Freelance Fridays — Making Impressions

A unique opportunity to take over a rural Main Street storefront came up for me this week. I’d been considering looking for a more professional-looking space where I could meet with clients and focus on the artistic side of my work for a little while, and a local businesswoman was desperate to get out of her lease.

After checking out the building several times and attempting to schedule a walk-through, the deal fell through. That’s life. There are many takeaways I can point to from taking the time to observe businesses such as hers and examining why they struggled and what could be done to avoid those pitfalls, but those are not the focus of today’s discussion: What are you doing to make a better impression?

You don’t need swanky downtown real estate to leave branding and image impressions with your clients. And if you aren’t actively cultivating a strong reputation, your business isn’t likely to stick around long term.

Like most things that are worth much, creating good impressions that stick with other people invol

ves money, time, or both. Here, I’ve started a running list of some of the things I have done or seen others do to get that first bit of attention. We’ll address some of these more thoroughly in future posts:

Professional memberships
Networking: shows, conferences, clubs, other venues
Business cards
Designated office space
Appropriate wardrobe
Hygiene and grooming
Schedules, calendars, appointment books
Multiple lines of contact: voicemail, fax numbers, e-mail
Blogs or websites
Charitable and volunteer contributions
Spec projects

What things have you tried to make a better impression on your clients? Were they successful?

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