Small businesses have to overcome many obstacles on their path to transform into bigger organizations. However, in this digital age, you can conquer these obstacles by using technology. Technology allows small businesses to look much bigger than they are. Reach more people across horizons, at lesser costs.
One example of companies leaping over hurdles is in the area of communication. Good communication helps small businesses find new customers and listen to their own people. It also helps them develop new strategies for marketing, sales, and operations. The following tips could help small businesses continue on the path of growth.
How to Enhance Business Communication
Develop a Communication Strategy
First, you need to think about what kind of communication strategy you want as a company. Together with your employees, think about your mission, vision, and goals. Thereafter, you can think about a communication strategy can help you achieve these goals.
Additionally, analyze your existing communication strategy to figure out what is working and what is not working. How cost effective is your current strategy? Finally, be sure that your strategy works with your goals and objectives.
Analyze the Received Information
It doesn’t matter how good your communication strategy is if you don’t listen to your employees or your customers. Learning and practicing active listening is essential if you hope to improve your communication skills overall.
Many business owners find active listening a difficult skill to master, but with practice, anyone can improve their listening skills. Active listening is more than just listening to what is being said. You should understand what the person is trying to convey, respond and give feedback to the person. It is also important to remember what was communicated to you. Think about turning off or moving any distracting devices. You can also take notes on the conversation to remember it later.
CISCO had set up a social media listening center and listened to more than 5000 social mentions per day on Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels. It enhanced team productivity and developed new sales opportunities. It has successfully generated an annual profit of 1.5 million USD by using this communication medium.
Use of Cloud Tech
Many businesses find cloud-based technology essential for improving communication, both with employees and customers. A cloud-based phone system or chat platform allows employees to communicate and keep track of communication with other employees, vendors, customers and partners in order to facilitate and retain communication for later.
In addition, cloud-based applications in word processing, payroll and accounting, and even task management allow employees to collaborate and share information in real time. This, in turn, makes it much easier to work, not just from within the same office but also with other offices around the world.
The new way to do business is to have some employees who work remotely or do part-time freelancing. Using cloud technology is essential for business expansion. For Example – DemandBase, a B2B marketing cloud utilized white paper, infographic, webinar, SlideShare to assist the B2B marketers to make the correct choice for technology investments. They generated around 1700 leads and 1 Million USD for their business development.
Integration of Technological Communication tools
To have an effective communication strategy, you need to be sure that your tech tools are up to speed. In an environment where voice networks, the internet, and data are all connected, communication is simplified, and costs are reduced.
In addition, a seamless integration of such tech networks can result in a business gaining a competitive advantage over your closest competitors — and in this competitive business market, you need as much advantage as you can get.
Customers want a quick and easy way to communicate with a business; if they have questions, they want them answered as quickly as possible. If customers run into problems, they want to communicate with business to get them resolved.
Integrated tools allow a company to streamline the process of communication and increase productivity, which leads to more profit. For instance – ADP Solutions devised a content marketing campaign to reach to its targeted customers with the means of white papers and diagnostic assessment tools. It successfully generated close to $1m is sales from such campaigns.
Create an Internal Communication System
You need to come up with a way to have a dedicated internal communication process for your employees. Lots of platforms are available to help with employee communication and file or document sharing.
In addition, there are lots of messaging apps that allow employees to message each other in real time. There are also apps for collaborative messaging and group messaging, even while employees are working on documents and sharing documents. Some applications also allow cloud messaging, where some messages between employees are saved and then used later when needed.
If communication with people outside the business, such as vendors and customers is important than communication in the business is even more important. Without good internal communication, the business can’t continue to move forward. Take the case of Virgin Trains that created an internal app store called “amazing apps” with 20 distinct apps serving to provide information to its employees on the company smartphones to understand their demands and queries in a better way.
Create a Feedback Mechanism
So, now you are feeling pretty good about finding new ways to improve your communication, you need to think about the final step. How do you know that your communication strategies and working? You need a feedback mechanism in place. Companies need both internal and external feedback to determine how effective their business practices are.
In order to ensure you are receiving positive feedback, you need to figure out a method for both collecting feedback and ensuring that your feedback gets out to the people who need to hear it. There are multiple platforms that allow to collect feedback and get the feedback out.
You can use employee surveys to determine how well the employees feel the business is living up to their expectations. Best would be to use a combination of personal-stressors questions as well as business-related questions to gauge the climate within the business.
Businesses can send feedback questions to their customers to ask about how they did on the customer service and communication front. Some of the survey platforms even reward customers who answer the survey by giving them a coupon towards their next order with the company who requested the survey.
Ensuring that you have good communication externally and internally is vital to the success of your business. It helps you reach more customers, ease through troublesome issues between employees and increases productivity at work. With good communication skills, you can take huge forward leaps in your business.
The perfect example of this is Logicall. They provide inbound and outbound customer management solutions. They use communication tools such as e-mails, microsite, and ebooks to enable custom messaging for its sales team and have successfully generated 8 million USD business.
About the Author:
Peter Davidson is a senior business associate. Peter strives to help different brands and startups to make effective business decisions and plan effective business strategies. With years of rich domain expertise, he loves to share his views on the latest technologies and applications through his well-researched content pieces. Follow him on Google+ and Twitter.