You’ve got your logo, website, business cards and literature, which you’ve spent hours and probably hundreds of £’s on, but have you considered whether your personal image represents your brand too?
You are your brand
If you’re customer-facing, or maybe a professional speaker, it’s vital that you take care of your appearance as well as exude the kind of communication skills expected of a professional. You only get one chance to make a great first impression, and it can take as little as 7 seconds. Get it wrong and you could be missing out on future business opportunities if your prospects don’t feel they can connect with you and therefore put their trust in you.
Dismissing concerns about your personal image as trivial will only lead to continued frustration, affecting your confidence and self-esteem. You are your brand, so it’s important that the way you dress reflects that.
Get it right every time…
The type of business you run
Your appearance needs to be appropriate. If you are a dog walker, a pair of jeans and a fleece would not look out of place, but if you’re a Virtual Assistant you are unlikely to be taken seriously in such an outfit.
Your target market
It’s important that you dress appropriately for the clients you work with. Using the above example, if you are a VA, working with a dog walker, the jeans and a fleece option would put your client at their ease, however, if you’re working with an HR consultant, much smarter attire would be expected.
The image you want to put across
Think about the words you use on your website and literature: Friendly – Professional – Confident – Relaxed etc… Whatever the words are that you choose, are they reflected in the clothes you wear?
Do you want to stand out or blend in?
This is as much to do with your personality as your brand. If you are an introvert you may not want to stand out from the crowd, whereas a more flamboyant character will be more likely to want to be noticed. Dressing authentically will draw clients to you that are of a similar personality, creating rapport and trust from the very start of your working relationship.
The way you present yourself
In terms of verbal and non-verbal communication, the way you present yourself is also key. Things like maintaining eye contact when you’re talking to someone, offering a firm handshake, confidently and clearly explaining what you do will ensure you come across as professional.
Building a capsule wardrobe
Putting together a business wardrobe of mix and match outfits that fit you well, in flattering neutral shades, together with a few accent colours will always provide you with the right look for each business appointment and take the hassle out of getting dressed. It’s not just about the clothing, a finished outfit needs to include the right accessories – appropriate shoes for example. The finishing touches are often the things that get noticed first.
From a more general perspective, it’s important you ensure that all elements of your outfit are clean and your hair and nails are well-groomed. Make time to check your appearance in a full-length mirror before leaving the house. A full-length mirror by the front door is so useful and you’ll be surprised how often you, along with everyone else who lives in or visits your home will appreciate it.
These principles are not only helpful for your business persona but will also have a positive impact on the rest of your wardrobe. These are long-term skills that save you time, money and possibly your sanity!
Judith Mercer is Personal Image Consultant & Tropic Skincare Ambassador at U Look Great. Learn how you can dress for your business and discover a brand new you by contacting Judith through her contact page or on 01386 882464 / 07779 568047.