Keeping Up Appearances

When you are wanting to do business have you noticed how important appearances are?

I am sure you have made decisions on whether you bought a product or a service based on the appearance of the business rather than the price. Imagine going into a store and seeing the paint on the walls peeling off, the shop fittings looking like they are about to collapse and the floor looks like its not been cleaned for a long time. Would that inspire you to buy from that store or leave as quickly as possible?

We could of course say that the appearance factor would also apply to the staff in that business. Do they look interested in the customers, are they clean and tidy? Yes, appearances do matter.

How does our business and we ourselves appear to our customers and suppliers? We do not want to think about this just in the physical appearance of ourselves, our property and staff but rather the whole appearance of our business. Is our business efficient, giving good service and looking after our customers? Do we appear to be doing that in the eyes of our customers?

Take an Outside View

It would be good to take an outside view and look in on our business just the same as our customers do. We need to rid our minds of our view and place ourselves in the customers position. This is not always easy as we can be very protective and biased about our own business.

Many businesses quite wisely employ a consultant to take an outside view and report back on what they have found. Regularly surveying your customers and asking questions that will give you genuine answers and an accurate response is also another way to take this view of your business. Surveying is a skill in itself and so a third party company could well be better than trying to do it yourself. Your customers are more likely to be truthful if they are speaking to people they do not know and more readily express how they really feel about your business. There are many customers who do not like to upset anyone with criticism and telling a stranger is far easier.

Changes can be slow

Our businesses can change in the minds of our customers without us noticing for some time. It is probably only when we have lost many of them! Small changes over time become big changes. Like me you have possibly decorated and it is only when you start applying the new white paint you realise how ‘yellowed’ the old paint has become.

Slow deterioration in our business can just be like that paint. The problem for us is that our customers can go to other businesses where the paint is gleaming white! They can certainly then know the difference between what we are offering and what our competitors are doing.

Are you keeping up appearances in your business? Is it time to redecorate? Now is the time to check!

What do you do to keep your business looking good to your customers? Please leave your comments in the box below.

Roland Millward
The Entrepreneur Club

This article has also been published at Factoidz

Image: luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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