A Values-Based Business (VBB) or Values-Based Organization (VBO) establishes a core set of values or ethics that define everything about how it conducts itself as an organization both internally and externally. A Values-Based approach sets the criteria for how an organization treats its employees, support staff (yes—including janitorial, groundskeeping, and other often-ignored staff), and customers alike. The Values of a VBO both shape and inform its practices in everything from hiring, pay, benefits, and company culture to marketing, advertising partners, brand voice, and vendors.
Many organizations and businesses create a set of Values they share on their website and in internal guides like HR handbooks. But simply publishing a set of Values does not make an organization Values-Based. A VBO visibly and consistently looks to its Values as its guide.
My Marketing University and our parent company, BJG Consulting, LLC, strive to operate as Values-Based Businesses. Although we may not always get it right, we do our best to adhere to our Values and look to these same Values when making business and marketing decisions. It isn’t always feasible for new and emerging businesses to choose vendors aligned with their Values, as the vendors who align might come with a higher price tag. Whenever possible, however, we accept the price difference as part of our commitment to our Values.
We are a small business, so supporting small and locally-owned businesses is important to us. (P.S. We will also always tell you if we are an Affiliate and might earn small commissions on any products we share through Affiliate links).
Here are two examples of how we try to stay true to our Values when we choose our vendors:
When we decided to create branded journals for My Marketing Coach and branded pens for My Marketing University, we worked with Lori at Image Matters Promotions. Image Matters Promotions is a woman-owned, locally-owned small business.
Books and learning materials are clearly important to us, but the obvious gigantic rainforest-named source of both doesn’t fit with our Values. Sure, it is technically locally-owned, but its employment practices, values, and business model fly in the face of how we want to see the world work. Instead, we will do our best to share sources that do fit with our Values.
When we link a book to a third-party source, we link to Bookstore.org, a Benefit Corporation whose mission is to financially support local, independent bookstores. We’re also huge fans of Indiebound.org, an initiative of the American Booksellers Association “dedicated to making the world better one independent bookstore at a time.”
We unashamedly prefer to work with small and local companies, just as we look first to work with business owners who are women and femmes, Black, Latine and Hispanic, Asian and Asian Pacific, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, Disabled, and Neurodivergent. Of course this does not mean we refuse to work with businesses owned by people who don’t fit those diverse descriptors—rather, it means we prioritize those businesses first.
We also proactively avoid working with companies and organizations whose Values or business practices do not align with ours, regardless of their ownership.