when i say dress for success, i don’t mean your actual dress, necessarily. certainly it’s rather good practice to be the best dressed person you’ll see today. and i always remember something a classmate wrote in an 8th grade yearbook – “no matter what you do or where you go, always look good and smell great.”

that alone would be excellent advice, but i’m talking about a different kind of dressing up. i’m talking about dressing up your business.

people perceive certain things, whether it be right or wrong, when they look at your company. it’s natural — life likes good looking things! there have been studies that show the peacock owes its livelihood to looking good. scientists clipped the brightly colored feathers from male peacocks, and left other males alone as a control group. those without their feathers clipped saw much greater rates of mating with the females in the group. throwing evolutionary caution to the wind, the lady peacocks choose brightly colored males because the more feathers they have, the more viral the male appears to be. during the mating season, other brightly colored birds like the many variations of parrots and parakeets, will sit on the highest branches in the sun so that their feathers are more visible and appear more brightly colored than their rival males.

the point is you need to look good. you have to dress for success. don’t ever underestimate what fancy looks can do for your business. everything about your company has to make you appear more “brightly colored” than your competitors. if you sell produce — make sure your produce is always piled high. if you sell milk — make sure your refrigerators are always packed with milk. if you sell computers — make sure your floor models always have clean mice, keyboards, and monitors. keep the floors mopped and the carpets cleaned. if the carpeting on your office building’s steps is worn out — replace it on the weekend with some extra carpet. if a light bulb is burned out — replace it with a new bulb. buy the more expensive plastic bags. go with frank sinatra or duke ellington for your elevator music instead of yanni. michael bolton may have been hip at one time, but the classics never fade.

it’s the small things about your business that make the biggest impact.

and not just to your customers either. give your employees new chairs—give them the BEST chairs. they deserve it, don’t they? buy new microwaves and coffee makers for the break rooms. they’ll see how you’re dedicated to them, and they’ll return the feeling. when they see the rest of the office or wherever you happen to work looking clean and orderly, they’ll also be clean an orderly—and not just in where they work, but how they work. i’d bet you would see an increase in quality of products and quality of service.

and as far as clients go, there’s never a second chance at a first impression—but there is a first chance at a second impression, and those are sometimes the most important ones! making changes signifies to your customers, “hey look, we’re changing with the times. we’re constantly making ourselves better. why don’t you partner with us and make sure that you don’t get left in the past?”

the way you present yourself says a lot about you. equally the same, the way you present your company says a lot about your company. be the peacock and dress for success.