We experience more personal and business first impressions each day than we even realize. Think about when you meet someone for the very first time. Many times we can’t help but have an initial impression based on how they present themselves. This can include: what they are wearing, how they introduce themselves to you, how they shake your hand (make sure it’s firm and short), and the first few things that they speak with you about.

The same principles for personal first impressions apply to first impressions of your business. If customers walk in and they see a mess and a pile of papers they think right away, “My papers are probably in there…” It just doesn’t give you a good secure feeling about the competency of the people that you’re working with. This is why the image of your business is everything.

Make your office or store a place where everyone wants to be. It doesn’t take a lot to make everything look warm and inviting. A little bit of paint and cleanliness can go a long way in making your business look professional and your people look competent in their job.

I say this all the time, but it really is the little things that make a big impact on current and future customers. Something small can be a catalyst for someone to tell his or her family or friends to do business with you or not. For example, when you walk into a business, do they have the butterscotch candies or Hershey’s chocolate in the dish? That first impression really does make a big difference!

I’m going to pick on my computer vendor for a moment (I know they won’t mind since I tease them about it all the time), but when I walked into their office the first time I said, “Hm… This is definitely no Google.” They have a simple plain white office with older furniture, so I told them that next time I visit, I expect to see some paint on the walls to spruce things up a bit.

Customers and employees want to be in a place that is warm, fun, and inviting. That is what keeps them coming back, gives them peace-of-mind, and lets them know that you actually care about their experience with your company. Small changes can go a long way, so start with a basic list and chip away at it to help improve your first impression and customer experience.