What First Impressions Is Your Business Making?

What First Impressions Is Your Business Making?

We all know that feeling of looking for a shop. We’ve been told where it is, Google maps has it pinned, but where is it!?! Are you worried you could be losing business from not having a defined image? And when your customers get inside, does your entrance & offices state who you are as a business, what your focus is? And importantly, are they comfortable to be there?

We’ve all been in those offices that are dark, dingy spaces with bad colours & printer cables clearly visible. And that’s the image that company is portraying to their clients (or potential clients that walk straight back out the door). But maybe you’re saying to yourself “my business isn’t one of those swanky, top-price lawyers firms with a massive waiting room, so why does it matter??” But trust me, even as a mechanic in a grease-covered workshop, you can have style while telling your customers what you stand for as a company (trust, respect, efficiency, innovation, etc).

Wrong Door

Start at the front

The best place to start is from the front. Can your business premises be seen from the street? If so, what is it saying to you… I’m an old building with a small sign on me? And does it look like what your business is, for example, you would expect a mechanic to be in a shed with large roller doors, or a retail shop to have large windows to show the stock inside & plenty of lighting. From here everyone adds a sign with a logo & expects the job is done. But that’s just where it starts. Everyone knows that first impressions count, so make it right! For the front you need to consider many elements as stated below, & when you read these you’ll think “that’s just basic must-do’s” but it’s amazing how many aren’t done. Consider:

  • Availability of parking
  • A clear path free of trip hazards & ease of use
  • A clean environment, with no rubbish or graffiti
  • Clear direction to your front reception from the street
  • Some form of signage of who the business is & what you do
  • Corporate colours or complimenting exterior scheme
  • Opening hours
  • Adequate lighting
  • Attractive landscaping

And this is all before you reach the front door!

Big Smilesthe hub

The reception is the first point of contact, the first place for your customers to be ignored & mistreated (unfortunately). You & your staff are the most memorable part of the experience & the way that you interact with your clients will dictate the effectiveness of your business. So big smiles all round & a great attitude. But after that, your potential clients will be staring around the room, so make it good. Especially if there is a waiting room where people may have to spend some time in there, make it attractive & a place that you may want to be in. The colour scheme is very important. Colours can speak words to us psychologically, so your choice could uplift, soothe, relax or disturb your clientele. Choose a simple palette that will highlight the architectural features of the building as well as working well with your logo or corporate colours. It is necessary to add your branding somewhere in this waiting room space, so that people are very aware of what business premises they are in. This is very important in shared buildings or shopping centres. It can be a good idea to add a feature wall behind the logo to highlight it & to give more colour to the space.

FurnitureAttitude is Everything4

Any furniture that the general public is to sit in needs to be considered carefully. It needs to be stable, an appropriate size & especially if your clientele may be unwell, will need arms to help them up. But most importantly it needs to be comfortable. Studies have shown that people will spend more money at a café or restaurant with comfortable seating. This is because people are happy to be there & could stay longer. This will be the same for your business. You will have happier customers who will be happy to stay, or even better, come back. Also, this may be the ideal place to add your corporate colours to keep brand recognition. But keep it simple as furniture comes at a higher cost & it is an investment that you will not be updating regularly.

Decorate

A plant in the corner or an artwork on the wall may seem to be dust collectors, however they are the finishing touches for the room that make people feel comfortable & welcome. I’m not suggesting to add a garden bed & a statue water feature, but a few well-placed items can make or break the room. This is a delicate science (I know it doesn’t seem to be!) but the way to bring all the colours & shapes together in the space while making the branding a focus, can be a challenge. But for the basic cost of the few items versus the substantial psychological comfort of your clients, it is well worth it!

 

In the Room

The type of Interior Design for the consulting rooms can vary depending on the business. If you are a masseuse, then a soft & relaxing colour palette with lavender scents & soothing music is the key. If you are a lawyer, then a large bookcase with all the important volumes & a large leather chair may be appropriate. We do all expect certain basics from the business we frequent, so use some of those stereotypes, but with your own twist. This would be viewed on a individual basis with the professional keeping in mind the focus of the business.

The Business FocusBoring Inc

Now we’re going behind the lines of where the general public can see. This may be offices, the tearoom or the storeroom. Although your clients can’t see this, you & your staff do, so why not make it fun! There’s nothing worse than Monday-itis in the middle of winter & staring at a boring white wall in the office. You can easily choose to make it vibrant. Add a feature wall in a bold colour to the tea room or make the corridor a refreshing green or blue for softness. It’s only paint & it can make all the difference to the emotional wellbeing of your staff. If you have a business focus or mantra, add that to the wall in a multi-use area. Once again this will be a subconscious reaffirming of the beliefs of the business that they have to adhere to. It is best to feature it with a wall colour to make it pride of place. There are so many, cost effective ways to make these areas more attractive, & let’s face it, we spend the majority of our day in these rooms, how about you make it appealing!

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg for altering your business premises to make it more desirable. There are so many ways that you could highlight your business & make it stand out from the rest. If you are concerned about the impression your building is making, then walk through it from front to back with an impartial friend or family member who will be honest. They may pinpoint areas of concern that you have been blind to. Or hire a designer to help coordinate the new design as well as finding those areas of concern. Even if you hire a consultant to give you a list of alterations to be made & basic pricing on those areas of concern so you can action them as your budget allows. Investment in your business vision is essential, so consider what your clients want to see & give them that little bit more!

 

Not Open For BusinessImages by..

For other great free Interior Design tips –

Environmental Design – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/environmental-design/

Sheen Levels with Paint or Cabinetry –http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/low-sheen-gloss-satin-what-does-it-all-mean/

The Top Interior Design Elements – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/the-top-interior-design-elements/

How to get the Industrial Look – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/how-to-get-the-industrial-style/

What is Contemporary Design? – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/what-is-contemporary-design/

Heating your home this winter –http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/how-to-heat-your-home-this-winter/

 

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