Why effective communication is key to building your business

By renae hanvin

Dec 14 2022

People tend to think that if they build a great product or service, then people will come to them.

But what really happens is that you need to be proactive about getting your name out. If you want people to do business with you, you need to communicate with your customers and potential customers about who you are, what you do or sell and how you can help them.

Loyal customers will often rally behind a business they feel connected to. That’s why it’s important to share why your business is important to the community.

Effective communication is also important with your employees. If you’re not having regular one-on-one conversations with your employees, you’re missing out on ways to help them to do their job better and to ensure they enjoy working with you. Loyal employees are more likely to support you in a time of disaster too.

Finally, don’t forget to communicate with your suppliers clearly and regularly, as your business impacts their business. It’s also a great practice to share the local suppliers that you’re proud to use with your business community.


Trust is essential for a business to thrive

It’s important to keep your customers, employees and suppliers informed about what is happening in your business. Clear and regular communication is the key to building trust and that trust will help you before, during and after disasters.

You can communicate in many ways – by writing a blog post, publishing an article on your social media channels, or informing people in person.

Also consider whether you have the means to communicate immediately with your customers, employees and suppliers in a time of disaster, for instance if your power supply is cut off.


Be authentic in your communications

Kim McArthur, the owner of South Coast Brides in Nowra says “I communicate regularly with my customers, my employees and my suppliers. I believe it’s really important to have open authentic communication with every stakeholder in my business so that there is support there, when we need it.

The better relationship that I have with all of my stakeholders, the better outcomes for my business.

Kim’s work in maintaining regular communications with her stakeholders meant that customers rallied around her and her business during the Black Summer bushfires.

“I think it’s really important in this day and age to have a really strong social media presence and to use that opportunity to develop authentic relationships with your customers. So we allow our audience to see a little bit about who we are as people – to help them to form a connection with you and want to support you in the future.

“For example, in the lead up to the bushfires I was publishing weekly photo updates of my husband and I building a cubby house for our children. And after the bushfires, we were inundated with dozens of customers messaging us to see if the cubby house had survived.”

Also during the bushfires Kim activated her large social media following to request donations to provide food and water supplies to cut off South Coast communities.

“We had $10,000 donated into our business bank account within three days! I was so proud that my business and my customers were able to be part of something together.

“Then a couple of days later, unfortunately, my own personal property was burnt out in the bushfires. And all that care and attention from my social media followers was turned to me. I even had people from Sydney come down and buy their wedding dresses because they had seen our story.”

Kim says “People want authenticity. They want to be able to see themselves a little bit in the business owners. I think gone are the days of needing to project that super professional perfectionist veneer – people don’t want that anymore. They want to connect with a real person.”

Kim says she also has great open communication with all of her suppliers.

“I have found that when you build a relationship with your suppliers, they are more likely to help you out when you need it. During these times of supply shortages, I’m grateful that I’m more likely to get the things that I want for my customer.”

Finally, Kim keeps open lines of communication with her staff.

“They know that my priority is their health and wellbeing. Because my own mental health hasn’t been amazing at times, I know how important it is to put people’s wellbeing first. And when I communicate that, it’s authentic, it’s genuine.”


Plan ahead for a crisis

When it comes to crisis communications, it’s important to have a plan in place for the worst case scenarios.

Having a plan in place up front means that when something happens you can assess the situation, choose the most effective way of communicating to your stakeholders, and then get on with it.

You’ll be able to focus on the issue at hand rather than being distracted by the need to respond to a crisis.

A crisis communications plan is a written set of instructions to guide your response to a crisis. It can include things like:

  • A clear communication strategy for each type of crisis situation your business is likely to face;
  • A list of your key spokespeople; and
  • Details of how and when each spokesperson will be used.


Kim’s crisis communications plan is relatively simple. “It includes a checklist of tasks, such as changing my outgoing voicemail, publishing social media posts, updating my Google My Business listing and putting a banner up on my website. Notifying suppliers of an alternative delivery address is really important. Also I’ve now got shop keys with two alternative people who can access my business if I’m not able to do so. That means in a time of disaster also reminding people that I’m open when they might expect me to be shut.

Most importantly, having something written down means that somebody else can step in to complete the tasks if necessary.

Being able to communicate well is one of the most important skills every business owner needs. Fortunately, it’s a skill that can be learned and practised.