What is a stakeholder? A stakeholder is a person or organization that has invested in a business or project and has a stake in that business or project’s success or failure. When it comes to small businesses, a company can rarely get started or continue to operate without involving stakeholders. As the owner, you are the ultimate stakeholder; however, you must keep other stakeholders happy because unhappy stakeholders can cause problems and ultimately negatively impact your business.
Some of the adverse effects are constant communication that is unnecessary and distracting, asking for changes within the company that cause setbacks, and issues between the stakeholders and key staff. To avoid this, here are some steps you can take to keep your stakeholders happy.
The truth is that communication is key to every relationship in your life. Your relationship with stakeholders is no different. If you have regular and meaningful contact with your stakeholders, they will have no reason to be overly involved in the business. When communicating, it is also essential that you are transparent and honest, even when you may need to deliver bad news. Most stakeholders understand there will be occasional setbacks or issues, but if you are upfront and communicate clearly, they will often stick with you through good times and bad.
Stakeholders will have opinions and ideas, even if you don’t use their idea, they still need to feel like they have a voice, and it is being heard. Stakeholders have a vested interest in the business’s complete success; therefore, they should be able to interject ideas and opinions. Actively listening is advantageous to the owner because some ideas may fix an issue, grow the business, or inspire innovation. Remember, they are in if for the return on their investment, so they will always be coming from a place that has the company’s best interest at heart.
Managing expectations is not just related to the financial outcomes of the business. It is also about managing expectations of the relationship, communication, and the stakeholder’s direct involvement in your business. While it would be an ideal world if every business partner would invest and be a silent partner, but that is generally not how it is in the real world of the small business. Managing expectations will ensure you and your stakeholders are on the same page and avoid any surprises.
Stakeholders need to see strong leadership within your business. Regardless of communication or management of expectations, if your leadership is weak, no talking will overcome that with the stakeholders. A stakeholder wants to feel their investment will pay off with an owner who knows how to lead the business to profit and success.
Have a Service Level Agreement
Like managing expectations, a service level agreement is a way to layout yours and your stakeholder’s understanding of what is expected to be delivered. Having an agreement on productivity and return on their investment will ensure no one is unclear on the objectives.
Stakeholders Are People
We need to remember that stakeholders aren’t some unrelatable entities. They are people who have a stake in your business, just like you! If you keep that in mind, it will make it easier to look out for their best interest. Treat them as you would want to be treated if you were the stakeholder, and they were the owner. What would you need to be happy? What information would you want to know? What would you expect of yourself?
The bottom line is you and your stakeholders carry the same goals and needs when it comes to your business. Taking these steps will ensure that your stakeholders are happy, and the relationship remains mutually beneficial.About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.