Five steps of building a business… and great communications

2nd July 2013

I recently spoke to a group of young adults who were starting their own businesses. My brief was to give them five top tips, to help them succeed.

I wanted to make them easy to remember, so I thought of my tips, and then gave them initials ABCDE. My advice was that, to be successful, they needed:

  • Ability – they had to be good at what they were planning to do, or have the means to get good at it
  • Buzz – their business had to fuel their passion, so they had the energy and enthusiasm to keep doing it
  • Customers – there had to be customer demand for it. As I told them, I have the Ability to watch DVDs and doing so gives me a Buzz – but I can’t find anybody who’ll pay me for doing it
  • Do deals – they had to learn how to convince these customers to give them money – ‘it’s not enough that they like your products; they have to buy them’
  • Effort – they had to expect to put in lots of time and energy. It’s a lot of work to get a business off the ground

After my talk, I realised that these five points also apply to your communications. For example, think of something you have to communicate regularly – a monthly report, a weekly team meeting, an annual review etc. Then ask yourself:

  • Ability – do you have the skills to produce a fantastic communication every time? If not, what can you do to improve? Train yourself? Delegate parts to others who do have the skills?
  • Buzz – do you enjoy creating and delivering it, or is it a chore? What could you do to make it more enjoyable? Involve others? Change something about how you do it? Change the format?
  • Customers – do people actually value it? Or is the main reason you’re doing it habit, rather than value? Ask: ‘what harm would it do if I communicated it less often, or made it shorter? Or what if I just stopped doing it?’
  • Do deals – does your communication always trigger the desired response in others? If not, how can you influence this? (This is usually helped by having a clearer Call To Action at the end; and giving persuasive benefits why they should do it)
  • Effort – do you put enough time into the three elements of comms – the prep, delivery and follow-up? Which could you spend more time on?

Useful, yes?

And I then realised you could apply ABCDE to all sorts of things – whether you’re doing the right job; your important relationships, both at home and work; and so on.

But let’s stop now, before this Tip becomes much too long. For now, my advice would be to…

Action Point

Review your regular comms for ABCDE. Then, change the things that will make them work better for you and the recipients.

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