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A great business first impression

By Brian George | May 6th 2020

When Mary walked into the beauty store, she was excited about finding the perfect makeup to wear on her graduation day. The lady behind the counter was on her phone, probably scrolling through Instagram. When Mary said hello, she looked up unsmiling, as though annoyed at the interruption, and right there and then, Mary was sure she needed to try the next shop. After all, Nairobi is not short of beauty shops.

According to Forbes, within the first seven seconds of meeting, people will have a solid impression of who you are — and some research suggests a tenth of a second is all it takes to start determining traits like trustworthiness. This works too for businesses. 

1. Be accessible 

As a business in the 21st century, you need to be easily accessible to potential clients or business associates. Your business needs a website which explains at a glance what your venture is about. Not having a website invites room for doubt or even suspicion.

Develop quality content for the web pages, clearly stating what your business does, values your business holds dear, contact information and even a page for frequently asked questions and their provisional answers. 

Describe your location, and go to the extent of having it on Google maps, for easy location.

Red flag: Nothing reads more unprofessional than contact numbers that do not go through.

2. Your reception area is the window to your business

Receptions and receptionists have ruined very high-end deals just by the way they handle guests.  As a business person, you need to invest heavily in your reception area and the person in charge of it. Your reception area should reflect your business. It’s a golden opportunity to impress and you can communicate many messages through it. 

· Your reception should always be clean, nicely scented and with the right décor. Have good furniture to bring a proper blend of the aesthetic look in the reception area. 

· Your receptionist needs to have a happy disposition and should always be attentive and courteous to guests. If they are having an off day, they should take a break. This gives the guests a feeling of warmth and that communicates lots of undocumented values of the business to the clients. 

· You can go an extra mile and serve a glass of healthy juice or beverage to your clients. Some soft music and Wi-Fi in the waiting room are some of the extra little things your clients would appreciate.  

3. Be punctual. Always

If you schedule a business appointment, it is only right that the other person finds you waiting. Likewise, if you are headed somewhere to make a pitch for your business, arrive a little earlier so you familiarise yourself with the office culture, protocol, and systems as you await your big moment.

4. Get rid of director’s parking space

Sounds hard right? Designating the best parking spaces for directors is such a bad idea on so many levels. It sends out a hierarchical, old fashioned message that is negative. These parking spaces should be reserved for your visitors whether they are clients or recruits. Visitors should feel welcome, well-received, and important without necessarily being directed to a certain place to park their vehicles. 

5. Your washrooms say a lot

There’s a saying that If you couldn’t eat off the floor of the toilets in a restaurant, then you need to worry about their kitchen cleanliness. Keep your office washrooms clean. They tell a lot about the level of (dis) organisation in a business.  

6. It matters how you speak

Words matter even more than you think. Positive and persuasive words and phrases will often make you win lots of deals and make people feel comfortable in your presence, which can ultimately make them more willing to work with you. Present possibilities and solutions to every problem you point out. Pessimistic attitudes scare away prospects, so be sure to give the best side of your input, personnel, effort and time towards a deal.

7. Ultimately, your work speaks for itself

Build a portfolio that any brand would want to associate with and don’t be shy to show it.

Do work that anyone would be happy to be a part of and let it do the talking.

Your portfolio of work could be your only currency to the next deal, and in these pandemic times when people are a little circumspect about where they let loose their purse strings, it could be your lifeline.

Social media presents a good platform to showcase your work. Make good use of it for your own benefit.  

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