We’ve all heard different versions of dress for success, clothes make the man, first impressions count, or dress the part. I think most would agree that it’s a simple way of saying that when you are interviewing for a job, working with others, or running a business that you should do your best when it comes to how you present yourself to others. There is also an opposite saying that what’s on the inside is all that matters. I think that it can be true to some extent in certain situations. However, I don’t think that it works well with business.
The image you present to others is important. Believe it or not, like it or not, people tend to make quick judgements about others in the first few moments of meeting them.
What do you think of some people wear house slippers and pj’s to go shopping in a public store? What if you have young children who will see that and they get confused? Does it give you a negative impression about the person just seeing them look like this? What about standing in a checkout line or in a movie ticket line when the person in front of you smells like they just worked out after forgetting to use deodorant for a week and still wearing wet gym socks and carrying a bag of compost? Maybe your child asked loudly why does that person stink. Are you a bit put off? Embarrassed or concerned? Are they slouching, making faces, or using inappropriate language? What’s the first thing that runs through your mind about this person?
How do you think you would respond to someone like that if you were the customer? Would you choose another business? Would you return? If you are trying to establish a business, gain customers, create networks, and build your brand, then considering your image should be a top priority. A general rule is to dress equal to or just above your audience.
Putting your best image forward is not wearing the newest brands, the best cosmetics, or the trendiest outfits. What tends to stand out more during first impressions it the way you care for your appearance. It’s the simple things that go far when it comes to your image. Things like bathing, using deodorant, brushing your teeth, wearing clean clothes and clean shoes, go a long way. Clothing should be wrinkle free and appropriate for the situation. Tone down the flashy trends. Your first impression should result from your amazing business sense, not your appearance. In short, you want customers to remember you for your great services and not for your objectionable appearance.
This may seem very simplistic. Sometimes we all need reminders, especially when there are websites where people brag about working in their pj’s. Which is just fine if there’s no chance anyone will see you, but if you have a physical presence in your business and you are in front of your customers, then you need to consider your appearance etiquette.
As a new entrepreneur, it’s important to remember to keep your physical image simple, clean, and show respect of yourself to your customers. First impressions go a long way in business. It’s all worth it to get happy customers to return. To sum it up, your customers are your lifeline. When there are good impressions between customers and business owners, there is a successful business waiting to grow.