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"The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible"

~ Anonymous

Tea Time with Liv

The first impression - lasting impression

As a serious business owner and a WAHM, you need to take a moment and think about the impression you want to give others not only about your business but about yourself. Building a business is not just about the fabulous products you offer. Its how people feel about you, your business, and your products. In business people's perception is reality.

We will talk about online and in person impressions here. You may not think how you are in person matters when your business is online but it does. People want to know you care about your business and your customers. When you personally hand someone a business card, they have already decided whether or not they will look at what you have further. Think about your own experiences during this discussion.

First impression is everything especially online. Online is far from personal so you need to evoke the right feelings during the first few moments. When people see your site, they make a judgement whether good or bad. You need to make the most of that impression. You have to remember you are not sitting there talking to anyone. Everything they know is from your site. Give them everything they need to know. Have others navigate your site. Is it easy to navigate? Easy to find what they are looking for? Do you have store policies posted? How can you be contacted? How do you make a purchase? Make a survey for people to complete. Offer a special discount or sample for completing the survey. Use that feedback to make improvements and not just use it to give out samples. When looking at feedback, don't over look a suggestion that has only come up once. Take all suggestions into consideration. If one found it to be an issue, how many others will that have not seen your site or have but will not be returning.

Look at other sites. Does yours look like theirs? If it does, change it. This does not always mean the same template or graphics. This can be same color. How many WAHM sites have you visited that were prim and brown? I went on a search for WAHM businesses and 10 out of 13 I viewed were prim in design, almost the same exact graphics, brown and dark. I couldn't even tell you what they were. They all just blended together as if 1 site divided into 20. Stand out and not blend in. Does it seem "too cute" or is it clean and welcoming? Make your home page separate from a product page. This is NOT where you sell product. You want to welcome visitors to your site. Give them insight as to what they will see while visiting. A feature product or sale is fine. Do you have a bunch of glittery graphics or too many graphics unrelated to your site? Get rid of them. You may like those glittery graphics but this is not your fun profile. From the outside its looks amateurish and unprofessional. This is not the impression you want to give.

Ask for help if needed. Asking for help does not equal failure. Everyone needs help and/or advice at some point. As a WAHM you should be a member of the MomPack.com. Like you there are over 6000 WAHMs with varied experience and talents. This is a great place to get advice and low cost help for that professional looking site.

When writing descriptions for your products, write them as if others have no idea what it is no matter how obvious. If you don't you may be speaking in a way that is not understood by others and only yourself and others who are close to you. This will make customers feel excluded, not understand your business, your products, and is an invitation to leave.

In person impressions are just as important to your online impression. When out and about, you should be giving out your business card to at least 1 person you just met. You are a walking billboard advertisement. How you approach them makes all the difference on whether they will follow up or not. Do you talk using alot of slang? Learn to curb that. Do you have a habit of looking at your feet while talking to someone? Find it within yourself to look into that persons face. If you can't look at their eyes, look at their eyebrows, that freckle on their brow bone, admire those long lashes. Anything that will make them feel you are paying attention to them and talking to them. This doesn't mean become a different person it means refine and present a professional image.

I hate to say this but if you are a smoker and smell like stale smoke, doesn't matter if that cigarette was 20 minutes ago, this will not be favorable to those who do not smoke. Even if your products go straight to the customer from the company, customers will remember that smell and fear their products smelling that way. You may not smell it and that is because you are used to it. You need to be aware of this. That smell can carry to your cards. Use a business card holder preferably metal. This helps shield those cards. Start carrying that febreeze and spray down your car. Do not smoke in your car. The smoke smell is at its worst here since it lingers in a smaller area and forces the smell to be concentrated. Carry baby wipes and wipe down your hands after every cigarette. Also use hand sanitizer. This will not rid you of smelling like smoke but lessens it if you just have to have that cigarette. If you are on your way to a home party, do not smoke on the way there. I know nerves can be at their highest here but you need to avoid exposing someone who is sensitive to the smell or even allergic to cigarette smoke. This is also the same for you heavy perfume wearers. Sometimes we are a bit too liberal with our favorite scent that will overpower others. Smell wonderful not as though there was a disaster in the perfume factory.

No matter bad hair day or not, keep those tresses tamed. Pull it back in a pony tail and add in a cute barrette. A messy do can make customers look twice and feel there may be potential for a lack fo detail. Keep the outfit simple and clean. We all try to deny that looks aren't everything but if you have an unkept car salesman trying to sell you that volvo, are you really going to buy that car or go somewhere else? This by no means go out and buy a new outfit. Just means keep it simple, keep it clean, keep it covered.

No matter where you are, make that imperssion favorable and memorable.

Olivia Vidal
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