Yorkshire Business Owners talk about their values and purpose and how focusing on them makes decision making easier

February 17, 2019 8:19 pm | Published by | 2 Comments

 

I do what I do because I admire and I’m inspired by people who start businesses.  I love working for myself and I want to inspire my kids and others to find a vocation that they truly care about and hopefully makes a difference even in a small way.

A business cannot pursue their purpose without customers or the talents of others, Everyday People exists for those reasons.

I’m fortunate that I get to meet inspiring people on a daily basis, one of these people is Matt Essam. Almost every time I saw Matt he would encourage me to read these 3 books:

1. Start with Why by Simon Sinek

2. Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestly

3. The 4-Hour Workweek  by Tim Ferriss

I’ve yet to read ‘The 4-Hour Workweek‘, simply because the title put me off. I like work and don’t only want to work four hours a week! Though having recently started listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcast, I like what he has to say and I feel I may have misjudged the title. So it’s now on my reading list!

This blog post is inspired by the book ‘Start with Why’.

In the book ‘Start with Why’ Simon talks about What’s, How’s and Why’s

 

WHAT is what you physically produce or the service you offer.

HOW  is the culture, values and principles you live as you produce your what.

WHY is the purpose behind it, the reason you get out of bed and totally eradicates that Monday morning feeling. It’s what keeps you going when things get tough.

 

Most companies communicate what they do and how they do it, but rarely why. The key message in the book is that people don’t buy what they do but why you do it because emotion trumps reason in decision-making.

Having read the book and the sequel ‘Finding your Why’ I now spend time considering, my strengths, values, passion and purpose.

As a result, I’ve come to a place where I don’t worry about the next disruptive marketing trend, or what my so-called ‘competitors’ are doing, I don’t even think about affecting people’s decisions by emotions. I’m just happy to wake up each morning do something that gives me pleasure and helps others along the way. It might sound cheesy to some, but it’s the truth!

Understanding who I’m helping, why I’m helping and living by my values has quietened the outside noise and made trusting my gut a lot easier.  Though I understand the importance of business acumen, and I’m constantly developing my skills, I now have more faith in my emotional intelligence, empathy and desire to do the best I can.

 

To give depth and experience to this post I spoke with four colleagues about their purpose and values.

 

Matt Essam, Business Coach

Why did you start your business?

I’d been working in the Creative Industries for more than 10 years. I’d worked for big advertising agencies, working with major brands and I’d also run my own freelance business. I’d constantly come up against the challenge that the kind of work where you get paid really well, is boring and you don’t have a lot of creative control,  whereas the fun stuff is not usually very well paid. So I really wanted to find the sweet spot in the middle of those two.   I started my business because I was on a mission to help people to do more meaningful, fulfilling work that they really enjoy and get paid what they are worth.  

Who do you help?

I’m helping established freelancers, people that have been working in the industry 5, 10, 15 sometimes 20 years. I help them when they hit a bit of a ceiling in their business and they’re not quite sure how to stand out from the competition. They need help finding work that is meaningful and gives a deep feeling of contribution but also allows them to run a successful business.

What’s your vision?

I really want to see more talented, creative people solving meaningful problems.  

What are your values?

1. Health and vitality,  is at the top because I realised I couldn’t live a lot of the other values without energy and without being healthy

2. Creativity

3. Contribution and making a difference

4. Freedom is a huge one for me, being able to create things on my terms.

5. Significance or a way that I can actually do something in the world that is significant for me and leaves a bit of a legacy, something that actually has an impact rather than just doing work for work’s sake.

Was it easy to find your company’s purpose?

No not really, it took a lot of reading and a lot of soul searching.  It was actually a death in my family that made me stop and re-evaluate my life and my purpose.   A book by Daniel Priestley, ‘Key Person of Influence‘  really allowed me to dig down into why creativity was important and actually find a purpose I can attach to it.

Do your values, mission or vision effect how you run your business?

