Planning your communication for success
An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing – Dale Carnegie
In business, we often plan and execute strategies in all areas -we budget, we setup administrative routines and arrange logistics. But an area that is often forgotten, especially in small companies, is communication. The results of not having a communication strategy or plan often seem inoffensive at first but can quickly start affecting other areas of our business.
Not having a communications plan can lead to…
Distrust: Consistency and transparency are key aspects that build trust among customers. If a business only shares updates once a year, or fails to communicate changes, important events or milestones, their audience will see them as sloppy, irresponsable or even distrustful.
Stress and burnout: Last minute requests to create press releases, social media posts or even internal reports will only stress your team, and it can even lead to errors, typos and missed deadlines.
Losing leads and customers: Not establishing a routine to check and respond to messages, emails and inquiries can result in the loss of potential customers and leads. Communication goes both ways, and when a company fails to provide answers and be responsive, it can quickly lose sales. In addition, having social media channels that are inactive or barely updated can reduce your chances of reaching new audiences and thus, stopping your business from growing.
Losing internal engagement: A well-planned internal communication strategy is extremely important to keep your team on the loop – failing to have effective communication channels and routines can lead to misinformation and disengagement within your teams.
As you can see, not having a communications strategy is extremely risky, especially for startups and companies that need to build a reputation in their industry. If you are ready to create a strategic communications plan, but you don’t have the budget to hire an agency, I recommend the following:
Find your allies: Talk with your team and divide tasks and responsibilities. If you have a big team, consider creating a new task group dedicated to communication. If you are just few employees, have a meeting and share responsibilities. You can also reach out to your network to help you spread the word about your business.
Create a schedule: Once a month, sit with your team and create an agenda for your communications. Are there any updates that you should send to the press or post on LinkedIn? Are there any internal changes that you need to communicate to your team? Think of all you need to communicate this month to keep your team, stakeholders, and potential customers on the loop.
Seek support: If creating a communications plan is too overwhelming, have an external consultant help you set the basic aspects of it. It will save you time and energy, and it will create new opportunities to expand your business.