Communicating An Idea: Make Your Startup’s Messaging Count
A startup is, at the core, an idea. And an idea is only as good as its communication.
Logically, it follows, that the success of any startup is governed by its communication strategy and how well it is able to communicate this idea.
As an organization that was built as a support structure for startup businesses, we see many startups that start with similar ideas, but only a few grow into billion dollar companies. One of the key things that differentiates those who make it is the clarity of their communications to different stakeholders in their business, both internal and external.
The starting point of each communication strategy is clarity in the mind of the entrepreneur about what they are doing, how they are going to execute that idea and, most importantly, “why” they are doing it. This becomes the core around which a communication strategy is adapted to suit the different stakeholders. It is critical for the message to be concise, simple and relevant to the target audience– as this has a direct impact on the ability to connect and persuade. Ineffective communication can result in missed opportunity, irrespective of the standing of the startup in the market.
So as a startup, ask yourself the following questions, and then action them for your enterprise:
1. Are you clear on who you are and what you are doing? How are you going to achieve your goals? And, most importantly, why are you doing it? It’s very important to get this right to get your communication strategy correct.
2. Have you identified who your stakeholders are? Internal (your team, your investors, your partners) and external (your vendors, suppliers, buyers, media): while all stakeholders are important, some are more important than others at different stages of a startup journey.
3. Have you identified and prioritized your message? What is the emotional hook in your story? Include a human element in your story- people ultimately make decisions to deal with people, and not an enterprise.
4. Have you identified which channels of communication are the best for you and your business? Depending on the stakeholders, leverage the channel that will be the best platform for your message and reach the right audience. It could be direct messages (emails, etc.), or it could be social media (here too pick the one that’s right for your business) or it could be in person. Optimize the different channels in terms of content to talk to the specific target audiences. Make sure you plan for what action you want as a result of each communication, and then focus the communication to get that action. It should not be a general nice-to-know information.
5. Most importantly, keep it simple. You want to communicate as clearly and as concisely as possible. This might mean you have to compromise on the information you provide- but you can always direct the more interested people to your website.
Effective communication is critical for any enterprise whatever its size. So make sure you know how to convey its values, mission, culture, etc., whilst also promoting its product/service.