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Want to Enjoy Business Success? Ensure Your Appearance is Up to Scratch!



business success

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

“Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression – with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing,” said fashion entrepreneur and journalist Natalie Massenet, and statistics certainly back her assertion. As an entrepreneur, you have just seven seconds to express who you are and indeed, some studies indicate you have even less. Recently, Princeton scholars Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov conducted a series of tests, finding that it takes as little as one tenth of a second to for an impression of a stranger from their physical appearance. Moreover, longer exposures don’t necessarily alter this quick initial judgement.

Appearance is a Key Element of Your Brand

If you have invested in your logo, colors and website, remember that your physical appearance – and that of your office – should be viewed as an extension of your brand. Appearance covers everything from the suit you wear to a formal meeting, right through to the interior design of your meeting room or reception room. Acing this aspect of your branding strategy is a complex task because no two businesses are alike. Moreover, depending on the nature of your business, innovation or tradition may predominate. Getting your branding strategy right involves researching into industry expectations. Your competitor’s website and social media is a great place to start, but don’t be afraid to go a little ‘above and beyond’ what is expected.

Breaking New Ground

There are certain basics that all entrepreneurs and premises should obey. These include tidiness, cleanliness, and professionalism. If you work in fields like law or accountancy, a good suit is key when attending to clients or holding business meetings. However, if you work in an industry like media, aeronautics, or technology, your attire and business premises should be anything but traditional. Google, for instance, is famed for its passion for color, innovation, and collaborative spaces. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, meanwhile, dazzles with its own onsite museum, coffee shops, and moving Mars rovers. Your office should be suitable to your employees’ uses but also appealing to your clients. Thus, luxury jewelry and haute horlogerie shops often contain cosy yet luxurious features like double glass fireplaces, dark cherry Chesterfield sofas, and Edwardian desks. The key is to exude tradition and modernity at once, since these values are key to these high-end sectors.

Expressing Yourself through Clothing

Regardless of whether or not business suits are a must in your day-to-day life, you shouldn’t be afraid to express your creativity. A dark navy business suit, for instance, can look über sleek and sexy when it is slim cut and paired with a good pair of brogues. Your necktie, pocket square, or glasses can show off a little more color than expected, as well as a different, contemporary design. Even a cool Hermès belt looks fantastic worn alongside a casual day suit.

Functionality and Practicality Should Weight on Your Decisions

You should always aim to impress, without sacrificing an iota of practicality. It was interesting to read news stories about Apple employees revolting against the glass-filled office design of the $5 billion Apple ‘Park’. The problem? Numerous employees were walking into the glass walls, making for more than one headache and bad mood. Similar criticism has been levelled at open plan offices, with recent research finding that they aren’t for everyone. Indeed, many employees who are forced to work in open-plan spaces claim that distraction and lack of privacy wrests from their efficiency and focus.

Your appearance (and that of your office) is key because it can make or break important connections with your clients. It is also key to building a sense of trustworthiness. The more professional you look, the more likely clients are to choose you over competitors. However, getting your strategy right often involves innovation, so don’t be afraid to show off a little sartorial flair while wowing your clients with your skill and experience.

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