The importance of business values

A crucial process your business can go through is creating a set of values. I believe having a well thought out set of values is just as important as a business strategy. But putting them down on paper and ticking them off the list is not enough – you and your team must live and breathe them. This set of words or phrases are powerful; when reflected inwards they help create your company culture. When reflected outwards, they shape your brand’s tone of voice.

At realestate.co.nz we re-established our values just over a year ago. There was a need to revisit our branding and shift the perception of our company in the marketplace. So we took some time out to construct our set of values. Now we proudly live by the following:

  • We are clear
  • We are positive
  • We are knowledgeable and
  • We are considered

Given we operate in a two-sided market (both B2B and B2C), our values not only need to mean something to our users, but they also need to add value to the industry we operate in – the real estate industry. We decided that four words were sufficient for what we wanted to achieve. However, we needed to add context and give guidance on how to use them:

• When we’re clear, we’re easy to understand – our industry can be complex, confusing and full of jargon. We help users and agents easily navigate the world of property by being clear, concise and straightforward.

• When we’re positive, we’re uplifting – we love property and we believe that buying, renting and selling property should be an uplifting experience. Through our upbeat language, we capture the joy of finding the perfect property and creating a rewarding experience.

• When we’re knowledgeable, we’re informed – nobody has more knowledge of the New Zealand property market than we do. This enables us to create and share meaningful and relevant insights, informing each of our audiences at the right time.

• When we’re considered, we’re empathetic – real estate decisions are some of the biggest choices in life and can come at interesting times. By carefully considering what we share and the way in which we share it, it allows us to empower people to make smart decisions.

Once we agreed on our external values, we worked through how they reflected our staff and our internal culture. We use the same four words, however, they focus on how we conduct ourselves as a business and how we treat each other. We now ask our staff to think about how they operate. Is it in a clear and straightforward way? Are they carrying out their work in a positive and informed manner? We like to ensure our staff are continuing to grow, so we ask that they translate their knowledge into meaningful and relevant insights for our customers and colleagues. Lastly, it is imperative that our team take a considered approach when operating within their environment.

In my experience, values must line up both internally and externally otherwise it can cause confusion. Consistency is key.

In an ever-changing market, your core values help you to stay true to who you’re as a business. They allow you to sense-check your product roadmap, sales strategy and play a big part in the way you communicate both externally and internally. If your business doesn’t have a set of values, or if they’ve been put away in a drawer, I suggest putting some emphasis on them. It will help drive direction, focus and purpose for your business.