This post by guest blogger Christopher Trotman appears as part of our series Small Business 500.

tips for small businessWhat your company is actually doing isn’t as relevant as what it’s perceived to be doing. Perception is what creates value. Control your message and you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of success. Here are five practices common among big businesses which can help you improve your small business communication:

1. Devise a communication strategy

This may seem like an obvious first step, but I’ve seen countless organizations proceed without a clear strategy. Your communication strategy is a written document that outlines your position (a sentence describing your company’s position in the marketplace), a competitive analysis (who your competitors are), goals (long-term desires), objectives (short-term and measurable), tactics (the methods you’ll use to achieve your goals and objectives), and evaluation criteria (how you’ll measure your success!)

2. If you're not online, you don't exist

Professional web design can be very affordable if you’ve allotted a budget for it. If not, then there are free content management systems (e.g. Wordpress, Drupal, Weebly) that allow you to develop a website at little or no cost. Unless you’re already an established brand, you need to build a professional online presence that clearly represents your business.

3. Social media is your friend

Social media has the power to give small businesses as large a reach as major corporations. Using popular channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ allows companies to connect directly with their community. Companies both large and small have realized this, and are leveraging these outlets effectively.

4. Your story is an asset, leverage it

The difference between a great product and one that has mass appeal is the emotional connection that consumers have with the product. Sometimes telling a story can be more helpful than explaining why your product is the logical choice. Your company’s story/history is an asset that can be used to help garner invaluable emotional connections with potential customers.

5. Communicate

Control the message that surrounds your company and your industry by being the source of information. Position your company as a credible source of information and be open with your stakeholders about all company news. Your reward will be a loyal following and a recognized brand.

chris-trotmanChristopher Trotman is an independent communications professional that works with Heisler Communications to provide effective communication solutions in the greater Toronto area. Get in touch at: christopher@heislercommunications.comsmall-business-communication

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