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5 Tips to make first impressions count with your small business

First impressions count and according to a Forbes article by Carol Kinsey Goman, you have just seven seconds to make the first impression count. Not long, is it? But how about your business when it comes to first impressions - do you think your doing your company justice by showing it in the best possible light? Here's 5 tried and tested tips to make your business glow bright on its first impressions.

5. The front desk environment

Be it a local car repair garage or hairdressers, allowing customers to walk directly in to your work areas isn't ideal and potentially against health & safety regulations in certain circumstances. Not only this, but it's not the best experience to offering current or potential customers.

Invest in creating a front desk area (a reception desk), which is both warm, professional and inviting - a key touch point when it comes to the first 7 seconds rule of first impressions.

4. Staff training

Example of front desk experience from Hilton Hotels. Copyright photo Hilton Hotels

Having a professional front desk is only half of the battle. Who then mans it is also key as their attitude and their communication skills are just as paramount, or even more so than the actual look of the place. Google for 'making a great first impression' to find some top tips in how best to achieve this.

3. Smell

If, for example, you're a car repair garage, while the smell of oil and grease may flick the switch of some people, for others, it's quite unwelcoming. The front desk area in particular should be a neutral scented area, but if this is not possible - air deodoriz (click to shop via Google) could help significantly.

2. Waiting times

If your front desk isn't always manned, or waiting times are more than a couple of minutes, it would be a great idea to offer a seating/waiting area. People are in a hurry, always, but if you need people to wait patiently and to help them stop stressing about the minutes ticking by, make sure sufficient, comfy seating is readily available.

1. Offering free refreshments

If, as per point 2, waiting times are of a considerable length, make sure you offer free refreshments while your customers wait and perhaps some biscuits or some other snack alternative, stopping hunger from being another excuse for a customer to start getting agitated.


There are many reasons why businesses lose customers, don't let first impressions be one of those factors, especially when the cost of getting it right is very low.

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