First Impressions – One chance to make a first impression

It is very important to remember that you’re always representing your business and having an impact on how your business is perceived. A business owner always needs to make a good impression, especially a first one. The first impression can make a major difference in many different circumstances when it comes to being a business owner.

A first impression can be the differentiating factor in obtaining funding. Most investors will know if your business idea is a good one within minutes of being pitched, the other thing investors of looking at is the pitcher. Investors don’t just invest in a business, they invest in the person. What can be perceived as small, irrelevant tendencies can deter an investor from investing in a business. Steven Schussler in his book “It’s A Jungle in There” states it is very important to maintain your physical appearance, have a firm handshake, and have the proper body language for the business interaction.

Steven recommends wearing suits to all business interactions, doesn’t matter if he is in the hot Florida weather, always dress professionally. As well as maintaining proper dress code, make sure that you’re well groomed and present a nice aroma. Not doing these things can make a big impression, and leave a negative connotation in someone’s mind. It is always important to have a firm handshake. This displays confidence and you may only have one chance to make the first handshake, so do it right. Body language also goes a long way. Making proper eye contact and facial expressions is something to be aware of. You can easily offend someone by making certain facial expressions like rolling your eyes or seemingly not interested in what someone has to say.

In the article “How To Make a Powerful First Impression” by Robert Jones, it states person-to-person marketing is more important than ever. The article refers to Lillian Bjorseth, a communications consultant, and how people decide several things about you within the first 10 seconds of seeing you. She says that people put off an aura, and that aspects such as dress code, body language, and just overall appearance determine this aura that others perceive of you. Everything from the initial handshake, the eye contact, and the conversation all matter when making an impression. It is important to be confident and portray a positive aura.

First impressions don’t just matter to potential investors; they matter to your potential and existing customers. Customers will notice a person’s aura and have their notions about the business owner and employees, and that will have an overall impact of the business’ product or service. It is always important that all aspects of your business make a positive impression, and shed a good overall light on the business. This goes back to my prior post about “Sweating the small stuff”, little things like appearance, body language and hand shakes may seem like they’re not a big deal, but they really do have an impact on the business as a whole.


Jones, Robert. How To Make a Powerful First Impression. 16          November 2008.

Schussler, Steven. It’s A Jungle In There. New York. Sterling Publishing Co. 2010.  Print

6 thoughts on “First Impressions – One chance to make a first impression

  1. Chris,

    I remember my first Commanding Officer giving all of his Sailors a brief before we pulled into our first port in Japan, he strongly alluded to the fact that we are always representing the Navy. It doesn’t matter where we are, how we are dressed, how we act, at the end of the day if we got into trouble while, in a different country, e.g. Japan, the locals would blame the Navy, not the individual. I also agree that first impressions are paramount; sometimes you might not realize that you are being judged on the initial first impression you should assume that you will be. Thanks for the informative post.


  2. Chris,

    First impressions are so important in athletics too. The most obvious first impression is what the recruits think of me as a coach and Western Carolina as a school but what came to my mind when I was reading your post is how I determine who I want to recruit. I pay attention to exactly what you mentioned except on a softball field. I look for body language, competitiveness, and coach ability. Sometimes these athletes are in a one-time impression moment because there are so many softball players to evaluate. When I see someone have a bad attitude or give up on an at bat, I immediately cross them off my list. Even if someone is talented, a bad first impression can eliminate any chances of them getting hired or being asked to join a softball team.

    Great job,
    Danielle Glosson

  3. Chris,

    I like that you chose this chapter. All to often people take it for granted that they can be respected for their thoughts and abilities over anything else. They don’t realize that they are first being evaluated on their outward appearance. Failure to pass this social test may prevent them from every getting an opportunity to present their ideas to potential investors. While this social norm is unfortunate, it is reality and every entrepreneur should put their best foot forward.

    Thanks for sharing,

  4. Chris,

    Great post on how important first impressions are! We have many customers come into the plant for witness test inspections. The customers expect to see a great first impression with confidence that the gear we’ve assembled for them is perfect or if it is not then we have the know how to fix it on the spot. We have many customers from around the world and first impressions are universal to all people.


  5. First Impressions are important. I am planning a summer Entrepreneurship Camp and we are going to focus on soft skills including first impressions. The first 10 seconds is very important and this was an interesting point that I had not considered. Please note as always that this was a very good and thought provoking post.

    In the book, I believe in the wearing a suit at all times. I honestly believe this gives you a competitive advantage. The more I grow as a leader, I am trying to adopt this lifestyle of suits more and more. Just trying to catch them on sale.

    T. Kwasikpui

  6. I agree first impressions are very important. I’m always curious about “aura” and whether people can sense certain emotions that I am feeling during my first impression. I am not quite sure, but I am trying to be aware of myself in this sense. Thanks for bringing up this.


    Doc Dillard

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