cart-and-a-horse.jpg When I worked in the corporate world (think global corporation with 30,000 employees and a Board of Directors complete with an audit committee), this was the time of year when everyone in the enterprise received their final financial targets for the following fiscal quarter, as well as numbers for all of the next fiscal year. Bonus and incentive plans were outlined and committed to, and off we went on our merry way in an attempt to 'hit our numbers.' In a sense, corporate was handing out mandated New Year's resolutions.

If I could mandate one resolution for your start-up or business, it would be to create a business-aligned communication strategy that guides all of your public-facing communications. That means having a specific strategy for how company-generated communications are going to help the organization reach or surpass its short- and long-term goals. It also means having a plan for implementing the strategy.

Why do I think this is more important than anything else? It is my observation that an overwhelming number of start-ups and established businesses act in a reactionary manner when it comes to company communications. For example:

  • Someone points out the blog hasn't been updated in a while, so a new blog post is created.
  • Woops, we forgot to tweet about that special offer we're running... get someone to tweet about it right now!
  • Holy cow, someone left a customer service-related question on our Facebook wall last week and no one's responded or removed the post... take care of that, too.
  • That truly inconsequential thing just happened and the CEO says we have to get a press out immediately.
Sound familiar? Rather than letting your strategy - which is based on your goals - dictate how and when you communicate, you let the cart lead the horse, which isn't even close to being the best approach.

If your company is actively engaging with customers and prospects via a company-branded blog or on Facebook or Twitter, and you do not have a business-aligned communication strategy based on your positioning and 2011 goals and objectives, now would be a great time to create one.