Values of Good Business

I recently heard Halla Tomasdottir, co-founder of Audur Capital financial services, share her company’s values in a TED talk (embedded below). I couldn’t agree more! Here they are, paraphrased:

  • Risk Awareness: You should always understand the risk you are taking. We will not invest in things we do not understand.
  • Straight Talking: Telling people like it is in plain English, good or bad.
  • Emotional Capital: Emotional due diligence is just as important as doing financial due diligence.
  • Profit with Principles: We care how we make our profit. We do it with a long term view. We use a wider definition of profits that include benefits to environment and society.


Decide where/when to be able to respond.

Responsibility is truly the ability to respond: respond-ability. It is not a thing that is assigned to you. It is about readiness.

A well-run business has prepared itself for customers. The important decisions about where and when to be able to respond have already been made.

This is especially true when readiness means being able to go with the flow and follow. Follow the customer. Follow the lead. Follow the idea. When opportunity knocks, you’re ready.

These readiness decisions bring focus and allow for quick, firm  responses, based on convictions in real values.

Every apparent “over-night success” story I have ever encountered has a back-story of 10-20 years of preparation for the big break. Even those who seem to be plucked from obscurity to the world stage by talent shows, describe many years of practice, learning, and preparation for this moment.

Focus. Practice. Learn. Be ready. Respond. To needs, inspiration, trends, opportunities.

Follow your values.

“Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts inspire your words.
Be careful of your words, for your words precede your actions.
Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits.
Be careful of your habits, for your habits build your character.
Be careful of your character, for your character decides your destiny.”
– Chinese proverb Continue reading

Recognize investments and expenses.

Entrepreneurs sort spending this way:

  • Expense:
    Spend this on a regular basis to cover the basics of running the business. I see the value of creating stability by laying a foundation of spending for regular operating expenses.
  • Investment:
    This spending could create more value later. I see strong enough growth potential for results that I value. These results may be money, resources, referrals, market share, and more. Continue reading

Let your vision pull you and look for a match.

When we are true to our vision, looking for a match can pull us right into what we have imagined.

Have you ever searched for a four-leafed clover? In case you do not live where there are grass lawns it goes like this. First, we imagine the four distinct leaves we have heard about, but never seen. Our vision of the four-leafed clover is unlike the common three-leafed plants that are everywhere in the sea of green grass. We have to imagine the four-leaves, so that we will recognize it, and not pass over it by mistake. Continue reading

See opportunity.

Opportunities abound when anyone wants to:

  • play
  • learn or understand
  • celebrate
  • be inspired
  • find hope
  • make connections or collaborate
  • belong
  • be healthier or more vibrant
  • make things
  • break things
  • clean up
  • eat and drink
  • rest or sleep
  • have a better shelter
  • have more space
  • travel
  • get more information or advice
  • move through a rite of passage

Opportunity comes from the Latin word opportunitatem which means “fitness, suitableness, favorable time.”[i]

It is often said that:

“Every problem is an opportunity.”

“Change is the only constant.”

Seeing opportunity is about noticing that, at this fleeting moment in the flux of things, NOW is a favorable time for …

  • something
  • someone
  • somewhere
  • some way

Noticing what would be GOOD right now is noticing opportunity.

In all life experiences, people can encounter challenges. To some, they will be insurmountable problems. To you, they will be playful challenges inviting your creative genius to join the mix.

If you wait for problems to appear, in order to see your opportunities, pesky problems will surely come along.  But why wait? Opportunities abound to make something good even better!

No matter what the circumstance, when starting your own company, there are lots of problems to solve. Many people get addicted to the rush that can come from all that problem solving.

The result is a bit like crossing a busy street and only looking in one direction, ignoring the traffic from the other direction. Sound dangerous? It is.

Fixing problems helps you feel smart and accomplished. Intoxicating stuff if you are coming from a dead-end job, where your talents and efforts were not appreciated. Don’t let problem solving become the only food your company eats.

Make sure you see all the opportunities, especially in good times. Look always for opportunities! They are flowing to you from all directions.

[i] Modern Language Association (MLA):
“opportunity.” Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 23 Feb. 2010. <>