I regularly read HOW Design Magazine, and one of the articles recently caught my attention about job seekers. It was geared toward creative types, but the information can certainly be applied to other industries, and even to entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The article ended with a worksheet to create a framework of values that are important to you as a job seeker to focus your search toward the kind of position you really want. The idea is that once you've identified what you value you can test the jobs you come across against your criteria to see how it stacks up, and if it's worth pursuing further.
Just as in job seeking, entrepreneurs have to do the same kind of thing for their business. It's important that entrepreneurs identify what they value, both personally and professionally. In a professional sense, these values become your brand, and they're what differentiates you from your competitors. From there every business decision, new hire, new client you take on has to resonate with the values you've defined for your company and its brand. That's how you know you're moving your business in a direction that feels right to you, and it's how you know that you're working with the right kind of clients to assist in furthering your business goals.
Whether you're a small business just starting out needing to discover your brand and values, a job seeker, or just someone who needs a little self-examination use the HOW magazine values assessment to allow yourself to articulate the values that are important to you. The more you're able to do this the more of a laser beam focus you'll create toward your goals. If nothing else, it can serve as a good exercise. Plus, it can be helpful if you're considering becoming an entrepreneur, which in many ways is like job searching but instead of seeking a specific job you're creating it. In that case a value assessment may be even more important.