A college business student interviewed me for a class project so I decided to share my responses. As I shared my insight, I thought these were great questions to ask yourself as we evaluate our businesses. How are you communicating in your business? Here are my responses:
1. How would you describe good/effective communication?
Effective communication is conveying a message and exchanging ideas with an individual or a group of people. I believe good communication is when you can have a dialogue with an individual or a group and they are listening to hear and comprehend what you are sharing.
2. How important is listening in communication?
Listening is extremely important when you are communicating. I always tell young people that are starting their career or interning that you can become the best employee simply by listening to your team and or supervisor. When we listen, we should be listening to hear NOT to respond. If you are listening to hear, you have an opportunity to effectively resolve a solution, add insight to an idea. When you are listening to respond, you are more than likely trying to only get your point across which may not relate to what the speaker is saying or only respond for self gain.
3. How do you utilize the 5 C's of communication within Pretty Couture or any of your other businesses?
As a business owner, the 5 C’s of communications is imperative to utilize for growth and improvement in your business.
Clarity- be clear and concise on your mission and value proposition. Determine what you are offering and stick with that, so you are not confusing your consumer. As you are developing your business plan, outline, operating procedures, etc. write out your value proposition until it becomes clear. Once you are confident in your message it will help you relay a strong message to your customer.
Consistency- continue sharing that message in various ways so that your consumer has familiarity with your product or service. Consistent messaging allows you (the owner) to stay focused on how you target and communicate with your consumer.
Creativity- I think this is one of my favorites. Having a background in journalism has allowed me to be creative in my business. From marketing ideas, to social media content. Allow yourself as a business owner to think outside of the box, but also use traditional forms of creativity to make your business stand out. If you are not a creative person, I would outsource this for your brand.
Content- The statement, “content is king,” holds true to bringing visibility to your business. If you are stuck not being able to create content and are just starting your business, Google and social media will give you a lot of ideas. You also want to make sure you are researching the market so you are aware of what type of content is being shared and liked. Tip: you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with content unless you have a genius idea for a super cool video you really want to produce.
Connections- Having connections are valuable to a business owner and brings community. Ownership can seem “lonely” if you have not formed connections with those in and outside of your industry. Connections are also important as a business owner because most likely you will need to outsource a part of your business so that you can focus on your strengths. A way I have made connections is joining membership organizations within my industry, joining the local entrepreneurship organizations in the community and letting people know that you are a business owner so that they can connect you with like minded individuals. Tip: initiate the connection, do not expect someone to know you are a business owner or that they should reach out to you to build the relationship.
4. Do you think class and/or gender has an effect on communication?
Interesting question. No, I do not.
5. How has COVID-19 affected your business but enhanced the way your business communicates with customers?
As a serial entrepreneur that offers service-based products, COVID-19 did not impact my business. However, I launched Pretty Couture, a product-based business in January of this year. On the brink of COVID-19 many of my vendors closed their warehouses before establishments closed here on the east coast. At first, I honestly didn’t understand but quickly made a decision how my plans were going to pivot in my new business. I am thankful I had multiple streams that allowed my to continue working during a global pandemic. I made the decision to put Pretty Couture on pause and communicated to my new customers what was happening with manufacturers in the states and overseas. Because I was a new business and quickly communicated this, my customers understood. It was also for the well-being of my customers that we should not ship packages so that we could decrease the spread of the virus, which I was absolutely okay with because I did not want it to spread across my community. As we received updates, I communicated this with my new audience and still engaged potential customers by talking about fashion overall and how they can dress comfortable during a pandemic. This is how I kept them informed and engaged.
Now that the virus is somewhat “stabilized” my customers and myself are more comfortable with ordering from my vendors and shipping products to my customers. However, because shipping has been delayed due to COVID-19 over this year, I have also communicated to my customers to expect a delay and continue to track their shipping. As more people have started shopping online, because some stores are not allowing you to try on clothing in store, Pretty Couture has increased in customers. Also, uniform and daily attire has shifted because individuals are still working from home. As the world shifts your business has to also be prepared to shift in certain areas.