Communication is key to a successful business. Being able to convey information to either a single person or group of people is essential when it comes to such things as policy adjustments, re-branding, or staffing reorganization, to name a few. One of the biggest morale killers for many companies, whether large or small, is misinformation and miscommunication. This can lead to paranoia and gossip, which is the last thing you want in a productive workplace. However, using the latest communication tools and ensuring that you have a consistent, solid policy on how information is distributed can help you sidestep common mistakes that many startups make. Here are five common errors that crop up for entrepreneurial businesses.
- Not Listening to Others
One of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur is listen to the wisdom of others. This can come in many forms, whether from mentors, other small business owners, or even your employees. Listening is a skill that isn’t easy to learn, since usually, it requires being able to accept criticism. This can also happen once you start building a team, and that’s when video chat can come in handy, to help you stay in touch. To avoid the mistake of not listening to others while building your business, getting everyone on board and interacting is a surefire way to broaden your horizons and ideas. This might mean only employees you’ve hired, or backers in your business. Whatever the situation may be, the key principle is being willing to listen when someone offers an idea you either may have not thought about, or dismissed in the past.
- Attaching to the Wrong Peer Group
Once you start building your business, don’t attach to the wrong friends. Be wary of peer groups and conscientious of who you’re interacting with. It’s easy to latch onto the wrong types of people who will give you bad advice in the fledgling stages of a business. Although a friend may be a great person in your social life, you should not take advice from anyone unless they are clearly qualified to give that advice.
- Not Seeking Advice
On the other hand, not seeking advice at all s a big mistake. This applies especially to the hiring process when you’re ready to bring more staff aboard. You need second opinions when it comes to many things, but second opinions when it comes to hiring decisions is non-negotiable. Tweak Your Biz recommends that after you interview a potential candidate for a position that you should have a colleague interview the same person for a second round. Finding a trusted colleague who can vet the person you want to hire is an irreplaceable asset. Many business owners think that their judgement is sound when hiring people. Although most startups are savvy about which kinds of people will work within the company culture they’re creating, there’s no substitute for a second informed opinion.
- Ignoring the Obvious
You’re in the red, but you don’t tell your backers. This is a perfect example of communication problems that end in disaster. Bad news is hard to deliver, but if you need to reassess your expenses and budget, then that is what needs to happen. The obvious can be many things, whether it’s bad news or even good news, but it can’t be ignored. Denial is an unhealthy state to be in, especially when it comes to business. Always prepare yourself to receive the worst news, as well as deliver it to other people. That’s part of running a business, even though it’s unpleasant.
Don’t be afraid to nix a product or a new branding campaign if you know it’s ineffective or flawed. Simply forging ahead, hoping that somehow it will succeed, isn’t feasible. Ignoring the obvious will take a serious toll on your success.
Effective communication is simple to understand on paper, yet complex to implement in real life. While you may have a tidy plan of how to distribute information throughout your startup company, the reality of how it’s received and spreads is a different matter. Whether your business is at its very beginning stages with few staff, or has grown into a medium-sized enterprise, communicating with employees effectively is what leads to positive and productive growth. By using the right tools and an organized approach, you can control the flow of information to your staff and ensure that everyone is receiving the right message.