Ever heard the saying “Image is everything”?
In the case of a small business owner, your entire business rides on your image. Not just the image you portray with your photography or with your marketing materials; literally the way you look, dress and act.
I once visited a photographer who wanted help with his business. As I walked through the front door of his home, I had to set over a few boxes that were waiting to go to the post office. The photographer had to move a few stacks of paper from a chair so I could sit down. And as he showed me some things on his computer monitor, I couldn’t help but notice bills and accounting documents all over the desk in front of me.
I visited another photographer who had a great studio, props everywhere, a clean background area for posing. The sales room was well decorated, was laid out to watch a presentation of the final images, and had a full array of framing and mounting options to select from. But when he met me at the studio door, he had on a t-shirt and an old ratty pair of jeans – he looked like he had just finished painting and cleaning out a back room.
In both cases, image wasn’t maintained from beginning to end.
1. Dress to impress your clients.
Who is your target audience? How can you dress the part to impress from the moment you meet? Living here in Denver, I’m a jeans fanatic, and rarely have anything else on. But I always have my designer jeans, a great looking sweater, and shoes and accessories to match when I show up for client meetings. If you are meeting a corporate client, you may need to switch to a dressier outfit or even a suit. While clothes generally aren’t a deal killer, they do make a very big first impression. You never want your first impression to be negative or a let down. When in doubt, overdress.