if it’s something your customers will like. It sets out your values clearly and it can be a great thing to look at if you’re wondering why you started this business in the first place. I’d recommend putting it on your about page so people learn about you and what you stand for at the same time. If you do go for it, remember that you still need to talk about your values in other places too.
Of course, you don’t have to write a mission statement if you don’t want to. If you think they’re pretentious your customers will too.
Need a website that shows customers what you stand for? Or a regular blog where you can share your values? Get in touch or sign up to my mailing list for hints and tips straight to your inbox every month.