Regardless of where you are on your business journey, good communication is vital, says Sarah Daly.
The longer I am in business, the more I appreciate the importance of good communication in every virtually every interaction, including how I communicate with myself! Perhaps the most important lesson that I have learned over the years is that clarity is the key to effective communication. Only when I am clear about what I want to achieve, can I articulate my expectations to others.
Regardless of where you are in your business journey, I suspect good communication is equally important to you. Most of us have many different groups that we communicate with regularly — from existing and prospective customers to employees, business partners, suppliers and other stakeholders.
It can be easy to take existing customers for granted. However, poor communication is a sure-fire way to trigger complaints. The better we understand customer expectations and the more clarity we can provide about what we will deliver, and when, the better we can manage expectations and keep complaints to a minimum.
Similarly, being able to communicate our vision and values is vital when we want to provide team members with clarity about what is expected of their role, how we want them to represent our business, and how their individual goals support our wider team goals.
When it comes to prospective customers, one of the first lessons every entrepreneur learns is the importance of having a good ‘elevator pitch’ — the sentence or two that tells people you meet for the first time what your business is about. Unless we can communicate our business proposition clearly to prospective customers, we are unlikely to win their business.
Among business partners, suppliers, and other stakeholders, misunderstandings and conflicting objectives can escalate to become a source of tension or, worse still, trigger disputes. This is an area where formal communication such as written agreements can often be helpful. At this time of year, as I draw up my plans for 2020 and think about my goals for the year ahead, communication is definitely on my agenda — not just as a desirable soft skill but as a key enabler of better business performance.
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