Posted: Tue 20th Dec 2022
If we could distil the very essence of success in business, then knowing your worth would be key.
And yet, knowing your worth is something that most small business owners struggle with:
“What do I charge?”
“Why am I not attracting the clients I really want?”
“How can I grow my self-confidence?
These are all questions that regularly crop up in coaching conversations.
The answers lie in not only understanding your value, and what you bring to your business's table, but also being true to yourself and authentic in your message, and having a degree of self-awareness so that you understand both your strengths, while acknowledging your weaknesses.
So, what does 'knowing your worth' really mean and why is it important for you in business?
Society has conditioned us to value ourselves according to material benefits. Things such as education, our bank balance, our friends, family connections, and all the other 'stuff' that we pick up along the way – the comments and feedback we receive, the certificates on our wall. These are all deemed to denote that we are 'something'.
Yet knowing your worth comes from understanding and retaining faith in yourself and your abilities, even when times get tough – being intentional in your actions as you focus on the activity that will drive your purpose.
When we are confident in our self-worth, we feel comfortable in our skin, both personally and our professional 'skin' – our business role.
We are able to communicate our worth easily to our peers, our network of connections, and our customers.
We no longer feel icky about asking a fair price for our work and we repel the problem clients – those who immediately quibble over fees, who ask for discounts or refunds, and are late payers.
What's more, understanding the value we bring allows us to focus on the things that bring value to our life, including good relationships. We find that we have less time to spend with the negative naysayers who bring us down and, instead, surround ourselves with a tribe of like-minded people, who, like us, are open to self-growth.
And importantly, we learn to validate ourselves and our achievements, rather than looking for validation from others.
Here are five steps to knowing your worth and developing an understanding of your value in business.
Understanding yourself is key. You may choose to spend time reflecting on not only your strengths and what you enjoy about your work, but also where your weaknesses lie. What are the areas you struggle with and how could you improve these?
This might involve undertaking some professional development or deepening your understanding of an existing skill. Understand when you are at your best work-wise – are you most alert first thing in the morning, or are you a night owl?
Organising your daily tasks according to your energy levels may help you to get more done, and to focus more easily on the tasks requiring higher concentration levels. Who are the types of people who help to replenish your energy and conversely, who are those who bring you down?
Time spent understanding your values and how you convey these in business is also important. If you are clear and able to communicate these easily, then you are more likely to attract people who share them. This internal compass of how you conduct business will ensure that your boundaries stay strong and convey to others how you expect to be treated.
There’s a reason your comfort zone is called that, and as comfortable as it may be, this is not where growth happens. Look at ways to step outside of your comfort zone and watch your self-esteem increase.
If you struggle with charging your worth, it’s time to look at your money mindset.
Undercharging for your services is a common indicator that your self-worth is not what it should be. Instead, do your research into what your competitors are charging, and don’t forget to consider your years of expertise when setting your prices.
It is a common misconception that customers are looking for the cheapest option. This is just not so. If you can demonstrate what makes you unique in the market, whether it is your customer service, your same-day despatch, your extensive product line, or whatever else, then your audience is likely to rationalise any extra cost against the value you bring.
Cheap is not always best.
Among the peaks and troughs that are small business life, it can be difficult to retain the passion for your business. When this happens, it is easy to fall into a "hamster wheel" existence of feeling that your every effort amounts to nothing, and disillusionment is never far behind.
In this case, it is important that you revisit your why. Look at your mission statement and why you set out in business in the first place. What was your vision and how far have you progressed toward it?
If you need to refocus your goals, then do it. It's often easy for your vision to become blurred as you deal with the day-to-day of running a business, but a shift in perspective and a refocus can help to not only reignite the spark you originally felt in your business, but also the commitment to achieve your goals.
In a similar way, appreciate the difference you make to your customers. Re-read testimonials, review your customer loyalty statistics and your growth in turnover, and take time to understand and appreciate that this is because of the difference you make to your customers.
Throughout this blog, we have mentioned the need for strong boundaries. Having the self-belief to say no, and to stand firm in who you do and don’t work with and the conditions of work, are key to knowing your self-worth and demonstrating it.
Remember, clarity is kind, so having clear terms of business will ensure that clients understand the finer points of working with you.
Throughout this blog, we have explored why it is vital that you understand your worth and demonstrate it in your business, and have looked at the five steps to help you in understanding and improving your value.
Working through these steps is not easy and it is not an overnight fix; it takes determination and a series of lifelong small steps, but the potential to emerge confident and secure in yourself and your business, to regain your confidence, to create healthy relationships, and to stop second-guessing yourself will make it all worthwhile.