Most people associate the word personality with individuals. But businesses can have personalities too, and the image and feeling of a more distinctive business are likely to remain with customers.
Think of all the different types of stores. Their personalities are defined by their unique style or atmosphere, as well as by selection of products and customer service. This combination makes up their personalities. Some have friendly approachable workers; others are more upscale, discriminating and offer wine and champagne while trying on clothes.
Other types of personality businesses such as Harley Davidson are known for their rough and loud personality. (Believe me - if you didn't want people to know you are coming, you wouldn't buy a Harley!)
You can give your business a personality make-over by taking it in any of the above directions. Even if you don't have the resources to completely redesign your image, you can be creative and make changes over time.
Personality also includes a friendly staff (and the willingness of staff to go the extra mile for customers). You should always remember that what customers remember most about your business is how efficiently any transactions are carried out by sales help - whether you are a retail business, technology business or professional consultant such as a lawyer, consultant or real estate agent. You, as the owner, may have the best intentions of giving outstanding customer service. But if your front-line staff doesn't follow through, your efforts to be known as a business with a wonderful personality will be wasted.
As the owner, put yourself on the front line as often as possible, working with customers and directly influencing how your staff treats anyone who walks through the door. Find out what customers want. Don't hide yourself in the back office. That's the surest way to lose touch. If you do, you'll find that your company's image has more to do with someone handling the cash register than with you. When a business reduces itself to that level, services and product purchases by your customer becomes a matter of "who has the lowest price' - and that's got nothing to do with personality.
Your selection of unique products ultimately also transcends the atmosphere of your business. After all, customers do business with someone because they need something. Whenever possible, offer a variety of unique items that people can't find other places. This is true no matter what type of business your have.
Lastly, always think of little touches that can give your business a unique personality. These touches can only come from you, the owner. The more of yourself you put into the day-to-day operations, the more you will present your own unique personality to customers. All the little touches add up, and they will make a decided difference to your bottom line.
Leanne Bucaro, co-CEO of Infinity Communications, is a public relations professional with more than 15 years of experience in communications and media.
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