A New Way Of CommunicatingFebruary 14, 2012
How Does Communications Fit-In With Your Business Plan?
Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw once wrote; “The problem with communication is the illusion that is has occurred.”
We live in a fast-paced, sound bite society in which we are bombarded by thousands of commercial messages each day. There are the umpteen ways in which people are able to communicate with each other in this age of amazing technological convenience – most of them instantly.
I do keep up with the latest technologies but these days I find myself asking whether I really need this new gadget? Is this really going to make my life easier? Is this going to make my business more productive or profitable?
Many who work in the SME space are usually so busy getting on with the day to day running of their business that communications often comes as an afterthought. It is not unusual for someone kicking off a new enterprise to grossly overspend on the getting the communications systems in place. There will be so much focus on getting the new business “out there” that bucket loads of money will be spent on finding an office, setting up telecommunications, website creation, letterheads, business cards, media advertising and all the rest of it. And very often the business owner will not give a second thought to the costs involved because ‘it’s just what you do when you start up a new enterprise – isn’t it”?
Let me say right here that you do not have to eat into your future profits by following the pack for the sake of creating a professional business image. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean it is the right choice for you. You can run a business that presents a professional corporate image without maintaining an expensive city-centre presence. It is all about perception and how you get your message across.
Let’s talk about communications. What is it? Simply, it is any method employed for getting your “story” out to your target audience, whether the target be your employees, clients/customers, suppliers and so on. You may connect face to face – over a desk at your location, on the telephone or via email.
How about we get back to the basics by asking ourselves some fundamental questions about what we are trying to achieve? Let’s assume we have a website, email and telecommunications systems in place. That’s great but do you really need a physical office location? For some this could be a huge investment that is not necessary in the early stages of business development and may never be necessary. It will depend mostly on the nature of your business. For some, maintaining an office or “shop front window” will be essential. If you have clients visiting your location only occasionally, then it may be worthwhile considering other ways to maintain your relationship with them. For example meeting at the client’s location if it’s practical or perhaps a coffee shop, depending on the type of discussion that needs to take place. For more formal occasions, meeting rooms hired by the hour may be the best alternative.
If we are doing away with a physical office, what about our image? An associate of mine does national and international business. He has an inexpensive web presence and has a prestigious business address in Sydney CBD. With most mail being managed electronically these days, he has only a small volume of documents sent to the “office address”. Mail is then forwarded to his location in suburban Perth.
OK – so we have maintained our professional business image so what do we do about office personnel? Right. Send them home. This may not be the best scenario for all business models but I have seen how reducing costs in the early to intermediate stages of business development can reduce the financial burden and allow for allocation of funds to more important things.
In my own business, I feel it important to maintain the image that I work from an office, since I have clients and associates/partners all over the world. I have purchased a local landline number from Skype and use a subscription to call anywhere in the world for under twenty dollars a month. I am also able to have regular “meetings” with my associates and clients. When a face to face meeting is called for there are the options I mentioned earlier. I don’t have a landline in the house so I don’t pay for line rental, call charges and so on. I have a mobile so that I am contactable when away from the office too.
The best part is, when I am travelling abroad – as long as I have an internet connection – clients are able to call my “office” in Perth on a local number and I am able answer the call from my laptop in Tokyo, London or wherever I happen to be. I am able to deal with clients and associates needs on a real-time basis.
So, here are some things to think about:
- Do I really need to maintain a fulltime physical office location (at all/at the moment)?
- Could my business operate with all personnel contributing from various external locations?
- How much do I need to spend on creating a web presence for my business? (More than $1000 is too much!)
- Am I spending too much (in time and money) on traditional methods of communication?
- Am I ready to “think outside the box” in nurturing and growing my business going forward?
It may be time for you to take the next step towards a new way of doing business – a new way of life!
For more information contact Allan Schintu on 0424 327 911.This entry was posted in Business Strategy, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Why would anyone work for you? Staff Benefits vs the Fringe Benefits Tax →