It might be a cliché to say that having processes in place for effective business communication is the key to success for many small businesses. But, it’s true.
You don’t need a complex organizational structure, multiple departments or a network of diverse vendors to know just how important it is to have effective business communication systems and policies in place.
There are many communication policies and procedures that you, as a business owner, can choose from. To simplify the selection process for you, we are giving you five best practices that can act as your starting point on the road to improving how your business communicates.
1. Structure your meetings
We know that meetings can be a black hole, sucking up time, energy and accomplishing a whole lot of nothing. It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault; rather, it’s because meetings often have a loose structure that can stall ideas. A well-structured meeting should have an agenda, strict time limits and end with an actionable plan. For every issue, limit the discussion to five to 10 minutes. This helps streamline discussions and helps to avoid team members getting stuck talking in circles. As the time comes to an end for each point, you need to create an action plan to move forward. Talk is great, but action is better.
2. Remember that email is the best and worst thing ever
Everyone is inundated by emails. In fact, a mini industry has grown around the ability to manage and reduce emails. And still, many struggle with managing the onslaught of email they receive on a daily basis. On your end, you can encourage employees to actually get up and talk to one another. Or challenge them to use another, more direct, form of communication like chat tools or the phone. This can reduce the stress of being overwhelmed by emails and promote a more personable culture.
3. Increase transparency
One area that leadership can look into improving is employee involvement with the over-arching company strategy. This is particularly important in a small business setting where employees often feel a more personal connection to the success and growth of the company. Leadership should institute an open-door policy and hold quarterly sessions with all employees to go over the company’s successes, budget goals, big projects and upcoming events. This is a surprisingly simple step to take and makes a big difference in company morale, creating a culture of open communication from the top down.
4. Invest in the right technology.
As you’re probably aware, there are no shortages of cutting-edge communications technology out on the market right now. You likely get a few calls a day about a communications software branded as “revolutionary” or “game changing.”
The truth is, there is no magical piece of technology that will solve all of your communication woes. That’s why we’ve put an emphasis on changing your company’s culture and approach to communication rather than on any digital silver bullet.
That being said, the right piece of technology can help to further enhance your company’s communication strategies.
Each company is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all platform. And the technology that works best for you and your team will depend on a lot of factors including, but not limited to the industry you’re in and your business model.
5. Get out there!
Good communications practices must go beyond how employees communicate with one another. You need to extend your communication efforts so that you reach the wider public. You need to do this regardless of the type of business you are in. Even if you’re B2B, establishing a position in the community is a big part of what it means to be a small business owner. Social media is a great way to communicate and start conversations, but you should also participate in local events, sponsor a sports team or show up at block parties. Be open with the public, just as you are open with your employees!
Improving your communication improves how you work with customers and your employees, which can make your business not only more efficient, but more profitable as well.