As entrepreneurs, we can come in contact with a lot of people every day. We should always keep up with a professional appearance an image that is not distractive and does not take away from what or who we represent. For entrepreneurs this is your brand. We must remember our brand is more than just our message it is also our presentation and how other perceive us.
It’s one thing to look professional for meetings, but we should also keep up a nice, professional appearance. This means during lunch hours, off days, while traveling, and even at the grocery store. Entrepreneurs should always be prepared to look their best because our image is always talking even when we’re not.
Diane Parente, a writer for Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE — Fripp & Associates says, “You and your business can have all the substance in the world, but if you don’t project a strong, professional image to go with it, people aren’t going to respond the way you want them to”.
Remember: To back up your image, you also need a good product, extensive knowledge, and strong communications skills. Your image creates the expectation. Your substance confirms it.
Your public image represents who you are and what you do. It is a reflection of your private self-image. If your self-image needs an occasional boost, you can start by improving your public image. When you portray yourself to the world as confident and competent, you actually increase your self-confidence and credibility. You achieve optimum results because people respond more positively.
Tip: One way to do this is try public speaking. You can start small or at a place that you feel you are comfortable speaking. Make sure you receive feed-back on your presentation, your appearance, and your message. The crowd should be a mix between those you know and some you don’t know.
Your ideal image should be so supportive of what you are saying that people can look past your appearance and straight to your message. I know we have all run into those certain people where their appearance and actions were so distractive that you couldn’t even concentrate on what they were saying. Just imagine a man with a comb over– combing his hair over a bald spot that nearly covers his entire head. Does he realize how odd he looks? I’m sure what passes everyone’s mind is, why doesn’t he just let it go? Or a woman in a short skirt at a professional, will she be able to sit and if so will it be appropriate? Some people may look at her and think this is unprofessional. We become so engrossed in our own thoughts that we fail to hear their words.
Sometimes we need to dress appropriately according to the situation or event. If you are attending an event that is causal you still want to look professional and but respect the details of the event. Consider if the planner of the event wants you to participate in physical exercises you want to still be able to be a part of the event as well as not look stupid just make sure you don’t come in your pajamas.
Tip: When there is a description of “casual dress”, remember to remain “business causal”. This is not an invitation to wear sweat pants or your workout clothes. Also be sure to not arrive in a full suit or fancy dress when the instruction clearly stated casual attire, this saves not only your representation but your ego.
10 Do’s and Don’ts for Your Image:
- Don’t wear ill-fitting clothing, no matter how expensive or stylish, they will shoot you down.
- Don’t wear unpolished or worn out shoes this announces that you don’t care.
- Don’t mixing formal and casual indicates you haven’t a clue. Don’t wear dress shoes with jeans.
- Don’t wear skirts high above the knee this sends an unintended and unprofessional message. You can use the length of your arms by your side to measure. Make sure the skirt or dress does not come above the middle finger measurement.
- Don’t wear revealing undergarments. It is very unattractive.
- Do take care of your teeth. Bad teeth a huge turnoff. People look at your mouth when you talk.
- Do make sure to apply grooming as deemed appropriate for the particular occasion or event. Avoid bad grooming or extreme grooming.
- Do buy the best fabrics you can afford. Rumpled, worn, faded, or stained clothes suggest you’re not in control. Give them the surreptitious twist test when the salesperson isn’t looking. (Twist a tiny corner tightly, hold for five seconds, then let go and see how quickly and completely it springs back. If it’s wrinkled, don’t buy it.)
- Do keep your wardrobe spotless, but don’t over- clean woolen garments. Their lifespan is usually 30 cleanings.
- Do carry smell goods either for your breathe after you eat, and if you can for your body. Different foods or environments can stick to your breath as well as your clothing. Especially if you eat onions or sweat a lot.
Your image can take you far or stop you before you even begin. The beauty and fashion industry are very judgmental industries. With great effort, you can usually overcome a bad first impression, but why when you don’t have to? You are your best advertisement and how you present yourself can enhance your credibility, your client base, and your money trail. Start right, start strong, and your image will be your most powerful advocate and your best money maker.
“Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice