Posted by: DrAlanRae | May 8, 2008

Who are you and what are your values – foundations of your Brand

Setting up in business is all about following your passion – for some people its money but for most of us it’s about having a vehicle to do something we love to do. In our case it’s about doing things that are innovative – most of our work has had a technical dimension and has centred around introducing the technologies of the day.

I like to research new situations and develop useful tools. Some of the things I’ve developed or have helped develop include

· 4 Businesses

· A dock tractor

· A suite of software to automate drawings and cutting lists

· Many IT, marketing and e-commerce workshops and courses

· An A3 qualification pad to help PCWorld sell more effectively to small businesses

· A comprehensive development programme for business owners

That’s what I do – I just find it fascinating and have been lucky enough to earn a living by finding people who respond to my vision of how to move their companies forward. In the same way, your vision and Brand for the business is going to need to connect you with the people. So you need to think about these connections consciously and be clear about what you want to do and how you want to serve your customers.

Increasingly customers are looking for authenticity – so you need to have a clear sense of what is important to you.

Our company is called Free Spirits Ltd. What we really wanted to do was to use technology and people skills to earn a living in a way that let us live our values. The first thing we did was write a list of 20 core principles each and combine them into a master list of 10.

Our values recognised that the business exists to benefit us, our customers and the world at large.

a. It needs to make a profit

b. It needs to be ethical – honest and straightforward

c. It needs to have a simple to understand purpose – and stay focused on it

d. It needs simple elegant processes that get better

e. It needs to know how to identify and surf opportunity waves and continually develop new products and services to attract our customers.

f. It needs to communicate with its customers easily

g. It needs to choose the right staff and associates and develop them

h. It needs to be easy to manage from anywhere

i. It needs to stay out of its own way

j. It needs to be sustainable and renewable

So this was our list – we wanted to be an exemplar of how to combine the best of technology with good people management – essentially develop a model company – and show / teach others how to do the same.

What would your list look like?

This is number 1 in a series of 20 business stories, parables, call them what you will that will be made available as an e-book in due course.



  1. Alan, just curious what you mean by the business needing to stay out of its own way? I take it that means that the bureaucracy should never become the business?

  2. Yes – it was creeping bureaucracy I had in mind. A report on high growth companies I read a few years back indicated that successful companies avoid doing things that use up time and energy to no good purpose.

    flotations, exporting, doing investors in people were 3 that were mentioned.

    The business just needs to be aware of avoiding energy sinks.

  3. Thanks!

    I like you more and more every day – the worst businesses I have worked for boasted of their Investors in People programmes. Management is a process, not an award…

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