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Weíre all told not to judge a book by itís cover but we canít help doing it anyway! In fact, we all form judgments within two to thirty seconds of meeting someone for the first time. Sure, we do change our minds as we get to know them but all these changes fall within the context of what we already ďknowĒ about him or her.

You may not realize it but if youíre running a small business, YOU are your business. Wherever you go and whatever you do is a business promotion opportunity and all of it either impacts your business positively or negatively. Promotion isnít just advertising or press releases or sales events. What most people donít pay much attention to is that promotion is also how you present yourself. Your image is the first thing that represents your business.

So, itís absolutely essential to not neglect to present a positive first impression. After that, theyíll be predisposed to consider you favorably. So how do you start presenting your best self to your clients and customers?

It pays to work on your PEP. Maintaining the kind of business image that creates a positive first impression involves focusing on being Personable, Elegant, and Professional.

Does everyone you come in contact with know what you do and what product or service you offer? Think about it. And youíre missing out on word-of-mouth if you havenít bothered to tell them what your business is about. You donít need to have a prepared pitch ready to pour off your tongue every time someone glances in your direction. But you do have to make a conscious effort to tell people what you do and something about your product or service that will arouse their interest and help them remember what you do. Practice bringing it up casually in conversation.

Business events are not the only places to network or meet potential partners. What about your barber or hairdresser? The manager of your apartment building or the person who cuts your lawn? Your neighbour? If someone asked them what you did, what would they say? They may not be potential clients themselves, but they may know someone who might be. Make your elegant appearance the first thing that strikes a good impression. Always spend the time to maintain your appearance. Even if itís when you go to get a coffee or go to the store. You never know who youíll bump into that will lead to yet another fruitful business connection.

Talk to people wherever you go; show an interest in them and theyíll respond with an interest in youÖ and an opportunity to promote your business. Be friendly, helpful and go out of your way to make sure the other people around you are at ease and comfortable with you. Be a good host and donít be so consumed in making sure every detail is perfect that you miss out on actually interacting with others.

By working on your PEP, youíll find yourself generating more attention and interest in your business, which is a great start to a lasting professional relationship. Think about last week and where you went and what you did. How many business promotion opportunities did you cash in on? How many did you miss? Itís about time you PEP it up, get out there, and take your business to the next level!

Ladies, taking care of your image doesnít mean youíre superficial or shallow. It shows you care enough about your business to make every impression count. Be empowered at out first ever Excel Womenís Conference and find the strength and strategies to own your destiny. Take the first step and sign up today!

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