They affect everything I do in my business because at the moment I am effectively my business,  but as I’m building a small team I’m very conscious about bringing on other people that share those values. 

It’s a really good compass for me because it allows me to choose who I work with. Since I’ve got really clear what my values are  I’ve had the confidence to say no to a lot of people and turn down projects even when I was in a position where it wasn’t financially the best move. Any time something isn’t really working, or I feel internal conflict.  I think how am I not living my values?  Does this client share my values? Does this thing  I’m doing align with my values? I always find that is one of those boxes isn’t being ticked.

There’s actually no way I would have been able to get my business to where it is today with what I was previously doing. I just didn’t care enough about it and didn’t believe in it enough, it was it was a means to an end.  You need to find something that you really care about. It’s also important to think outside of yourself and how you can serve others.  That may seem quite grandiose, but it doesn’t have to be that big, it can be in your world,  your particular industry or your geographical location. You’ve got to know that you’re doing something that has a purpose.  I know if I have a strong enough WHY I can find the HOW!

How easy is it to turn down clients that don’t align with your values and vision? 

For me, it’s really easy!  I’ve got active. Since starting this business and working with successful entrepreneurs I realise there’s a reason they’re successful. It isn’t because all of the best opportunities come to them,  it’s because they go and pitch constantly with people they want to work with.

When somebody comes along who I don’t think it’s a great fit it’s easier for me to say no because I know that I’ve got five other meetings lined up.  Each day I’m reaching out to people creating opportunities, I’m constantly finding people on Instagram and LinkedIn.  I know if you do that enough it’s just a law of probability that there will be enough people who do align with your values.

 

Jem Henderson, Indieworx Collective

Why did you start your business?

I started Indieworx Collective to help the small businesses of Harrogate by providing a hub for them to work, network and grow.

What problem are you solving?

Expensive offices and lonely days with no one to talk to is no good for anyone so I built a hub for businesses to get together.

Why do you want to solve it?

Having worked from home for 6 years, I’ve realised the importance of being part of something bigger.

What are your values?

Community and Collaboration – by working together, businesses can achieve more, grow faster and quickly find solutions to problems when they occur.

Innovation and Creativity – driving a culture of creativity and innovation through the heart of the business community with events, workshops and innovation, we can grow the local digital economy.

Localism and Sustainability – By growing Harrogate businesses, we can ensure that the town continues to be a success on the regional stage. A business development hub will stop the daily brain drain to Leeds and drive professional employment levels higher in the area.

Accessibility and Diversity – A business community that works for everyone,  regardless of gender, race, sexuality, disability and more can only do better. No one should be left behind!

Was it easy to find your company’s purpose?

Yes. I’m passionate about making Harrogate a better place to work and live so it came easily.

Because you are clear on what you want to achieve does it make it easier to keep the faith when you’re having a difficult day/week?

So so. Tough times are tough regardless, but faith that you’re doing something good can help you through a dark night of the soul.

How do you communicate your company’s values and vision?

All of our communication is honest and to the point. It might be Yorkshire nous or something, but either way, it seems to resonate with people. We’re always honest, always striving and always looking for a new way to help Harrogate businesses.

 

Kurt Ewald Lindley, Be more – Learning and Development 

Why did you start your business?

I needed an adventure. My job was not giving me the freedom to play and experiment learning.  I needed to ‘BE MORE’, so I thought why not create a business that led me down this path of personal and professional growth.

What problem are you solving?

Mine…. I have this philosophy that if I consider the problems I’ve had in learning (personal and organisational) and then build solutions to solve these I will have a viable product for all those ‘like me’ – my client base then ends up being people with the same desire and need.

Why do you want to solve it?

I love learning and if I can get paid to do this, in a manner that then benefits others – what an awesome way to do things.

Oh and I do notice a lot of wastage in poor learning (often public money, so would love to save or better allocate this).

What’s your mission?

My personal mission, which drives the company mission is to ‘be more’. In that I mean look to be more each day from, each interaction, each experience (always ask – what can this teach me). This is then translated into a parallel mission for what the company is there to do… help others ‘Be More’ .

