How to reveal what your business stands for

Jonathan Amm & Paul O'Mahony of ChangeAgents - helping businesses to see what they stand for

Jonathan Amm & Paul O’Mahony of ChangeAgents – helping businesses to see what they stand for

I’ve recently had the privilege of working with the good people at ChangeAgents.

As my business is continuing to grow and especially with increasing demand for the SmarterPreneur programmes, the time had come to have a more grown up discussion about how the business was presented to others.

Initially, I thought we’d get into concepts like copywriting and visual imagery, and other things that I thought were part of the branding process.

But I wasn’t ready for the first question: “What do you stand for?”

What do I stand for?

What does Smarter Egg stand for?

Hmm, not sure.

Paul skillfully guided me through the process of revealing what Smarter Egg stands for. He especially loved sharing a quote from Liz Strauss of SOBCon fame: “Values attract values”.

Essentially, that means being clear about who you are and what it is you value as that will attract people who value the same things.

This process didn’t require me to change or for me to immediately adjust the Smarter Egg programmes or offerings. But it did require a lot of thinking and forced a lot of clarification.

Paul quickly noticed my preference for non-committal language, the use of words like “sometimes” or “tend to”. He challenged me to take positions, to be clear about my convictions, to share what I had learned to be true.

I was amazed to see statements emerging for which I was willing to stand up and argue. I found I was gaining energy from the process, that I was ready to put my name to something and not hide behind a qualifier like “Some people think”.

Three points emerged initially, and then this soon became five. A week later, the list had lengthened to eight. And then it felt right to round it up to a form of ‘Ten Commandments’!

And here’s the list. Like a sculptor with a chisel, there’s been a lot of chipping and where possible, each statement has been reduced to elemental levels.

  1. Great achievements in business and society are a collaboration.
  2. Difference has value; fear of difference destroys potential
  3. Action matters, but the quality of the thinking preceding the action is pivotal
  4. Everyone has the potential to achieve more
  5. The journey is more fun than the destination
  6. All adventures are better in the company of others
  7. An external lens stimulates the great solutions that lie within
  8. Humility is attractive
  9. To be sustainable, you must become profitable
  10. The desire for improvement is inspiring and contagious

(There’s no significance to the order, btw).

It’s possible that this list may change with time, that stronger beliefs displace some that may feel less important. In fact, it’s probably healthy that it will.

The path ahead is now well lit. The elements of branding that I had expected to be worked on initially now seem easier to develop.

When you take a position, the world seems clearer. Some will agree, some will disagree but at least you’ve eliminated some confusion and ambiguity. Progress is now more probable.

2 thoughts on “How to reveal what your business stands for

  1. Ciara Feely

    Wow Aodan, great commandments!! I agree with so many of them! Your Smarter Egg programme “lens” gave me a lot of perspective to look at my business through, some are only starting to become clear now after going through a process . Paul O Mahony is just brilliant at Clarity… He helped me find some nuggets too. I have a presentation coming up. I might have to borrow the commandments idea!

  2. Paul O'Mahony

    Reading your “Ten Commandments” again in February 2014 Aodan – I totally agree with Ciara : they are “great”. They appeal to people – the kind of people you want them to resonate with.

    The work – as you would call it – is to take the commandments off the page and bring them to life – everywhere people trip into you & your SmarterEgg brand.

    Recently I got a client to start with their 10-point manifesto (values) – drop one off the list. You have 9: drop another…

    This gets tougher as it goes along. But we found it a better way to prioritise. It certainly resulted in an immoveable attachment to their No 1 – the only one one they’d be left with under pressure.

    A series of 10 pics headed: What I stand for (or something) – would do the job. Eventually there would be a pic entitled “What I stand for” – one single thing.

    Just thinking… (way too late in the night)

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