As a brand photographer, it’s my job to help you visually represent your business. That’s the easy part. The harder part is looking deeper than headshots and details of your products.

There is a reason why you do what you do. That reason can obviously be money but speaking from experience, small businesses are rarely driven by financial gain only. There’s usually something more powerful pushing you to put in all those hours and energy into building a sustainable business. That driving force is your passion, your purpose and it’s guided by something else that is unique to you: your values.

How to define your core values as a business

As a small business, a solopreneur or freelancer, you and your business are intertwined. You are your brand and while you might be able to separate yourself as a person from the business, the things you stand for will most likely go hand in hand. I know they do for me.

When you book a branding photography session with me, you’ll receive a questionnaire where I ask you about your business, your message, your audience and the benefit you provide. And I ask about your values.

Clients have told me that this questionnaire gave them a lot to think about and that’s why I mentioned that my job is not just to portray you and your products or services but to do it in a way that aligns with you and your own clients.
Knowing your values as a trading business is crucial if you want to thrive and grow. Your values are basically a list of commandments to help you stay on track as well as overcome challenges. As long as you operate in a way that aligns with your values, you’ll know that you’re going in the right direction.

If you’re unsure what your business values are, start by defining your now values. What’s important to you in your personal life – the way you treat others, the way you live your life and deal with tough situations. Most likely you’ll be able to transfer them one to one into your business and if not, you’ll be able to see a pattern that lets you define what your business stands for, how you want it to be seen from the outside and how you want clients to feel when working with you.

As an example, these are my values:

  • Authenticity
  • Empathy
  • Kindness
  • Honesty
  • Passion

They’ve changed slightly over time – some things in my life became more important, others less but in its essence, I’ve always lived my life by these. It’s how I’ve been raised and it’s how I’d like to be treated by others.

Having those words spelt out in front of me, helps me make certain decisions: How I present myself online. Who I want to work with and what kind of client I’d rather refer to someone who is a better fit. And how I execute my profession.

It’s all connected.

So, are you clear on your own values? If not, take a moment to really think about the traits you like or don’t like in others as well as yourself. How can you characterise your business in a way that aligns with what’s important to you and how does that define how you operate?

If you come up with a list of values that you’re happy with, write them down somewhere so you can see them frequently. Reading them constantly will help you make important decisions as well as inform the actions you take in how you let your audience experience your business.
The moment you go against your values, you’ll feel it in your gut – something feels wrong and being clear on what it is you strive for, will make it easier to define what’s not right and hopefully also help you get back on track.

So, what are your core values? Are they visible in your business? Let me know if you feel like your images don’t represent your values and mission well enough and you’d like to update them!

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