Sunday, May 29, 2011

Your Physical Facilities Are Part of Your Business

Some people see the cup as half empty. Some people see the cup as half full. I see the cup as too large.” ~George Carlin

First impressions are so important, and entrepreneurs need to remember that a business’ first impression is made by its physical appearance. If you bring a potential client to your facilities and it looks as if you have not made any improvements in 30 years, they are not going to be inclined to work with you.

We were working with a very successful business that had high sales levels and was growing incredibly fast. The business operated predominantly online, and as it grew, they never took the time to step back and evaluate the physical appearance of their operation as a customer would. They just never had the inclination to invest in keeping their premises up.

On one occasion, a large customer stopped in and, after seeing the condition of the facility, refused to order anything from them again. The customer just could not believe it was a quality operation based on the way they kept their building and facilities. The business owner was shocked by this occurrence. Until this incident, he did not recognize they had a problem.

Another business we were assisting was operating out of their home office in an effort to keep their brick and mortar investment at a minimum. Normally, this was not a problem as they were able to meet customers at various coffee shops. However, a client showed up unexpectedly one day at the home and, after seeing their physical facilities, concluded it was no longer a viable business.

A third business had a nice location, but their warehouse was a disorganized disaster. When a couple of customers got a look at the warehouse behind the counters, they wanted to stop doing business with the firm.
Finally, a business was located in such a bad area of the city that many prospective customers refused to go there. In the interests of keeping their costs at a minimum, the firm had chosen a terrible location, forgetting about how important first impressions are. This business had so much potential, as they had a product that many customers desired, but the location was so bad it made a terrible first impression and significantly affected their sales.

For many entrepreneurs, it is difficult to judge their own business objectively. Frequently, they operate in the same environment for so long they just lose the ability to see their business without bias. One way to get an impartial assessment is to ask an outsider to come in and evaluate your firm’s first impression. In many cases, I have seen these outsiders give great advice at little to no cost.

Now go out and make sure that your business is making the best first impression possible.

You can do this.

1 comment:

  1. I understand that first impression means everything. From sales to pitches to presentations and even on dates. But as a physical attribute of a virtual business? Not likely.

    If anyone sees a virtual business do good but not looking so good on a physical level, would that really conclude that the business itself isn't doing so good? Maybe. But try putting yourself in the business owner's shoes.

    The business owner, chose to work their business primarily online (as would your first case study is) because its cheap. The cheaper it is to run a business the better the profit margin would appear. Marketing, advertising, operations and such that can be done online and at different places, would definitely help bring the cost further down.

    I'm not sure about how to manage a Brick and Mortar business so as far as I know, any business that handles mainly in the Service Industry, would definitely wouldn't mind doing it online. Wouldn't you agree?