5 signs you might be spending too much on your business comms


Your business can’t afford to fritter away its valuable financial resources – especially if that company is a startup. Kenny Kline, the founder of the New York City-based Internet marketing consulting firm JAKK Solutions, shares some sobering statistics about young businesses in an Inc. article

According to those figures, about half of new businesses fail within five years, while 96% close within ten. So, the odds are stacked against your business from the start, but you can increase your firm’s chances by watching out for these signs that it could be spending more on communications than strictly necessary.

The financial figures don’t add up

It’s a simple equation, or so it may seem: for your company to grow, it has to make more money than it spends. However, you can’t expect to make money without spending some first. The rate at which your financial expenditure is translated into financial returns is known as ROI – return on investment.

Your business probably has quite a few overheads you can sort into various categories – and one of these could be communications. Phone calls, emails and instant messages are all viable means of communicating in a corporate context – such as with customers, clients and other workers within the business.

Essentially, if your company’s overhead costs outweigh its acceptable market value and potential profitability, that business will financially be going the wrong way. Fortunately, it might not be too hard for you to calculate the extent to which your corporate communications are contributing to that.

You aren’t blogging on your company’s behalf

If you are a dab hand at writing, you could think about putting some of your specialist knowledge into words that other people would genuinely enjoy reading.

You might already be using a platform like WordPress or the Google-owned Blogger to regularly post new material to your own personal blog. However, there are many promotional returns potentially to be mined from writing articles to be published on established, big-name blogs run by other people.

The Balance Small Business indicates that, if you do follow this strategy, you should try to get your articles into publications that members of your target market are likely to be reading.

Your business isn’t marketing in partnership with others

Marketing can seem like a hefty financial expense for just one business to take on entirely by itself, so why not see if you can share the financial burden with another company? Ideally, it will be one offering products or services that complement, rather than compete with, your company’s own.

If, for example, you run a pet store, you could team up with a pet grooming business. Perhaps you could slip a business card from that company into each of your company’s own brochures you distribute. You could be pleasantly surprised by how quickly the financial savings start to stack up.

You aren’t your company’s own brand ambassador

What does that mean? It means that, when you are officially “off-duty”, so to say, you aren’t saying a thing about your business and why people should consider buying from it. Leaving such promotional opportunities begging could cost your business dearly in lost exposure.

Let’s assume, for example, that you play on a local sports team in your spare time. Why don’t you investigate the possibility of making your business a high-profile sponsor for that team? If you regularly attend a book group, meanwhile, you could ask about getting your firm mentioned on that group’s website.

All the same, though, you don’t want to practically turn into a walking billboard, having little to talk about except your business. You should be subtle about it; by way of example, if someone you know has a problem that you recognise your firm could help them to overcome, that’s when to mention your work.

Your business isn’t keeping pace with technology

In the last two decades alone, the world has moved from cumbersome dial-up Internet on bulky computers to super-speedy wireless Internet on compact smartphones. That’s just one indicator of how quickly technology moves – and, thus, how quickly your business could fall behind if it isn’t constantly on the ball.

If your workforce isn’t routinely familiarising itself with new communication technology as it arrives, you risk leaving your competitors to exploit opportunities that should have been yours for the taking. So, if you want to future-proof your corporate communications, where exactly should you start?

It would make sense to start with your business phone system – which, in many ways, could constitute the beating heart of your company’s communications. Just consider the example of business phone systems by Gamma, a UK telecoms giant that specialises in serving commercial clients.

Various communication channels – like phone, email and messaging – can be built into the same phone system as part of what is technically termed a unified communications (UC) solution.