Wednesday, August 27, 2014

title pic Business Advice – How To Make A Great First Impression

Posted by Joanne Dewberry on August 6, 2014

In some cases, all the talking in the world cannot compete with that all-important first impression. Whether you run your own business or your role is mainly client based, you can secure a positive relationship with your prospective customer in the first few seconds – without saying a word!

What Can You do?

This is possibly the most obvious point of all, which is why it is at the top of our list – but it is most definitely worth a mention. Whether you are meeting with a client, a competing organisation or a professional body, the initial encounter is incredibly important. We have some top tips for how you can make a positive imprint during a first meeting:

  • Dress To Impress – An overused saying throughout the fashion industry, but definitely a method of improving your confidence and emitting a personal profile which enhances trust.
  • Eye Contact – Maintaining strong eye contact is essential during a first impression, although be careful to remain friendly and not intimidating.
  • The Handshake – A firm handshake is key; attempt to show confidence, not strength.
  • Pay Attention – Even without speaking a word yourself, you can make a great impression by listening intently and showing your interest.
  • Be Confident – When you are nervous about a meeting, it can be incredibly hard to maintain your confidence. However, you should try your best to express your confidence by sitting up straight and smiling naturally.

Does Your Office Make A Difference?

Sometimes the location of your office, or place of business, is completely out of your control. However, the overall look and feel can be enhanced using a few simple tricks that will improve aesthetics without breaking the bank. The sleek ‘business look’ which usually features black and white is not always the answer, especially if you are attempting to make your client feel comfortable. Check out our few top tips below which can turn your office into a fabulous first impression:

  • Keep It Cool – Your client has just arrived to your place of business, probably after travelling for some time in professional clothing, so it is important to maintain a cool temperature. Fresh enough to keep you awake, but not enough to give you goose bumps!
  • The Furniture – Do not plan to completely renovate your office, but have a look at your existing furniture. Keep it simple with comfortable chairs and sturdy desks. Also consider arrangement – space is important, so be careful not to make your building feel cluttered.
  • Office Décor – Who knows if feng shui can actually make a difference to the positivity of your office, but introducing a few attractive ornaments such as flower arrangements is definitely a winner in our eyes.

Can Accessories Really Make A Difference?

It might seem like a strange subject to introduce, but the accessories in your office or business location are more important that you think.

  • Great Stationary – Walking into a meeting empty handing and searching your briefcase for a long-lost pen is not the best way to make a first impression. Make sure that you are fully prepared with stationary and that you have enough to offer the client(s) – even a pot of promotional pens at reception can look great.
  • Reading Material– Providing a magazine or leaflets for your clients to flick through whilst waiting is not essential, but utilising current industry magazines which relate to your business is a nice touch and gives the impression you’re ahead of the curve in your industry.
  • Confectionary – Our last point and why not make it a fun one? A jar of sweets or other confectionary is a little bit of fun and an ideal treat for your client. If you feel that this will not suit the tone of your business, or your client, at least offer them a cuppa and a biscuit!

First impressions are extremely difficult to plan for, but following these top tips can certainly improve your confidence and promote positive encounters from the very beginning.

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title pic Business Branding – more than just a logo

Posted by Joanne Dewberry on July 30, 2014

Building a brand isn’t just about a slick logo although this helps. Business  branding also plays a role in your visual merchandising and you personally. This is especially true for those of you who will sell/display at events

  • Branded Banner Stands – in my previous post we looked at investing in a banner stand that you are proud to use with some useful hints and tips to getting it right.
  • Business Cards – think about your design, this needs to match your online branding. Think about what information you NEED you don’t want to make it too wordy but you don’t want to miss vitals like your name!
  • Flyers – Kirsty from Work It Baby’s detailed post about her flyer journey is really useful as she made mistakes but learnt from them and fast.
  • Visual Merchandising at Events – remember to consider everything from having a branded or matching table cloth to how you will add height to your display, accessories such as bunting, a money belt/cash box etc ….  check out more craft fair tips from HandbagsJust4U. If you are looking for something a bit more corporate and less vintage/shabby chic then Envoprint POS Displays look great. Cardboard display stands which are made to your specification are an excellent way to highlight your brand.
  • Personal Visual Merchandising -Think uniform! Branded t-shirt, Name badge, Branded money belt (there are lots of tutorials for making one). An apron, (especially if working with food or handmade cosmetics), gloves. Branded bags to put sales in. Clean nails and tidy hair. Stand out from other exhibitors, reinforce your brand, in ways that make the business instantly recognisable. People buy from people so your appearance, personality and passion for your products/business, are even more on show at fêtes, fairs, etc.

business branding

What other top tips do you have regarding branding?  In my book Crafting a Successful Small Business there is a list of questions to ask yourself when you start developing a brand and a couple of case studies who have filled out the questions in relation to their brand.

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