On our visit to Taiwan last month, my wife and I noticed something: In general, the houses and apartments in Taiwan were not very nice looking; they were merely functional. However, when we passed a school, museum or temple, they were absolutely beautiful. Even in the middle of Taipei, the largest city, the schools had campuses with green lawns, beautiful architecture, and plenty of sports fields. It was clear what the Taiwanese value.
The same should be true in your business. Is it easy for clients and potential clients to recognize what is valued in your business? If so, this makes it much easier to find the right type of clients to work with your business (and hire the right types of employees).
One of my clients is a good example: Skyriver IT values giving end users a frustration-free IT experience. They are not about the lowest cost or the latest technology, both of which are common in the IT services space. They have structured their business around making sure users have a good experience with IT.
How does that show up?
24x7 phone support, because problems happen for users even during non-business hours.
Engineers are not run at 110% capacity (like at many IT companies), so they have time and mental space to help customers resolve issues completely the first time.
There is an emphasis on proactive maintenance and security, so clients are less likely to have problems in the first place.
The result is that they attract the right types of clients, because their priorities are clear from the start. Potential clients disqualify themselves if they are looking for a different type of IT service provider.
Are your priorities clear to your clients and prospects? Do you have a clear list of business goals and priorities? If not, a good way to get started is to jot them down. Get a blank sheet of paper and, title it: What am I trying to accomplish? Then, without any editing, write down what it is that you are trying to accomplish with your business and your life. This is not about wordsmithing. There is no need to share it with anyone in this form. It just helps you get clarity about your priorities.
Once you have done this, you can go the more formal route of developing a vision, mission and values statement for your business, if you want. Either way, you will have a clearer understanding of your priorities and if it is being clearly communicated to existing and potential clients.