Most of us spend a small fortune creating our Brand: trying to ensure that we have a great website, business cards, social media image profiles, etc. Having so many balls to juggle obviously takes up a lot of our time and attention, so how many of us stop and think about what we look like and how we come across in relation to our Brand?
When you are face to face with your customers, networking or making an important pitch, you really need to create lasting positive impressions. You need to focus on your Brand and ensure that you represent that in every way. It is vital that you, as well as the people who represent your business, reflect this in the way that you dress and also in your behaviours. This is an area that many small businesses overlook although it is fundamental to their success. Getting this right can open the right doors for you and your business!
What Is Your Business?
Now let’s take a step back for a second and ask ourselves ‘How would I describe myself and my business?’ We could easily spend at least five minutes in a monologue, trying to answer these questions but the harsh truth is: who’s going to spend all that time listening to us? Our friends perhaps, but certainly not prospective clients! These questions might seem simple enough but coming up with an accurate and concise answer is far from simple…
Be SPECIFIC: What do you represent? If you’re an accountant and you’re starting up your accountancy business, it’s easy – you’re a person who’ll help others with their accounts, tax returns, etc. But for many other business owners, it’s not as simple. Try to come up with the best description along the lines of ‘I am the person who will help other people do… /provide this service, etc.’.
Be CONSISTENT: Always stand for the same thing so that people start recognizing and identifying you, e.g. ‘the person I need to go to if I need my accounts sorted / help me deal with stress, etc.’. Sometimes we have a varied professional background or perhaps we have our fingers in a few different lines of business. Remember, your business identity also needs to be COHERENT – this is the crucial factor as it will enable others recognize you as ‘the person who is an expert in…’ So, if you run an accountancy business but you also provide eyelash extensions and reflexology treatments, you’re most likely going to be seen as a ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’. But if you’re a personal trainer and also a qualified nutritionist, then this could help establish you as a ‘wellbeing expert’.
Establishing your brand is the vital point that you must address before you start going out to promote your business.
Presenting Your Brand: What Do People See?
Now we are not saying that you necessarily need to be suited and booted. Of course if you work within the corporate field or similar, then it is important to dress that way. There are many people within the corporate world who still do not get this message and are quickly brought into line. Typically big companies run induction courses to ensure that all employees are aware of the company’s core values and standards, including what to wear and how to behave.
For the smaller companies and new businesses, this area is often totally overlooked. We have witnessed this along our journey. You don’t want to be remembered as ‘the guy who didn’t iron his shirt’ or ‘the lady in that low cut green dress’!
Many decisions are based on what you look like and how you represent yourself as this is all part of your brand package. Don’t underestimate the value of this. You want to make sure that if you have an interview or sales pitch you get it right, if you are networking people remember you and want to chat to you and that you get the business connections you really want.
The other aspect of how you look is how it makes you feel. There have been situations where ladies and gents we know have attended a more formal networking event and instantly felt uncomfortable. Dressing inappropriately for the occasion can make you feel like you don’t belong. And this is true not just for being too casual or frumpy, but equally for being too formally dressed if others are in more casual attire – you want them to also feel comfortable in their interaction with you. So make sure to do your research about the dress code before deciding what to wear.
When you look the part, you feel confident and that comes across in your whole persona.
More on first impressions and building a rapport in our next article…
Janine Quinn has over 15 years’ corporate experience and is a qualified Trainer. She has produced and delivered a variety of bespoke training courses and workshops, which included Induction, Communication Skills and Management workshops. She now runs Sassy Style and is a qualified Style Coach for men and women. Should you require any information regarding business image consultations and creating the right look for your business brand, please email Janine@sasssystyle.co.uk or call 07557 818103.
Jelena Goranovic is a doctor of psychology working in the area of people development and wellbeing. She is Co-Founder and Programme Director of Sussex Wellbeing Company, where she spends her days consulting organisations on their wellbeing needs and building tailor-made wellbeing and team development programmes. Jelena also evaluates the effectiveness of all interventions, providing clients from a wide range of industries with a clear insight into their return on investment.