November 25, 2021
What does starting any serious business have in common? The inevitable business plan. Business plans suck. They’re boring to write, boring to read and boring to describe (in fact, writing this first sentence is making me bored, it might be worth you stopping reading now. No, come on. Let’s get to the bottom of this together, grab a coffee and let’s talk “business pleurghns”).
Even if you have an exciting business, you can guarantee this document is going to suck all the life and energy out of it. There’s no doubt they are important, if not imperative, to a lot of areas of business and we wouldn’t be much of a strategic (pardon “social”) agency if we didn’t advocate the use of them. But by god are they DULL. Problem is, they are pretty important, they should be discussed extensively, referenced conclusively and updated regularly. So how come it’s only the top brass who have access to it? Short answer, they shouldn’t.
Thing is, if you’ve been operating successfully for a few years, the business plan has most likely slipped to something that gets reviewed at the monthly board meeting (if you’re lucky); this means that it is only seen by certain members of the team. Yet, it has within it the key ingredients to guide the day to day workplace culture and steer the business in the correct direction. As a business grows in many different directions, particularly in staff expansion, the core principles the company was originally built upon get lost in the ether.
It’s imperative to keep communication between you, your team and your brand open and honest, particularly now with the normalisation of remote working. This way you can ensure the strongest and most consistent messaging from all corners of your business. If you imagine it as Elon Musk’s new endeavour with Starlink; it’s absolutely key to align the satellites so that they have the strongest signal and communicate the clearest message. Getting your team aligned and galvanised around the company objectives will help them (and you) feel more confident in the overall company objectives.
The issue is, this vital information is contained partly within the business plan, partly somewhere inside the mind of the founder and partly hidden within the opinions of the staff and audience. All of which aren’t easily accessible to the wider team. Business plans understandably contain sensitive data and the founder's brain is often focused on a million and one other things. No no no, what you need is an internal document that extracts all of the best bits from the business plan, the dreams from inside the team’s heads and the truth from the client’s mouths. This then serves as a benchmark to measure all communications against for the existing team, as well as when onboarding new members. This hopefully features briefly in a branding guidelines document if you’re lucky, but more commonly, this technical document does little to direct communications aside from HEX values of which colour blue to use.
What we’ve noticed is, a team who can communicate the right message consistently improves overall working capacity. There is less confusion around the brand and messaging, freeing up more time for the whole team to focus on the task at hand. It also builds better relationships with audiences externally as consistency in both brand and messaging builds trust. And when it comes to this, a business plan ain’t gonna cut it.
Somewhere between the boring business plan and the purely technical, branding guidelines sits a more important, but perhaps, more intangible communication piece that ties together the internal and external communications of a growing company.
Now if only, IF ONLY, there was a team of “brand therapists” who specialise in aligning teams around business objectives. Better still, they worked alongside internal teams to guarantee that they not only understood these objectives, but felt represented by them for now and into the future. I might be dreaming here, but such a service could be extremely valuable to just about any business. Right?
If you want better communication between your team, greater confidence to push forward with the “right” message, and more time to get on with running your business, let’s talk?