Understanding and defining your core values and non-negotiables are crucial for business if you want to thrive in your business. Too often, we push these aside, thinking we need to please and be something different for our clients. But knowing who we are, who we want to work with, and what our non-negotiable values are can have a significant impact on our business and our clients.

If everyone wanted a cookie-cutter, robot approach to business, we would have automated everything by now. But people seek you out for your unique way of doing things and the values behind your business. Defining your core values clarifies who you are and how you operate, making you more attractive to clients who resonate with your approach.

So in this episode of Talk, I will run you through an exercise to help you define your core values and the types of people you want to work with.

Why Did You Start Your Business?

Start by reflecting on why you got into business in the first place. What motivated you? Was it the desire for more freedom, more time with loved ones, or a different way to serve people than you could as an employee?

Understanding your original motivation is key to defining your core values.

Identify Who You Don’t Want to Work With

Think back to when you worked for someone else. Who were the people you didn’t enjoy working with? This list is just as important as the list of people you do want to work with. These are the clients you’ll say no to, even when times are tough. Write down their characteristics, maybe even give them a name and a face. Recognise them when they come along, and don’t work with them.

Identify Your Ideal Clients

Now, consider the people you do want to work with. Many will guide you through creating a client persona, but you might have several types of ideal clients. For example, I work with small business owners, course creators, and organisations on systems and procedures. My core defining goal is helping people create impact. What’s yours? Write it down and discuss it with your team to get their input.

Determine Your Work Schedule

One core value is deciding when you want to work. If you’re a morning person, schedule your work for the mornings. If you work better at night, do that. You don’t have to stick to a 9-to-5 schedule unless required by your business location. This flexibility is one of the perks of owning your business and one that should be communicated clearly with your clients.

Time for Working on the Business

Set aside time to work on your business. This practice is highly impactful. If you haven’t already, check out my episode on the different hats you wear as a business owner on The Business Owners Podcast. It’s essential to allocate time for strategic planning and development.

Non-Negotiables Like Family Time and Travel

Consider your non-negotiables, such as family time and travel. When I started travelling for business, I had a rule of no more than two nights away from my family unless they came with me. This ensured my young daughter felt secure and reduced pressure on my husband. Your non-negotiables might evolve, but setting them early helps maintain a work-life balance.

Payment Terms

Lastly, define how you want to be paid. Decide on your payment terms: in advance, upon completion, part payments, or automated payments. This clarity prevents confusion and ensures you’re compensated fairly and timely.

Growing and Evolving Values

As your business grows, your core values and non-negotiables will evolve. You’ll develop more services and refine your values. Regularly revisit and update these to ensure they align with your business growth and personal development.

By defining and adhering to your core values and non-negotiables, you create a strong foundation for your business. Review these regularly to stay on track and true to yourself.


[00:00:34] Embracing your unique approach

[00:00:56] Why did you start your business?

[00:01:12] Identify who you don’t want to work with

[00:01:42] Identify your ideal clients

[00:02:08] Determine your work schedule

[00:02:42] Time for working on the business

[00:03:15] Non-Negotiables: Family time and travel

[00:04:15] Growing and evolving values

[00:04:44] Payment terms


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