With the rise of modern entrepreneurship and blazing one's own trail, there is a revolution of young people carving their own path introducing new products and services to the market.
A big part of growing a successful business lies not only in the presentation of the product or service but also the company and founders. Your appearance is no exception in helping a prospective clients gain trust in your capabilities and believe in your value before an exchange or transaction will occur. Your confidence and presence needs to provide assurance.
The casual trend does not do any favors for young people that want to be taken seriously when working in more mature industries. For example, flip flops at the office are never okay. You never know when your clients are going to stop by or you will get introduced to someone that is gauging your capabilities based on the image you project.
My business partner and I connected two clients for a project; one was an older, successful independent entrepreneur that we referred to our young web developers. They had been in business a few years longer than us and were our age too. It was a bit shocking at how differently she treated them compared to us. Odds are that you are not Mark Zuckerberg (named the worst-dressed man in Silicon Valley) and our clients that dressed like him got treated poorly and with less respect.
DRESS TO MATCH YOUR CLIENTS
It is common to serve clients in a few industries. By being conscious of how they come dressed to work and aligning your attire accordingly will help you maintain rapport and relevance.
If you think this does not matter, it does. My partner and I consulted in a number of industries and we consistently dressed consciously of where our meetings were that day. If we were in the trades, business casual in jeans was okay. Meeting with CEOs and management of tech companies, we dressed more formally.
Our image was crucial to the development of our brand since we were young and did not have years of experience behind us. Businesses invested in our personal brands and our perceived abilities, not our portfolio of projects since we barely had any and were a new startup.
LOOK GOOD, FEEL GOOD, CLOSE DEALS
It is easier to present your skills via your computer with the right copy and graphic design but when you have to meet in person, you need to make sure your personal brand reflects confidence and your authentic self so people can trust and in turn purchase from you. Invest in a few pieces that fit correctly and make you feel good. The return on your investment is the confidence you project.
You should be conscious of the need to look smart, polished and professional. This can be done in something as simple as jeans and a blazer, if done in the right context—that is, depending who you are meeting with and where.
Also, do not underestimate the importance of fresh grooming. When you look good, you feel good—and when you project a poised presence, prospective clients will tune into your energy and enthusiasm when accessing if they want to do business with you or not.