May 14, 2024

How to take a break from your business 4: spell out your promise of value

What do you do for the people you serve?

I’m sure you know, somewhere deep in your heart. You have some clients who know it too. They love you, and recommend you to all their friends.

But is that crystal clear to everyone in your business?

There’s a lot more to your promise than you might think, but here’s a quick way to get started:

Get your whole team together and ask this simple question: “What’s brilliant about this business?”

Get everyone to spend 10 minutes answering this question on a generous pile of sticky notes, then get each person to share what they’ve written and why they wrote it.

As they do this, listen out for gems.

When asked ‘what’s brilliant?’, people often start with cliches like ‘quality’ or ‘service’. If you encourage them to explain why they’ve written that, they’ll voice values, behaviours and specific examples that are far more reflective of the value you bring to clients. Capture these on new sticky notes as you go.

Now, put yourselves in your client’s shoes and look at the words and phrases you’ve produced from their perspective. This will help you to move your thinking from ‘features’ (“we produce accurate accounting information”), to ‘benefits’ (“we make sure you have the information you need to run your business well”).

Re-word some of the phrases you’ve identified to reflect this.

Finally, try to sum everything up in a single phrase, like this on from Bernadette Jiwa:

“We do X.  People who are Y do/achieve/become Z because we do.”

What’s your ‘X’? – the thing you do and the unique way you do it.

What’s your client’s ‘Y’? – the core values and behaviours they share with you.

What is the ‘Z’? – the thing that only happens as a result of working with you.

The clues are in the sticky notes. Look out for words and phrases that capture something of what you make a client feel, or what you help them achieve. Then assemble your own version of this sentence, so you have something everyone in your team can easily remember.

It won’t be perfect, but it will be good enough for now, and it will certainly be better than nothing.

Then put it on the wall, on screensavers, on the back of the toilet door – anywhere people can be reminded of it.

Along with this simple rule:

“If in doubt, remember the promise, then do what it takes to deliver that.”

That’s how you’ll know you can be comfortable on that beach.

Discipline makes Daring possible.

Next time, getting comfortable with business processes.