For any start-up the launch phase is a time where enhanced communication is needed. If your venture relies on the standard forms of communication, you will encounter problems. You can’t simply assume that a standard press release will communicate your status or that customers, investors, and stakeholders are willing to receive updates whenever its convenient for you. A monthly e-mail update, as a Message from the CEO, isn’t enough.
Employees, investors, and partners all want frequent updates on the status of a new venture. Their jobs or their money is on the line. During this time of ambiguity, people don’t want to be left in the dark. Unfortunately, there may not be updates to relay to your constituents. In the absence of information, look for anything positive to communicate. Sometimes even the most mundane aspects of the business, and its progress, can be viewed as positive developments when framed correctly.
Speak with employees and stakeholders face-to-face whenever possible. Unfortunately, most of us have an overreliance on modern technology, but in many ways, this makes communication less personal. While it makes life easier, it also makes it less effective. Instead, a focus should be on face-to-face, verbal communication, whenever possible. Employees are looking for verbal assurances. Even if you are simply repeating an existing message, employees and stakeholders want to be personally assured about the status of a situation.
Try This: Hold frequent staff meetings to keep staff updated on progress. Call investors with updates on progress. Shoot out random e-mails with short progress updates. Keep communication via multiple channels in order to keep all parties in the loop.
Avoid This: Never make-up information or force communication when no information is available. If you’re waiting on information (or a response from other parties), acknowledge that. Sometimes its just as important to acknowledge delays as it is to provide an update on actual progress.