A new year brings a renewed commitment for personal and professional growth. The calendar turns over and we have a clean slate. We promise ourselves that this is the year we will lose those extra 10 pounds, get more organized or move our business to the next level. Now that we’re three weeks into the new year, those of us with a well-defined strategy to reach those goals are able to focus on the steps needed to achieve them. And those without a plan? Well, many have already abandoned their good intentions for an all too familiar routine that will likely leave them in exactly the same place next year.
By this time, you may have a strategy in place for your personal improvement goals, but when was the last time you looked at your business or organization’s communication strategy? Unfortunately, many businesses view strategic communications planning as an exercise they do once and put on a shelf. If you want to get the most out of your communication dollar, your strategy needs to be a road map guiding and measuring all of your communication initiatives.
At a minimum, I recommend that clients review their strategy quarterly to make sure they are on track and moving toward their goals. By regularly reviewing your strategy, you know quickly when you need to course correct or perhaps revise your plan. It’s also motivating to see how much progress you are making on your goals.
It’s a good idea to consult your communication strategy when new communication opportunities present themselves too. In these situations, the strategy becomes a litmus test for decision making. Does the new opportunity help further the goals laid out in your strategy? If so, and the opportunity is legitimate, then take advantage of it. If not, think carefully about why you want to spend money on an opportunity that’s not going to help you reach your business goals.
Who Needs a Communication Strategy?
We all do — if we want to build or grow a healthy company that gets the best return on our communication investment. Most people understand that marketing is essential for a company to be successful. Unfortunately, there is a misconception among small businesses, especially start-ups that they can save money by doing their own marketing – along with being the sales lead, product generator, accountant, legal counsel, human resources department, purchasing staff and every other role that a small business owner frequently plays. The reality is that unless you are a large, multinational company, you probably don’t need a $1 million marketing budget to grow your business. You do, however, need to have a budget for an experienced professional you trust to advise you and to help you develop and execute a realistic, measurable strategy. With a well-defined, evidence-based communication strategy and the resources to implement it, you will be amazed at how quickly your business will grow. Then next year this time, don’t be surprised to find yourself with the enviable problem of having to hire more staff to meet the growing demand for your product.