Buying Or Selling Yoiur Business In The New Year, How Is Your Communication Plan?
The life blood of what we do as human beings and the glue that keeps us all together as a society be at a local, regional, national or indeed international level is the ability to communicate with one another. Many times that communication breaks down and many times this leads to unintended consequences. All entrepreneurs are familiar with a Business Plan and a Sales and Marketing Plan but not everyone has heard of a Communication Plan. So what is a Communication Plan?
A Communication Plan is an attempt to standard the message that goes out from the business to its customers. It complements and dovetails with a Business Plan and Sales and Marketing Plan. In some instances there can be an overlap. It includes all written, spoke and electronic communications.
Some of the ingredients of a good Communication Plan include the brand of the business. The brand, with no more than a graphic or a word defines the company. Think of Google and its colors. I expect you would have trouble remembering what letter of the alphabet belongs to each color but there is no mistaking what the word Google means. Similarly, the word Coke. As soon as you read the word Coke the color red comes to mind. So one of the first things to consider in your Communication Plan is the brand and how you want it perceived by the market.
Many business owners choose to hire a brand or image consultant work through this part of the business. They would look at things such as the business name, colors, logos, graphics and other items so that there is a consistent look and feel. Large corporations spend a lot of money getting this right as it quickly represents the company. Consider BP, Subway, Macy’s, United Airlines, FedEx, HP, AT&T and Edward Jones to name a few.
A good way to build a Communication plan is around objectives. For example, it could include excellent customer service, customer retention or loyalty, how to touch each customer be it through a monthly newsletter, email or telephone call. It obviously includes bringing the employees of the business together so they understand any objectives and understand their role of that communication.
Another suggestion includes identifying what tools you will use to communicate to your customers. For example, it can be your website and blog as well as newspaper advertising, magazine ads, posters and even things such as report covers. There is no shortage of ideas.
It’s also important to establish a timetable especially where goals and objectives are attached. The current work environment is overwhelming and requires prioritization; especially if others are involved.
Finally, the communication plan should include measurable results. These results can be established on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. They need to be reviewed on a monthly basis and then communicated back to the team so they know what they are doing is effective, or it isn’t effective, what needs to be changed to achieve the desired results. A final annual report then needs to be provided so it’s archived but available to review each year.
Part 7 of this article series looks at how the Business Plan, Sales and Marketing Plan and Communication Plan are tied together with a Management Plan.
About the Author
Andrew Rogerson is a 5-time business owner that helps entrepreneurs exit or enter business ownership. His services include business brokerage; helping owners sell and/or buyers purchase a business. He also provides consulting on purchasing a franchise, certified machinery and equipment appraisals and business valuations. Andrew is a CBI with the International Business Brokers Association and CBB with the California Association of Business Brokers. He also carries a Brokers License from the California Dept. of Real Estate, is a member of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Sacramento Chair of the California Association of Business Brokers.