Thriving Through the Downturn: Communications

This blog post is part of a series titled Thriving Though the Downturn: Eleven Strategies that will make your Company Boom.

In uncertain times, people think the worst. Customers wonder if you’ll still be there to look after them. Employees wonder if they will still have their jobs. Suppliers wonder if you’ll still buy from them. Clear and regular communications mean that your critical stakeholders will continue to believe in your company. Make sure that you are communicating regularly with these key groups:

  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Investors
  • Partners
  • Suppliers
  • Prospects

For employees, you can use a variety of communication mediums. Townhall meetings or regular staff meetings give employees face time with the leadership team. Regular email or printed newsletters, can provide regular follow up. The key is to keep bidirectional lines of communication open. Leaders need to hear what their employees are thinking, while encouraging everyone to come up with ways to improve operations, revenue, and margin.

Keep customers in the loop. The CEO should reach out to key customers letting them know your plans and that you’ll be there for them. A regular newsletter, in electronic or paper form, can be highly effective when written from the customer’s point of view. Interview some of your customers about how they are coping with the downturn and feature their stories in your newsletter. It shows that you are in touch and care about how your customers are doing. If many of your customers are online at work, consider using new media such as a blog to provide regular communication on what you are doing.

Investors need reassurance that you are on top of the market changes and acting proactively to manage the situation. Like your other stakeholders, steady and regular communication will keep them informed and confident that their investment is in safe hands. Regular newsletters are again a tried and true method of keeping investors up to date. Make sure that your communications to them are consistent and regular.