5 Communication Hacks for the Early Stage Entrepreneur
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“Just do it” “Move fast, break things” “Vague but cool quote from the show Silicon Valley”, these are 3 of the most common posters you’re likely to find at an early stage start-up office across the country, hung right above a fast-paced CEO, a zealous techie & 3 cans of Red-Bull. It also happens to be the basic extent of translating company vision/goals in some form of communication to external/internal stakeholders. Cliches aside, as an early stage entrepreneur & a communications professional, in conversations with young entrepreneurs who believe that investing in communication is ‘expensive’ ‘tiresome’ & ‘deserved for a more evolved stage’.
Firstly, to answer the question, “Why is this even important?”. Imagine you spent your entire life building the most top-notch, groundbreaking, Alexa demolishing, Siri-crushing AI system but never introduced it to anyone, or let anyone know it existed. That.
So here’s my attempt at busting that myth:
1)Start small, start in-house: One of the biggest deterrents for young companies for investing in communication is the perception that it’s expensive! While qualitative agencies/professionals across PR & social media do come at a steep price, having an in-house resource with basic KRA’s does not! Get an existing team member or an intern to commit 20per cent of their time creating /disseminating content before you scale up.
2) Pilot projects are key: As a young start-up, pilot projects are the best way to assess long-term investment. The same holds true for communications before you get an external expert or agency, get your in-house team to run small campaigns on digital media/PR with clear goals to assess the success/failure rate or impact on your business. Apart from being cost-effective it also helps align your future investments into this process.
3)DIY! : Online courses & case studies are a great way to run some small-scale projects internally. The basics of developing a web platform, to writing a press release or even developing your first social media campaign, can be easily accessed through various learning portals, academic platforms, medium articles of videos. Scourge them and pick 1-2 of the most tangible/effective tools to begin. This even comes in handy when you do have an expert on board, you are likely to be in a better position to assess the quality of the output you’re getting.
4)Cross Pollination: If you are early stage business, chances are you are working with other businesses of your size, if not bigger, use their platforms! Work out terms with your partners where you regularly use each other’s platforms for disseminating content. This results in a wider audience for both the parties without a massive cost attached.
5)Begin with one platform of choice: Early stage companies are often struggling with resource management, so adding a new KRA to an existing member may seem tough, add to that the pressure of maintaining/creating content for multiple platforms. The best thing to do to combat this is to pick one primary medium basis what impacts your business the most (Company blog vs Facebook page etc). E.g. If you are looking at hiring as a top priority, invest in Linkedin. This helps you align your primary efforts on one platform, saves time and helps gauge results more effectively.