When running your business, you always want to maintain a certain level of professionalism. Both your physical store and digital presence should attract customers and not make them question the legitimacy of your company.
You've heard the old saying, "Never judge a book by its cover." But in the world of business, often people judge organizations based on first impressions. It's your job to ensure that people are impressed, otherwise bankruptcy will be in your future.
If you own a physical store, then you need to keep up with maintenance, cleaning, and the other basic necessities so that your building doesn't look like a dump. Once you have a minimum level of sanitation, then you can concentrate on design.
When customers enter your store, they should be immediately immersed in your culture. Everything needs to point to who you are as a company. The signage, the wall colors, the floor layout all needs to speak. Are you easy-going and fun? Or serious and professional? Pictures of clowns on the wall would be out-of-place at a law firm. What do you want to come to mind when people see your location?
Similar to your physical location, your digital form needs to match your company tone. Everything from website to social media pages to digital storefront needs to give off similar vibes to your physical store.
If you are an online only business, then digital appearance is even more important, since this is probably the only interaction that people will have with your company. Make them excited to buy from you.
Digital adds another layer besides just looks. Everything needs to be functional too. Nothing turns people off quicker than a non-mobile friendly website. All buttons, scrolling, and margins need to work and look good.
Once you have your website and building looking good, the final step is yourself. You need to exude confidence and a sense of leadership. Your employees look up to you. Make them believe that you are capable of guiding the future of the organization. For my thoughts on why strong leadership is important, click here.
Your look is less about what you wear, and more about who you are. Though wearing pajama bottoms and a dirty shirt to work does not usually instill confidence in customers. It's not just the clothes. How you write, how you speak, what you do, is all a reflection of you as the business owner. So make a good first impression because you are not just representing yourself, you also represent your company.
What do you think? Is appearance everything in business? Or should people give companies a second chance and not make decisions based on first impressions? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Ethan Hausmann is currently the Vice President of Marketing and Community Outreach for Successtar Enterprises LLC. He is an author, professional speaker, and seminar/workshop instructor. Ethan has extensive knowledge and experience in marketing, customer service, leadership, and other small business related concerns.