Sorry but I won’t work with you

We all talk about values in our organisation, but how often do we use them to turn work away?

I was writing up a business plan for a start-up and following conventional advice, I was defining who the target audience was. I was nailing down a good description when it hit me. For an authentically purposeful business, it’s just as important to have a clear description of who we wouldn’t engage with.

I’m not talking about a waffley statement that remains hidden in the business plan to make us feel good. I’m not talking about a rule that is set in concrete – unless the offer is really enticing.

It should be a statement or description that is:

Up-front, clear and public so all prospective clients can see it.

Based on real values so it’s non-negotiable.

A commitment made to your customers that you value them for what they are doing, not just the dollars they pay you.

Lastly it is a statement of faith in yourself. A clear line in the sand that you know you will not cross – and why not crossing it is important to you.

I won’t go into the points I listed but for me, the over-riding premise was summed up by “I will not sell my soul by enabling anyone to damage our communities”

Surely one advantage of being in business is the ability to work with others who share your passions and values – and not just any jerk with money.

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