Growing Pains and Pitfalls in Startup Companies: Team Communication


Effective communication in business among executives and employees is utterly necessary when running a startup company. Effective communication allows the business to stay on track and on-point.  Effective communication does not necessarily mean writing and forwarding hundreds of emails to a long list of recipients and hoping everyone got the message. Rather, effective communication relies upon concise and direct statements of a specific purpose to a precise audience. Failing that, things can rapidly deteriorate in an organization. Important messages can go unheeded, deadlines missed, and deals lost.  San Jose attorneys experienced in helping startup businesses grow, such as those at Startup Company Counsel, can help a business facilitate effective communication especially when legal obligations of the company are at stake.

Effective communication is necessary on a daily basis within an organization. Effective organizational communication is an integral component of an organization’s culture.  Therefore, San Jose startup businesses must work to foster good communication as the way of doing business. Organizational leaders should work diligently from the company’s inception to be decision makers rather than relying on the collective opinion of a group of people.  Assertive and decisive decision making from an organization leader does not need to be harsh or dictatorial. However, leaders should set forth a clear message when making decisions. Decisions made by leadership will also serve to maintain a unified message for the entire organization.  Otherwise, the message, ideas, goals and the overall mission of the organization can easily be muddied.

Keeping people “in the know” or “touching base” are sometimes overused catchphrases that are imprecise and ineffective attempts to describe how messages should travel throughout the organization. The idea is inclusion. Including many people on a message or in decision-making processes serves the valuable purpose of helping people feel important within the organization. Notwithstanding, relying too often on this means of communication can dilute the importance of certain communications. It is too easy for the message’s recipient to disregard the message because “being kept in the loop” implies that they are receiving messages for their information only. The recipient can easily misconstrue the message’s import and miss an opportunity to comment or to act because the communicator passively included them in the audience.

Effective communication is a two-way street. Effective communicators spread the message but also encourage feedback. Otherwise, the recipient of the message can easily disengage, and the message goes unheard. The recipient of the message must listen to the communication actively. The person asking for feedback must also actively listen. Paying lip service to a request for feedback diminishes the role and importance of the employee. Thus, if there is a communication breakdown at some level in the organization, which can happen despite the culture of the organization, then organizational leaders can address the root of the problem. Fostering good, effective communication from the start will serve the organization well in the event of a crisis. There is too much at stake for a Silicon Valley startup business to learn that its lines of communication are fragile or broken when matters of great importance to the organization are in play.

Rules of effective communication apply to external communications as well as internal communications. Organizational leaders must learn how to communicate effectively with investors, customers, and other organizations.  Effective external communications allow investors, customers, and the like to understand that the organization is strong and successful.

Startups Will Experience Growing Pains

Consult with the experienced San Jose startup attorneys at Startup Company Counsel when commencing a business venture. They will guide you through the process and can help you overcome any pitfalls your business encounters. Call them today at 855-353-5377.

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