If you manage a small business you know the importance of communicating clearly with your clients. The tone you set at the very start of your first interaction with a prospective client allows you to build relationships that will carry your business into the future.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the relationship you have with prospective clients starts before you’ve even met them. For most, that relationship begins with a website; even when primary interactions with potential clients happen offline, it’s important that small business owners maintain an active presence on the web – without one, you are forced to rely on traditional advertising, which can be very expensive, or word of mouth, which can take a long time to establish.

Without an effective online space that integrates both outreach tools and client engagement pieces, most small businesses are simply unable to compete in an increasingly digital world.

It’s no longer enough to make sure you have a space on the internet to engage with your clients, you must be willing to invest time, energy and creativity in that engagement process.

That means thinking carefully about each and every word you use, online and offline.

With that in mind, here’s today’s truth nugget:

[Tweet theme=”basic-full”]Clear, concise, and effective writing is often the difference between closing deals and losing clients.[/Tweet]

In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Josh Bernoff offers up three ways that bad writing costs you:

  • Vague writing dilutes leadership
  • Fuzzy writing allows fuzzy thinking
  • Bad writing costs you in the “Trust” department

Offering up several anecdotes in support of his points, Bernoff concludes that “a culture of clear writing makes managers more productive.” I’d amend his line and suggest that a culture of clear writing in your business communication doesn’t only make managers more productive, it ultimately makes ALL staff more productive. As a business owner, you’ll spend less time frustrated with staff, send fewer clarification emails to clients, and increase your reading efficiency.

Instead of wasting time going back and forth over email, use all your client-facing material to show that you prize effective, clear, and direct communication. When each member of the team recognizes that clear and effective writing is as important as anything else, your ability to engage with your clients in a meaningful way will improve, and along with it, your bottom line.

If you like this post please share with your friends and family using the sharing tools to your left. I can also be found on Twitter at @pfthurley and on Facebook at Peter Thurley Communications and Consulting Services.