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Sadly, We Can’t All Be Mark Zuckerberg. The Business Value Of Dressing For Success

MZUCKMonday morning can be a drag for anyone. You had a great weekend, hung out with some friends, and perhaps watched some Sunday Night Football. Now it’s back to the grind. With deadlines approaching, most people are focused on the daily tasks and work to be done for the week. But there is one aspect of work that may slip your mind. The way you present yourself! When is casual, too casual?

As a small business owner, you are looking to capitalize on your services. Exponential growth is something every entrepreneur is seeking to obtain, but how you look while pursuing your dream means more than you think. There are a handful of people who have been successful wearing a hoodie as an item of business apparel, but often times your customers and suppliers want to know you mean business. While a large part of the tech industry has dressed for Casual Friday every day for the past two decades, the sensibility when it comes to driving business is dress to impress.

Every business wants to be a customer’s first choice and this decision is made considering way more than just your company logo. It takes into account little nuances like the way you did your hair, how pressed your shirt is, and if there are tiny bits of spinach in your teeth left over from today’s lunch. These things can deter potential clients from wanting to do business with you. Before stepping foot into your next meeting, there are a couple things to keep in mind:

  1. Dress for the occasion. “Most entrepreneurs emphasize efficiency and tasks,” says Patty Buccellato, a certified image professional based in Rochester Hills, Michigan. “Often they don’t consider visual presentation which, to be effective, needs to be customized according to interactions with different people or in varied situations.” In other words, always tailor your outfit for the meeting you are about to attend. The first impression is sometimes all a potential investor will remember!
  1. Don’t copycat. Sometimes we may not know what to wear to a meeting with a potential investor so we google search images of people in business suits. Preparing for the rendezvous and gathering necessary materials is stressful enough that we just throw on something typical to play it safe. Well, don’t. Taking that extra time preparing your outfit for a great first impression says a lot to someone willing to advance you a couple thousand dollars to start your business. Your style introduces your substance.
  1. Color brand appropriately. Be authentic and know your audience! This goes a long way when trying to stand out in the crowd. As an example, Brandon Evans, founder and CEO of Crowdtap, wears red converse to all his speaking engagements. He says, “This footwear really sticks out, gives attendees an easy way to spot me during the rest of the event, and makes more of a statement than a suit and tie would.” Now, if you’re a programmer, you can probably get away with wearing a T- shirt and looking unkempt, but that may not hold true for your role involving sales and presentations. We know you can’t please everyone, but always consider dressing for your target audience.

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