In a recent post we talked about Curb Appeal and your store front. But what if you don’t have a store front? What if you work out of a home office, your car, a warehouse office, or similar? What then?
You still have curb appeal to contend with. It’s just that curb appeal isn’t only about a building (at least in the sense we are talking.) It’s about the first impression people get from you.
How do people get that first impression of you if you don’t have a store front? There are a number of ways… as many ways as people can connect with you.
Their first impression of you might be your website. Or another internet listing (internet yellow pages, trade association directory, etc.) Or your Facebook Fan page.
Or it might be your appearance as you meet them at a networking event. But, some people are pretty oblivious to things like appearance, so it might be your demeanor or your attitude that they notice, instead. It partly depends on the person and who they are.
So, what impression are people getting about you? Are they getting that you run a business… or that a business runs you? Do they see a business owner… or someone who has created a job out of their business?
It is important that the first impression someone gets of you is both positive and authentically you. All of your marketing, your networking, and your interactions should be a reflection of you. Indeed, your business is a reflection of you… whether you want it to be or not.
Why is it so important to be authentic? Because you and your business are making a promise to your customers – from the first impression to the last interaction they have. And the only way you can keep that promise is when the promise is a part of who you are.
As a result of that, you need to make sure that your business is built on your strengths, because your strengths are the things that you can do repeatedly, consistently, and authentically. If you build your business on your weaknesses or on an image you want to project to potential customers (and that image isn’t a part of who your authentically are), then you set yourself up for failure.
Back when I was a teenager the dating advice was always “be yourself”. And I remember being very frustrated with that because I didn’t think ANYBODY would want to date me if they knew the real me. So I did what most teenagers do and tried to project a role. Sometimes it worked… for a while. But, because it wasn’t the real me, I couldn’t keep it up. And, then, the romance fell apart because I wasn’t really who the girl thought she was getting. But, you know the funny thing? She had been doing the same thing and I wasn’t getting the girl I thought I was getting, either.
Finally, after years of frustration (and growing up), I realized the wisdom in that original advice. Be yourself, find your tribe, find people who appreciate the strengths you have. When you do that, you don’t have to play at a role, you can just be yourself… and be appreciated for it.
It is the same way with your business. Play to your strengths. Market to customers who appreciate those strengths.
Then, no matter whether their first impression of you comes from viewing your website, your brochure, your advertisement, or meeting you in person, their impression will be your authentic self… and the customers who are a good fit for you will like it, will want it, and will want more of it. And you will be in a position to give it to them… easily and happily.
How has it worked out for you? Share your best (or worst) moments with us via the comments.