It’s a hard and (sometimes) unfortunate fact. You might be the most hard-working and considerate person in the world, but unless someone knows you outright, these qualities won’t be presented on first glance.
What people will see and note is your posture, the way you carry yourself and the manner in which you’re garbed.
“Thin-slicing” – the psychological tendency for people to make assumptions about your attractiveness, personality and other attributes within the first few moments of meeting you occurs constantly, and we’re all guilty of it.
How to Look the Part of An Entrepreneur
This means the first few interactions with a person set a semi-solid anchor on which they’ll judge your character. For an entrepreneur, this can mean the difference between an extra client or a lost half-hour on aimless small talk that won’t yield any results.
It’s also a way of slipping into an entrepreneurial mindset and setting yourself up mentally for success.
Therefore, it’s crucial that you act and dress the part to convey the image that you’re successful to people you meet.
1. Dress the Part
Clothes are usually the first thing a person will notice when they meet you.
These will ultimately portray the type of person you are, and can go a long way to reflecting your personality and even your business ethos.
Clients you encounter and meetings you hold will go a very different way if you’re dressed in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt (Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson might be the only two exceptions to this rule) as opposed to a good pair of pants.
Therefore it’s imperative that every good entrepreneur, male or female, invests in at least one quality suit. When buying the suit, ensure that it’s made of quality materials such as natural cotton and is tailored to fit your body.
Gone are the days of baggy pants and oversized blazers; it’s all about slim and trim now.
If in doubt, consult an online guide for picking the perfect suit. Of course, a caveat to this rule would be to not only invest in quality suits but to ensure that all of your clothing is well-fitted and of a high quality.
As well as your attire, wearing quality accessories is another easy way to look professional and send a strong and positive message.
In fact, small accessories go a long way to changing the entire look of an outfit, whether it’s a tie, pocket square, or clutch handbag.
The ultimate accessory, however, is the beautiful and enduring wristwatch. It effortlessly adds a subtle touch of class and sophistication to any look. It used to be that sourcing the ideal wristwatch was a lengthy and arduous process.
However, just like sourcing a good suit, wristwatches can now be found online thanks to eCommerce stores such as Chrono24.
Watches not only have the benefit of looking great, but they’re also a prudent investment that can gain value over the years (and as an entrepreneur this is definitely something worth pursuing).
2. Carry Yourself Confidently
Once you look good, the next weapon you’re going to need in your entrepreneurial arsenal is your confidence.
Believing in yourself and what you’re trying to create is of the utmost importance when it comes to achieving your goals and convincing investors that you’re going to succeed. This can manifest itself in many ways.
Physically, you should have a good posture when you walk; always keep your head up; look people in the eyes and smile often; have a firm handshake (but don’t aim to crush bones); speak clearly and enunciate your thoughts; use open body language when speaking to people.
All of these little cues will inspire in both you and those you’re communicating with a sense of confidence. Mentally, it’s a different game.
You should always strive to be positive in everything you do, be prepared for setbacks and how to deal with them accordingly, as well as embracing change.
This can sometimes be a struggle, however.
Entrepreneurship is, as everyone knows, a battle of attrition. Businesses aren’t born overnight and ideas don’t materialize straightaway.
Because of the long-term nature of starting a project or business, many entrepreneurial people suffer from a condition known as imposter’s syndrome.
This is a psychological condition that chips away at your confidence and replaces it with feelings of inferiority and self-doubt, and might even make you call into question why you’re attempting your idea in the first place.
Don’t worry! This isn’t unusual, especially in the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship.
In fact, most successful people feel self-doubt on at least some days, especially when nothing is going according to plan. The important thing is that you keep on going and persevere. Because ultimately these moments pass, and when they do you’ll be back to feeling confident and on top of your game.
3. Learn From Those Who Came Before You
There’s a reason why expressions such as “fake it till you make it” hold water.
Acting like you know what you’re doing goes a long way to convincing people that you do. However, that advice can only take you so far.
If you really want to learn in an erudite and effective way then studying your role models or other people you know to be paradigms of success is the way to go.
Analyze how they started out, what their idea was, what resources they had at their disposal and how they utilized them. But most importantly, look at how they conducted business. What allowed them to secure funding and how did they act to go about it?
Who did they inspire confidence in and why? Guys like Neil Patel and Jason Lemkin are good case studies, however, just look at any successful business and take your pick.
Everyone’s story is different, but the ultimate parallel they all share is that something in their method worked, and whatever it was, it’s open for you to study and learn from, emulate, and hopefully make your own.
Here’s a quick recap on the 3 steps to looking the part as an entrepreneur:
- Dress the part
- Carry yourself confidently
- Learn from those who came before you