Stakeholders is a relatively new term (first coined around 1963) and the most widely held and adopted meaning is any group or individual who can affect or can be affected by you.
It is important you know who yours are so you can tailor your communication messages to them in a way that is easily accessed and understood by them. For example, your messages to employees would be different to how and what you would communicate to a potential investor.
Let’s first identify some stakeholder categories from which you can draw up your list:
. Employees (past, current and future) and directors.
. People/departments within local councils and state and federal politicians and governments.
. Neighbours to your premises.
. Customers and potential customers.
. Referral and joint venture partners.
. Community groups and leaders.
. Industry associations.
. Members (if you are an association).
. Donors, fund raising sites and other investors.
. Educational institutions (if you are employing graduates, for example).
. Distributors and wholesalers.
. Environmental groups.
There are others, but from this list you should be able to identify individuals or groups who are or could be linked to you. Do let me know of any other important groups that affect you.
Stakeholders are important to you and your business because they can influence how you operate, how you are perceived in the marketplace and how successful you are.
You need to create an effective two-way communication process with all your stakeholders to ensure your key messages (you do have these formulated don’t you?) are continually being heard by them.
This could be achieved in numerous ways including face-to-face meetings, briefings, open days, newsletters, blogs, webinars, direct mailouts, invitations to events, and much more.
After you have compiled your list of stakeholders take the next steps and develop your messages aimed directly at them and investigate the best way to open and continue the communication process with them.
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