“Companies are built on communication. It’s not a company without it — just a bunch of people bumping into each other.” – Miika Kenttämies, Growth Marketer, Yousician
Whether you are a startup or a full-grown organization, there’s no alternative to effective communication. We often read and talk a lot about the significance of communication in an enterprise, but how much of it do we actually realize or implement in our company? Do we have a full-fledged communication process to rely on? Before we start diving into this subject, it’s important to understand that there are two facets of company communication – internal and external, and we will try to cover both the aspects and their elements.
Working for a SaaS product-based startup teaches you a whole lot of things and one of them is the importance of effective, company-wide and timely communication, which plays a strong role in enabling people to stay on top of every small and big detail of the company – be it sales numbers, customer issues, marketing dynamics, product innovations, events, announcements and so on. In SMBs and fast-growing companies, fewer people tend to take up (or share) responsibilities for more things compared to larger setups. Hence, smaller organizations cannot afford to miss out on fostering a strategic, timely and transparent communication system, across the company, at all levels.
Importance of internal communication in a startup and ways to do it right!
Effective communication is defined by a set of information with clear messaging coming from the right channels/sources at the right time for the right audience. Powerful internal communication has several benefits that can not only drive informed decision-making and employee productivity but can also enhance business profitability. Open, clear and transparent internal communications keep the executives inspired, engaged, educated and informed at all times, which makes them feel valued, involved and motivated to work towards the common company goal.
Also, regular and consistent team and company meet-ups boost employee morale, their urge to contribute further and productivity, leading to a better work environment marked with trust, confidence, and reliability. It ensures that each and every employee is aware of what is happening within the team and the company, and how his/her contribution can make a difference. Well-communicated employees are well-informed, which actually promotes a positive attitude towards work, enterprise, and team. Also, they are aware of their tasks, goals, roles, performance, strengths, and weaknesses.
Communication breeds knowledge that in turn drives the right progress desired by all in the team and the company. However, it’s important to understand that internal communication is much more than just having an organized enterprise communication system based on technology platforms and enterprise tools like Skype, Slack, Trello, Google Drive, etc. – it is more like nurturing an environment where people are not hesitant to share, express and ideate.
Here are some offbeat ways to drive and enhance a well-rounded culture of internal communication
- Promote openness, honesty, transparency, and approachability within every team
- Have regular team meetings and individual one-on-one based on candid discussions
- Learn to listen and give values to team members’ opinions, ideas, and even disagreements
- Communicate without any ego, perceptions, judgments, and biases and lead by example
- Share experiences, expectations, work progress, challenges & scope of improvement
- All the employees including leaders should communicate their roles and responsibilities
- Deal quickly with all kinds of information gap, rumors, and negative stories
- Welcome team feedback and even allow them to express their frustrations sometimes
- Encourage an environment of creative expression and humorous conversations
- Communicate the importance of communication to employees on the first day of their job
External Communication is equally critical in a startup. Take a look
Basically, a start-up’s success depends a lot on how it communicates its value, passion, and uniqueness to the people within and the world outside. So, besides internal communication, external communication also plays a huge role in its overall growth. After all, the company cannot afford to ignore its external public including customers, media, competitors, community, job seekers, financial institutes, government and the general public at large. A big chunk of a company’s reputation and image lies in how the enterprise communicates and expresses its observations, ideas, and knowledge to the external stakeholders.
A startup that manages a perfect communication strategy with the external public just knows when to announce the right information at the right time through the right channel and who is the right audience to address to meet the right purpose. The expanding roles played by press releases, announcements emails, release notes, blogs, newsletters, briefings, interviews, media conferences, and events are something to reckon with, especially when it comes to getting the apt message across to the people.
Indeed, marketing communication and its varied techniques are being exploited and explored by SMBs to not only make a desirable impression on people’s minds about the brand and thereby gaining new customers but also to communicate the brand’s ideology and wisdom to make an everlasting mark on people’s hearts. In short, both short (revenue-generation) and long term (brand building) communication goals are equally important for the company and its growth and progress.
Some obvious yet unnoticed ways to ensure that your external communication is done right:
- Leverage the relevant communication channels and mediums apt for your business rather than exploring all the available digital options.
- Adopt a messaging tonality unique to your business and product and ensure that all your communication methods follow it.
- Plan and have a balanced approach with oral, visual and written communications including interviews, podcasts, videos, images, and blog posts.
- Ensure to stay in touch with your external public through all contextual means like emails, newsletters, publications, feature releases, PRs, social posts and so on.
- Find out unique ways to communicate your brand values through community programs, CSR activities, events, and roadshows.
- Be choosy, classy and wise when promoting your brand message through advertisements, content and online promotion.
- Create high-quality content like opinion pieces, sales materials, research reports, annual reports, whitepapers, buyer’s guides, and product datasheets.
Considering these tips and advice can greatly help a startup to have an initial process of communication ready and going. However, it should be kept in mind that internal and external communications are a lot about being spontaneous, relevant and well-equipped with the right information ready in the right format for people who want to know more about your brand. A healthy communication goes a long way to improve employee performance, team productivity, positive mindset, and above all business revenue. Mostly, companies that balance out traditional with modern means of communication fair better than others – communication blended with emotion, intelligence, passion, and compassion surely delivers the best kind of results.