When I was a business major in college, I decided to get a double major in English as well. Believe me, it wasn’t because I was looking for more work in school. I decided, in order to be good at business, I better know how to write, create ideas, collaborate and communicate well with others. And, it proved to be essential to my success in any venture.
You can have the greatest idea for a business but if you can’t communicate that idea, or you can’t describe the idea, or you can’t collaborate with others in developing it, it doesn’t matter how good the idea really is. One of the most important aspects to anyone’s success as an entrepreneur is “communication”. In the end, this is how we develop and create our ideas, how we attract others to invest in us, and how we sell our products and services.
One of the first jobs I had at a small start-up was selling a new technology that nobody had really ever heard of to professional golf instructors. To make things even more difficult, I was tasked to cold call teaching professionals with the aim to convince them that they needed our new technology in order for their students to successfully practice what they had taught them in the lesson. Think about this for a moment. I would call the golf professional, introduce our new technology, attempt to convince him/her that they needed this equipment (essentially changing they way they’ve taught for years) and try to convince them that they should purchase an expensive new device over the phone. Let’s just say the first couple of weeks didn’t go very well. In fact, not very well at all. But slowly…after weeks of practice, adjusting my story, listening to one “no” after another, I learned an invaluable lesson. I learned what it meant to communicate. I learned what it meant to listen and to ask questions. And, slowly, I learned enough to get a “yes”. This simple practice taught me how to craft a story, build a rapport with someone, learn how to listen and adjust, and how to communicate.
So, why is communication and collaboration so important in building any businesses? In my view, it’s the foundation from which any successful business is built. Without good communication, one can’t share his/her idea. One can’t attract partners, associates and employees to help with the business. One can’t raise money from investors for the business. One can’t position their product or service to a targeted market. One can’t sell their product or service. And, if you can’t sell your product, you won’t have a business.
I can say without a doubt, many businesses are unsuccessful due to the lack of communication and collaboration. One of keys to success with any business is to attract really talented and smart people to your business. In order to do this, you first need to have a compelling business that is attractive. You need to be able to communicate, in a brief and resolute way, your vision for the business. This requires a concise plan for how you will manage and grow the business. Additionally, it will require that you lead by example. This includes constant communication and collaboration with your team. Your ability to develop strong relationships, not only with your customers but also with your employees is critical to your success. Communicating your expectations, based on a well thought-out set of objectives and milestones will enable you to focus on helping others in the business succeed.
Building a business is a team effort. Build your business on the strengths of your partners and employees. And, know your own strengths and weaknesses. Remember, you don’t have to be good at everything. When starting out, you will carry a large portion of the load. Eventually, you will look to hire people who have expertise in certain areas that you do not. Learning how to collaborate with others, pulling out and leveraging their strengths, is critical to the success of your business.
StartitUp is built on the idea of communication and collaboration. We provide every opportunity to hone your communication and collaborations skills. By sharing your ideas, joining a zoom group or taking a workshop, you will begin to explore new ways to build these muscles. It takes practice, just like it took me hundreds of cold calls to get a “yes”. In the end, every bit of your effort will pay off!
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