Beyond Strategy: Communication Is Fundamental to Producing Results | NAWBO

By Michele Schina, co-owner of Beyond Strategy Partners, Inc.

As women business owners, the keys to our business success lie in our purses. It’s our responsibility to engage and enroll others in our dreams and goals, and to create a roadmap to achieve those goals—so that we can have what we deserve and leave legacies for the next generation.    

Effective communication, both written and verbal (including internal “self-talk”), is fundamental for us to thrive and produce our desired business results. Here are some tips for more effective communication:

Engage Employees. Employees are vital to the success of your business. That’s obvious, right?  What can be less obvious is the value that can be derived by sharing your vision, mission and objectives with them. Sharing these key elements and engaging with your employees will shift your company’s energy. By communicating openly and empowering your team to help produce the business’ results, your employees will feel empowered, even excited, to participate. An excited employee is a passionate employee. A passionate employee elevates the success of your business.

Tip: Create a written business plan that the company uses for internal purposes. It is a blueprint that describes what is going to be built, how it will be built and the results to be measured (your vision, mission and objectives). The spoken word is too fluid; we have a tendency to ramble—so when you write it down, you clearly articulate details that help your employees succeed.

Create Alignment. Many businesses rely on subcontractors and other third parties (i.e. lawyers, accountants and bankers) to help the organization succeed. For example, our company subcontracts some work to an outside marketing team. We routinely meet, reviewing the company’s goals and how our marketing efforts correlate to those goals. We discuss what’s working and what’s not working, redirecting where necessary, so that the marketing efforts directly correlate with conveying the message we have collectively created. It’s our job, as leaders, to direct that discussion. It is our marketing team’s job to help make it happen, bringing their creative knowledge to the business. 

Tip: A written meeting agenda is an effective way to drive conversations and manage time.  Include in your agenda: overall company objectives, meeting objectives, key topics and actions.  To stay on track during the meeting, make a list of any unrelated topics that arise that don’t correlate with meeting objectives for follow-up later. Confirm the actions resulting from the meeting, who is responsible for the action and the due date for completion of the actions.

Articulate Your Value. One common theme among women is the challenge we have in owning our value. We own our value in business when we: charge what we are worth; don’t undersell our products; collect on our accounts receivable in a timely fashion and communicate our value to our prospects in such a way so that we stay true to who we are and what we offer. From our position as a service business, we’re constantly focused on delivering value, but more importantly, we must communicate that value to both customers and prospects. Just as a professional athlete practices to become the best, the more you practice articulating your value, the more confident you become, which directly correlates to sales growth and customer retention.  

Tip: Set some time aside to write down the value that you bring to the table—what are the credentials that set you apart, additional training you have received, your years in business, etc.  Detail at least 2 specific customer solutions that have produced successful results—be specific.  Then, read that back to yourself in the mirror and keep it in the front of your mind as you speak with prospects.

Enroll Your Family. Family is pivotal to our success. They are our number one supporters, our biggest fans. It’s quite difficult to be successful without their encouragement and their buy-in. How can you achieve all you want if the people who matter most don’t believe in your vision? Coincidentally, you are working to contribute to, or provide for, the well-being of your family.  Be a role model for them. Communicate what you need for your work effort today that will solidify the future. Working from home, where necessary right now, adds to the importance of enlisting your family in your business goals and plans. Many of us can relate to the challenge of balancing attention from family members while working on a deadline or having the dog barking relentlessly while trying to think.   

Tip: Set aside time to talk with your family about your business’ goals and the impact their achievement will have on your family. Ask them for help; specifically, let them know what you need. Put time in your family and business calendars that is “no-interrupt” time—the sacred time you need to focus and take necessary business action without interruption.   

Self-Talk Matters. The ultimate, most important form of communication is “self-talk”. Our self-talk impacts our mindset. In an article written by Carey Lohrenz, the first female F-14 Tomcat pilot, one line especially caught my eye—“Mindset trumps impossibility.” Mindset is the key to advancing our business and producing our desired results. The power lies within each and every one of us to direct our self-talk to the positive, determined mindset that we need to make this thing called “being a women business owner” one of the best things we have ever done. The future—it’s in our hands.

Tip: Start a journal. Set aside 15 minutes daily to write in your journal—each day, list at least three things for which you are grateful, then business or financial accomplishments and negative thoughts that can derail your dreams (write them down in order to banish them).   

Communication is to business as water is to our bodies—it is required to thrive. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does fuel business growth and success. 

 


About the Author

Michele Schina is a serial entrepreneur and CPA. She is co-owner of Beyond Strategy Partners, Inc., a strategic consulting and leadership development firm, that specializes in developing business plans using the One Page Business Plan system methodology. She is a speaker and has developed an online training course, “The Financial Excellence System Course: The 6 Keys to Mastering the Financial Excellence Method.”

 

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