Is no news good news? Sometimes it's exactly the opposite.
In uncertain economic times, saying nothing about the state of your business might be considered evidence you're in trouble. But admitting your company is on life support won't exactly increase customer confidence; in fact, it could drive away your vendors and few remaining clients.
Acknowledging problems while remaining positive about the future is a delicate balance. What you say and how you choose to say it can have a huge effect on how you're perceived in your industry and community. The key is to give customers faith that you're sticking around despite the hard times.
It's not just small businesses that are wondering how much to reveal about their finances. Some major financial-services companies have felt the need to publicly reassure customers that their money is safe despite the recent Wall Street turmoil.
PNC Bank (STOCK QUOTE: PNC) posted a letter from chairman and CEO Jim Rohr on its Web site, saying the bank's underlying business remains strong: "As we have reported in our public filings, PNC continued to be well capitalized as others in the financial services industry have faltered ... and our operations and credit positions have performed as expected. PNC pursues a moderate risk profile and has minimal subprime exposure."Ameriprise Financial (STOCK QUOTE: AMP) released a statement that emphasized the company's stability: "One of the most important messages you can hear right now from Ameriprise Financial is this: we are strong, stable, and as always, committed to safeguarding your dreams. We maintain a diversified business model, a solid balance sheet and a sharp focus on prudent risk management."