Does your business have a clear and consistent style guide?

IMG_2889Does your business have a clear and consistent style guide?

Whether you’re a small business with just a handful of staff or a large enterprise with dozens of employees, you need a clear and consistent style guide for all things relating to communication.

So what is a style guide?

Put simply, it’s a guide to how things are done in your business. It involves procedures and polices for all written communication and can include rules around the use of your company logo or images and information about how to write a clear and concise email or business letter – to name just a few.

From a technical perspective, it can also include templates for all in-house documents and procedures for all data entry and financial processes.

Style guides are unique to each business, although we always use the Australian standard for media and business writing as a starting point.

An integral part of developing a style guide is the discussion around company goals, values and a mission statement – something we encourage all staff to be involved with.

Here at The Splendid Word we love developing style guides and have produced bespoke versions for Echuca Regional Health, the Rochester and Elmore District Health Service, Moama Bowling Club, Echuca Community for the Aged and recently, Ecotecture Design Group (EDG).

Although EDG only has a small team of talented building designers, business owners Alastair and Kate McDonald recognised the need to have a clear and consistent style guide to ensure everyone was ‘on the same page’ in regards to communication.

During four staff training sessions with EDG we covered all in-house procedures that involved customer relations and communication, including topics such as email and business writing, hard and soft copy filing procedures and general house keeping.

We also had a very valuable session looking at the ‘big picture’ stuff, discussing company goals, and came up with a set of core values and a mission statement that reflects the team’s passion for what they do what they aim to achieve for their clients on each project.

Individual and team ownership is key to the success of this process and is an essential part of any business style guide. We find when staff are directly involved in the development of their own style guide they are more likely to identify with its importance and put it to good use.

Kudos to EDG for recognising the need for developing their own style guide and for taking the time out of their busy schedules to involve all staff in the process.

So this week we’re #spreadingthegoodstuff for businesses like EDG who take the time to work ‘on their business’ and develop a style guide to ensure they continue to deliver on-key communication and outstanding customer service.