A values-based approach to business, with Suse B. Bentley

9 Jun, 2021 | Podcast, Season 5

This week on The Whin Big Podcast, Katie speaks with Susan B Bentley, a coach and trainer who works to improve gender equity in the workplace.

In this week’s episode, you’ll hear Katie and Susan talk about the importance of building your business around your values, and Susan shares insights from her wonderful, relationship-based approach to marketing.

It’s a busy episode, but as always, Katie finds time to chat about business books, personal development and tips for valuable resources.

Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.

Suse’s business journey

After working in jobs that didn’t always bring her joy, in January 2020, Suse set out to run her own business based firmly on the foundations of her own personal values.

She puts her values at the heart of her business, making sure her output aligns with her vision – big and small. Suse is a qualified life and personal coach and accredited team leadership coach. She focuses on 1:1 coaching with Gen X women (those in their 40s and 50s). She’s a podcaster and a Google #IAmRemarkable facilitator. She also runs Scaredycat Training – a training programme that coaches womxn of all ages on public speaking and communication skills.

Her big vision is to reduce gender inequality in the workplace, and by working with her clients, she can empower them to stand up for their rights at work – and beyond.

Leading from core values

Suse places values at the heart of everything she does. She proudly features her top 10 values on her website and sticks to them as much as possible. Her values include:

  • Integrity
  • Honesty
  • Collaboration
  • Curiosity
  • Intuition

For Suse, the values she builds her business around might sound simplistic, but it goes much deeper than using ‘just words’.

“Chatting and listening sound really simple, but the biggest issues companies have around leadership, teamwork or strategies is around assumptions, communication and people not actively listening to each other.” – Suse

Part of her values-based approach helps her avoid overcomplicating things. For example, she’s all-too aware of the noisy coaching world where (primarily white, male) coaches base their communications and marketing around a place of ego rather than keeping it focused on people.

Suse is very aware of the challenges and issues her Gen X female clients face. For example, peri-menopause, menopause, ageing parents, growing children, divorce all go a long way to pushing a loss of confidence, motivation or direction.

To get results with her clients, Suse knows she has to avoid any ego in her practice. And that means looking at everything from a values-based perspective.

“I hate the word ‘wrong’. Just as much as I hate the word ‘should’. For women in their 40s and 50s, it’s all about what you ‘could’ do, not what you ‘should’ be doing.” – Suse

Values-based selling & networking

Katie loves Suse’s approach to placing intuition and connectivity at the heart of her business model and finds it incredibly inspiring.

When it comes to communication online, Suse places her values at the core once more. She struggles with activities that don’t feel natural, knowing that she’ll never be able to deliver her message in a way that resonates if it’s not aligned with her values.

For this reason, she avoids using Facebook, but she does use Instagram and LinkedIn. On those platforms, her approach is from a place of honesty and integrity rather than full-on sales chat, something she finds incredibly off-putting.

Relationship-based marketing vs algorithm-based marketing

Katie pointed out that Suse’s relationship and values-based approach to making connections is the polar opposite of much of the marketing business owners do where they rely on appeasing social media algorithms.

She’s curious to find out if Suse has found any challenges or frustrations using this heart-centred approach. Other than consistency, Suse struggles with continually putting herself out there online.

“Pushing myself to be online is hard for me. I get great responses, but it’s hard going. I’m an introvert…I know I can put myself out there all the time, but I need to keep 40% of my time to rebuild my energy.” – Suse

The Shy Girl’s Guide to Kicking Ass…

Katie likes to challenge guests to choose their favourite – or best performing – post. Suse chose a blog post from years ago. “The Shy Girl’s Guide to Kicking Ass at Presentations” was written years ago and yet still features at the top of Google if you type in ‘shy girls public speaking tips’ into the search engine.

Despite writing it quickly, Suse is incredibly proud of it because it’s honest, well structured and has a great title that continually comes up high in search engine results for public speaking and confidence building.

The article has lots of tips and suggestions for improving your confidence in public speaking. We’ve included a link to the guide in the resources section below.

What’s on Suse’s business bookshelf?

Feeling frustrated by the bigger (male) named business and self-development books being at the top of the reader charts, Suse set her resource page up on her website with loads of great resources, many written by women.

* The Introvert Entrepreneur by Beth Buelow
Suse loves, loves, loves this! She’s one of the first writers to say ‘you can run your business your way’.

* How Women Rise by Sally Helgesen & Marshall Goldsmith

“Such a good book – it’s about how can you make more of the potential you already have inside you.”

* Find your Thing by Lucy Whittington

Suse read this a few years ago; it’s about finding what you enjoy doing, what resonates with you and other people – and being comfortable about doing that thing as your business—feeling confident about doing what you love. 

* Self Worth Safari by John Niland

When you’re working on yourself, it can be hard and challenging. This book addresses that and has lots of webinars on his website to inspire you. 

Keep the conversation going  with Suse

Suse B Bentley website 

Join the Scaredycat mailing list 

Suse B Bentley on Instagram

Suse B Bentley on LinkedIn

People and resources from this week’s Whin Big Podcast

W.B.E.C.S Conference for Coaches

Marsha Reynolds – coach the person, not the problem

Film: Longshot with Seth Rogan and Charlize Theron

Book: * The Squiggly Career by Helen Tupper & Sarah Ellis

Blog: What does ‘professional’ look like to you and your business?

Shy Girl’s Guide to Public Speaking

Business initiatives mentioned in the episode:

British Chamber of Commerce

Enterprise Nation

She Means Business

Holly Tucker’s Small Business Advice & Inspiration

The Business Gateway

The Princes’ Trust 

A note about affiliate links: 

* Links marked with a star are affiliate links to Bookshop.org. When you buy through these links, a small portion of the cost of the book goes to support your local bookshop, and a small amount comes to The Whin. And the books won’t cost you any extra!

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