What are your values?

Integrity (and with it transparency)
Trust (build and give it, care for it, honour it)
Honesty (with myself as much as anyone else)
Authenticity (keep remembering to be me)

My life values and personal definition of success govern how I run my business.

My definition of success is being able to:

1. Walk my daughter to school a minimum 3 days a week (every week)

2. Take one guaranteed holiday per year to Durban, South Africa

3. Pay my bills (for the things I truly need)

4. Learn as I work/learn with whom I work

5. Oh and be a confident parent

The work I do must serve these – me, my family and the people I work with.

Because you are clear on what you want to achieve does it make it easier to keep the faith when you’re having a difficult day/week?

Definitely, I have a scroll on my desk that illustrates much of this and I take a look at it regularly to be sure I am still on track and agree with what I have written (it’s ok to change your mind). Additionally, I have a great co-working space that is more than just coffee, internet and a desk. It’s a community of invested individuals who can and will be there for you on those days and definitely provide guidance and motivation when needed

Is it to turn down clients who don’t fit with your values and vision? 

It’s not easy to turn them down in a sense that I don’t like saying no, however it is an easy decision internally because doing the right job is more important than ‘just doing a job’.

How do you communicate your company’s values and vision?

In how I work and behave… in the work I put out there. How I talk, show up.

Oh and I have a website in design that is going to help with that too (watch this space… something magic is coming).

 

Gary Butterfield, Everyday Juice

What’s your vision?

We believe that everyone has the right to be happy and healthy at work, connected to a community of colleagues who are passionate about making a positive impact on themselves and the workplace.

Was it easy to find your purpose?

Finding our purpose was easy, we wanted to rid organisations big and small of their silos and create a wider community. We had personal experience working in large organisations and knew the pain points associated with it.

Like every business, the company goes through peaks and troughs. Whenever we’re in the troughs we always go back to what we are trying to achieve, and the positive impact that Juice is genuinely having on people’s lives. Our feedback from users has been remarkable over the years, and it’s something that we’re incredibly proud of.

How does Juice work?

Our online platform, Juice, brings an employer’s health and wellbeing offer under one, easy to navigate online roof, using a single recognisable identity. Juice automates the booking process for activities and events, making it simple to manage whilst allowing colleagues to see a range of provision taking place near them all year round.

For those that are less able to attend activities on a regular basis, Juice gives colleagues the opportunity to learn ways to make positive steps towards better health, wellbeing, and happiness. This is presented in our weekly updated Health Hub, underpinned by the New Economics Foundation’s “Five Ways to Wellbeing”.

We know that everyone is unique, with their own set of hobbies, interests, and skills. True diversity doesn’t just rest with a person’s ethnicity, race, or religious background; it’s also very much based on their experiences. We wanted to reflect the diversity of the workplace through Juice.

What are your values?

When we first created Juice we had a clear vision for what values we wanted it to instil, and we have aligned ourselves to these values ever since. These values are:

> Juice is for everyone

> Juice in informal yet informed

> Juice should emotionally engage its users

> Juice has a bias for action

> Juice embraces technology

> Juice is designed around the needs of the employee, not the employer

> Juice showcases people’s hobbies, interests, and talents.

We always align to our core values, and they underpin everything that we do at the company and its products; Juice should and always will be about bringing people together through common interests. This makes it easy for us to map out where we see the business and customer base moving. However, we are flexible enough that although our values do not change, our operations and products may, and that’s dictated by the market.

How do you communicate your value and vision?

We work with employers who share our values and want to make a positive impact on their colleagues. By working with organisations who share our common purpose, we are able to better communicate our values to users both through written and published communication styles (letters, emails, posters, social media etc.) but also through delivering the right message verbally. If an organisation does not align to these values or is investing in health and wellbeing as a tick-box exercise, we have the confidence to tell them that Juice may not be the best option for them.

 

 


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