It was a typical Wednesday at Kids Crew — the third-grade girls were painting each other’s nails with instructions to help a partner with their dominant hand. I took one look at my friend’s nails: even with her good hand she was making a complete mess of herself! In my stubborn yet gentle style, I refused her help and carefully managed both my hands on my own: If she can’t even paint her own nails, how can I trust her with mine?
Almost twenty years later, I still apply that principle to my life, and I'd bet money that you do too! Tell me, would you hire a copywriter whose website is jumbled with grammar errors? Heck no! Would you trust a hair stylist who sports a horrible haircut? Not a chance! Would you send your kid to an orthodontist who has crooked teeth? No way! How you present yourself to the world has a direct impact on whether you attract buyers or passer-byes.
Case in Point
When I got engaged, two different photographers offered to take our wedding photos for free so they could build their portfolio. Wow, what a blessing, right?! The truth is, you couldn’t pay me to allow them near my wedding with a camera! Their portfolios — the very thing that’s supposed to showcase their best work — were filled with terrible shots! There were sewers in the background under the rings, bridal portraits in front of bathroom signs, groomsmen with unrecognizable faces due to splotchy lighting… you get the point. No wonder they had to work for free – their work wasn’t worth paying for!
If you want to rise above your competition (and who doesn’t), then take some time to deeply evaluate your presence. A little Photoshop work and a selective portfolio process could’ve landed those two photographers a great opportunity (and some paying clients). Check your business cards, website, flyers, social media and yes, even your appearance in some cases, for anything that doesn’t fully represent the product or service you’re selling. So Lauren, you’re telling me to deceive my clients? Absolutely not! As you intentionally strive for the ultimate public presentation, your products and services will naturally follow.
So where do you start with this self-evaluation? For now, let’s focus on just a couple of reasonable items you can check:
- Do your print materials, website & social media outlets have any grammar or spelling errors?
- If you have a portfolio, does it show off only your most recent and best work?
- Is your branding conducive to your target audience?
- If you work with clients face-to-face, do your clothes & appearance portray professionalism?
- Is your website up-to-date in style and information? Is it easy to navigate?
A Second Opinion
It pays to double check — literally! When you look at something enough with your very personal viewpoint, it’s easy to overlook things that might be just a little off. There’s a reason you take your best friend shopping — to make sure that dress you thought was adorable doesn’t actually give you thunder-thighs. Ask a friend in business or someone with an unbiased opinion to give a second look at your website and print materials to catch anything you might have missed (when I say unbiased, I mean don't ask your mom who always thinks everything you do is amazing — flattery is great, but it's not very constructive).
The Final Question
In the end, it all comes down to this: after looking at your business presence, would you hire yourself?
Comment below with any tips you have for making sure you have a successful business presence! Then message me to discuss how I can help update your business materials: logo & branding, website, business cards, stationery, etc.
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