Writing for HBR.org, Stever Robbins says it is important for entrepreneurs to develop their communication skills, warning that "silence isn't golden; it's dangerous".
He observes that CEOs of start-up companies don't have the luxury of professional writers, a PR department and other skilled professionals to deliver important information, unlike their counterparts at large corporations. The start-up CEO, therefore, has to be the number one communicator at all times.
Robbins says: "Most important is to never underestimate this role… Even if there's no good news to share, say something!"
He also warns: "At first, employees and investors will fill your silence with their fondest hopes. But once you've missed a single deadline, or something hasn't gone according to plan, everyone will project their worst fears into the void."
Robbins offers some tips on how a "great entrepreneur CEO" should communicate.
IMPART YOUR VISION
First, he advises: "Communicate vision, strategy and direction… often." Robbins insists that while the primary duty of the entrepreneur CEO is to set the company's strategy and vision, you have to do more than simply formulate it in your head. "You have to impart that vision to your employees so they can help carry it out," he says.
Communicating with investors is also one of the keys to success, and for this Robbins recommends efficiency, pointing out that "you never know when you'll need to give a quick pitch during an elevator ride, or be able to succinctly sell an investor on your idea's economic or social return".
Robbins reminds entrepreneurs that customers also want to hear from the CEO.
He says: "They want to know your product is better than your competitors'. They want to know you'll still be in business to service that product a year from now. And they want to know you're listening. Especially if you're in a B2B business where purchases are expensive and the product is critical to your customer's success."
The author concludes: "The bottom line is that whether dealing with employees, investors, customers, partners, or even suppliers and vendors, a great entrepreneur CEO is always communicating.
"To master this job, you need to make sure you're sending the messages that keep everyone moving together to make the company a success."
Advanced Entrepreneurship: Silence Isn't Golden; It's Dangerous