Appearance Counts, Especially for the Owner of a Start-Up

Elaine Love

Dress for Success

The business start-up is more than an idea, a business plan, and initial finances.  Does it sound exciting to be able to work from home in your robe and slippers?  Ok, so you put on jeans, flip flops and a hoodie to go to the bank.  Unfortunately that will not create a successful image.

 

As an entrepreneur you are wearing all of the hats.  You are the President and CEO, the accountant, the receptionist and even the office cleaning and maintenance staff.  You never know who you may encounter on your trip to the bank.  What if you met the banker to whom you had just applied for a small business loan?  What if you met the ideal customer who could make a major purchase of your product or the individual who would refer you to that ideal customer?  Would your attire and manner convey the impression of a successful business owner?

 

Darren LaCroix, 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking, considers himself on duty for the client from the time he arrives at the airport to depart for his professional speaking booking.  A future audience member, meeting planner or corporate executive may also be traveling through that same airport at that exact time; they will form an impression which can influence current or future bookings.

 

My speaking and business coaching clients are encouraged to dress business casual with their hair coiffed and clean shoes; females have makeup and the guys are clean shaven.  Does it require extra effort?  Of course.  When you are properly dressed and ready to face the public, you carry yourself just a little more erect.  You smile a bit more and feel better about yourself.

 

As a new entrepreneur, can you really afford to turn away encouragement or financial support?  Probably not.  Did I ever experience such a bitter lesson?  Come with me to Steamboat Springs Ski Resort in Colorado in the early days of Mountain Castles Property Management.

 

It was an especially busy day with tourists departing and new tourists arriving within a few hours for the same five-bedroom homes.  Two housekeepers called in sick.  There wasn’t much choice but to leave my office, put on cleaning clothes and fill the housekeeping gap.  As I stepped into the house, the omen of trouble was immediate.  The sink was piled high.  There is a dishwasher; hadn’t they even washed one dish for the entire week?  My frustration mounted.  One peek into the oven revealed a disaster resembling a burnt out college bond fire.  After a couple hours of scrubbing, it was apparent that there were not enough cleaning materials with me to transform this catastrophe into the sparkling property necessary for the next guests.  I made a hasty dash back to the office to replenish supplies.

 

I entered the office looking especially scruffy and dirty.   I was suddenly face to face with one of my most affluent and impeccably attired female clients.  Neither apologies, explanations, nor excuses could possibly erase my unsavory appearance from her memory.

 

Yes, that appearance error was unavoidable, but what about the avoidable “too much of a hurry to bother” occasions?

 

As the owner, you are making the sales pitch for funding or product sales.  Though you won’t wear a three piece suit to sell products to an auto mechanic shop, it is always respectful to the client to dress up at least as well as they do and preferably slightly better.

 

The old adage of “You never have a second chance to make a good first impression” holds ever so true for the appearance of the owner of a start-up.

 

Take the extra time to pay attention to your attire and grooming.  Your future business and future bank account will thank you.

Are you seeking more success in your life and career? Inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation.  Go to  www.Elaine4Success.com or contact Elaine at Elaine@Elaine4Success.com

2 Responses to “Appearance Counts, Especially for the Owner of a Start-Up”

  • This post resonated with me, Elaine. On the one hand, I would love to always be dressed in a presentable fashion! On the other hand, one reason why I would never make it in the corporate world is I am allergic to pantyhose and many forms of polyester. I work hard at neat and presentable with breathable fabrics on my body. And then there are those days that I prefer my crocs to more elegant shoes.

    I think it’s really cool that you did the housekeeping job for a day. I bet you learned a lot about how the quality of their environment could be improved.

    • Fortunately pantyhose are not as common in corporate attire as they were when my professional career started. My allergy is cashmere and wool so I understand the attire challenges.

      I started Mountain Castles as a solopreneur. I did the cleaning, checking hot tubs, shoveling snow, reservations and accounting; it started as a one person operation and grew to over 50 employees. Doing all of the jobs helped me learn what the employee encountered on a daily basis.

      Thanks for you comments.

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”Elaine spoke to our top leaders from 8 states, she gave us new and positive ways to connect with people
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