It’s never easy to get your startup underway, but this can be hindered even further if there’s something that would make customers or partners take an instant dislike to your company. A solid first impression can be the gateway to success. At the very least, it means you’ll be able to get your foot in the door, and if your product or service is as good as we hope it is, then that’s all you’ll need – but it has to happen first. Below, we take a look at some of the most overlooked mistakes startups make that can contribute to a bad first impression.
Office Space Chaos
If you’re inviting someone to your office, be aware that everything about the office represents who are you as a company. It starts with the office location and environment, but it really begins when they enter your premises. If the receptionist is uninterested, rude, or acts in any other way that raises eyebrows, you’re instantly off to a bad start with a person who might have had a hugely beneficial influence on your business. It’s also about your office culture; are your workers professional? An office can be laid back and relaxed, but it must always be professional. Also, it’s important to maintain a respectable level of cleanliness in your office; crumpled up pieces of paper lying around can be a sign that you’re working hard on your creative ideas: dusty windowsills and kitchens more commonly seen at frat houses are a sign that you don’t care about your image. Get a company like Southern Cross Cleaning in and make yourself presentable.
Trying to Get in Touch
You might be surprised how much people care about your contact details, but they’re an important part of establishing a good first impression. For example, which company would you trust more: the first has a mobile number as their main contact line, has a PO box to receive mail, and has a generic email address. The second company has a fixed line phone number, permanent offices in a downtown location, and a 24/7 website chat option. It’s a no brainer – the second company will get all the business. When someone Googles your company, they don’t know anything about it. If your Google Business listing has no or limited information, what do you think the person conducting the search will think? It’s an easy way to convey the impression that you’re not a serious company, but fortunately it’s easy to resolve.
That One Member of Staff
Your staff are there to make you money, but did you know that there’s a small chance they might actually cost you money? Hiring a person is always a gamble, and you can’t always get the right person for the job. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. It can be annoying when a worker isn’t very good at their job, but it’s outright damaging if they’re giving the company a bad impression when they’re representing you at trade shows, with clients, and potential investors. Setting the tone of the company is one way to ensure that people know what you expect from them when they’re representing the company, but some workers will not be able to abide to the rules, regardless of what you tell them. Unfortunately, you’re not able to let it slide – they could be costing the your business big money, or your reputation, which is everything to your business.
First Impression? Lasting Impression
Your first impression is important, but what will really set you apart from the crowd is your lasting impression. It’s simple enough to have nothing objectionable take place when a person is visiting your company, but it gets tricky when you have to think of something to make yourself stand out. Your company is your domain and everything about you will transmit what your company represents. This could mean having a lively, colorful office that shows how forward thinking you are; it could be a casual dress code, or quirky business meeting rooms or events. Whatever it is, it puts the power of the first impression in your hands. Instead of playing it safe, hoping that the other person will like it, it’s taking the initiative and saying “this is who we are”. If every detail is on point exactly as you want it, then it won’t matter if somebody says no – they’re probably not the right fit or target market for your company anyway.
The Essential Details
Your company personality should radiate from every pore of its body. Your first impression will come from the branding, the name, the product – everything that makes up you. If anything, making a bad impression isn’t so much about projecting the wrong image; it’s about not projecting an image at all. If different aspects of your business are out of sync, then the impression will simply be confusion. For example, a fun, innovative company name would have to be backed up by an innovative company culture. Alternatively, a traditional, professional outlet that has a casual dress code would probably look out of sync. More than anything, these inconsistencies can make a company look insincere – and if you want to be anything, it is sincere to your vision. If you’re creating a company from scratch, the takeaway advice is: be true to who you are. If you have confidence in who are you and what you’re doing, then you don’t need to try so hard to manufacture a good impression based on falsehoods.
While what we’ve listed below are some of the more common mistakes we see, it’s far from an exhaustive list. The best way to make sure your company makes a good first impression is to look at it with fresh eyes: if you were to visit your company and had no connection with it, what would you think? What are you doing well, and what can be improved? In between all the other many tasks you have, it’s a necessary step to take if you’re going to stay ahead.