4 Ways to Make a Positive First Impression in Business

There are certain things in life you just can’t get back. And a first impression is one of them. No matter how hard you try, your initial interaction with someone leaves a lasting impression. It’s how they see and judge you for the foreseeable future. This is true not only in your personal life but business as well. If you’re a new business owner you want to make a memorable, positive first impression with customers. Sadly, all it takes is one bad experience for a customer to write you off as just another shim-sham operation. And even worse, they’ll likely tell their friends about their terrible experience, keeping those people from ever stepping foot inside your establishment. So how do you make a good, lasting first impression as a new business owner? Read on to find out.


1. Be Humble

They say the customer is always right. And although no one should ever feel disrespected in their place of business (or anywhere else for that matter), there’s something to be said about biting your tongue and appeasing the customer. Some people are just harder to please than others. Even if you kill them with kindness and bend over backwards to make them happy, they’ll still find something to complain about. I’m not suggesting you allow yourself to be walked all over as a business owner but it doesn’t hurt to eat a little humble pie once in a while.


It’s important to remain calm and patient when dealing with difficult customers. Do everything in your power to make their experience a positive one. This might mean being a “yes man” (or woman). It may involve nodding your head and smiling or making special arrangements for the product or service they require. Only you can decide how far you’ll go without being taken advantage of. But you also need some level of humility when it comes to business ownership. The customer may not always be right in actuality but 9 times out of 10 they need to leave your store feeling that they are.


2. Be Reliable

Nothing is worse than making broken promises as a business owner. If you open and advertise certain hours of operation, be sure to adhere to them. A quick way to lose customers is by opening late or closing early. If you plan to close for a holiday or other special event, post this information clearly both at your establishment and on any social media or online outlets you have. And do so with plenty of advanced notice. The business-customer relationship is much like any other relationship in life. The customer needs to know they can trust and rely on you. If not, they’ll find a different, “better” business to spend their time and money supporting. Start off on the right foot with customers by following through on your promises and maintaining consistent business hours.


3. Be Consistent

Consistency as a business owner piggybacks on the concept of being reliable. When customers develop a certain level of trust in you and your business, they come to expect a certain level of service. They likely return to you because they know they’ll receive quality care or products. In order to maintain this relationship, you must be consistent in what you offer, whether it’s goods or services. All too often once a business is established, they find ways to cut corners in order to lower overhead. And although this is necessary at times, it’s a risky game to play. Customers will notice that the quality has changed. You can’t charge the same amount for something that doesn’t deliver the same results as before. Not only will customers feel duped but they’ll rethink their first impression of you and potentially take their business elsewhere. People are creatures of habit, which means once a customer become a “regular” they’ll likely stay one for life, or at least for the foreseeable future. But a quick way to lose those regulars is by messing with what they’ve come to know as your norm and standards. Whenever possible, don’t veer far from the quality that put you on the map in the first place.


4. Be Present

It’s kind of hard to make a good first impression if no one knows you exist. As a business owner, it’s your sole responsibility to get the word out there about who you are, what you have to offer, and why people need your product or service. Just opening your doors isn’t enough. You need to create a strong presence within the community. And more importantly, you, as the business owner, need to be on site for at least the first several months of opening. Customers like to put a face to the name and you’re that face. Be present at your store’s grand opening. Be available to answer questions and shake hands. Hand out personal business cards with clearly printed contact information. This shows a certain level of trust and accountability. Customers know that if they have an issue or question, that you’re just a phone call or email away. With that being said, make sure you answer customer inquiries in a timely fashion. Don’t leave customers hanging. Sadly, people’s attention span is nearly non-existent which means without instant gratification, they’ll likely move on without a second thought.


Certain aspects of business ownership are ruthless. You have a small window of time to make a good first impression with customers and all it takes is a few slip-ups, or even one, to lose them in the blink of an eye. The key is to possess a healthy balance of thick skin and humility. You win some and you lose some, both in life and in business. But by being reliable, consistent, and available, hopefully you’ll come out on the winning side of things.


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