The Importance of First Impressions

Have you ever met someone for the first time and got strong feeling that this is someone you’re going to like and trust? Or, on the other hand, that there’s something about them that doesn’t feel quite right? Either way, it’s nothing you can put your finger on — just a feeling.

It would be strange if you haven’t, because this is exactly how humans are programmed to respond to anyone on an initial meeting — we form a first impression.

How We Form First Impressions

Forming a first impression may seem like ESP, but it isn’t really. All that’s happening is that your braining is very quickly noticing and processing various things about the person that you may not have picked up consciously. These may include their posture, the amount of space they’re giving you, their gestures, their expressions — perhaps even the slight, undetectable scent that comes from them.

All this is happening while you’re saying hello and how are you, and maybe introducing yourself. Your brain is comparing these observations with past experiences of how people who’ve shown those signs have turned out, and it will assume that this person will be similar. At the same time, of course, the other person is following the same process with you.

Generally speaking, we react to signals in much the same way, but there can be variations — for instance, different cultures will have different ideas of what’s a correct personal space. Nevertheless, if you want to give yourself the best chance of conveying the right impression, you’d do well to study what your body language usually conveys. Especially where your business is concerned.

First Impressions and Business

While making a good first impression may be important in many social settings, when you’re representing your business it can make the difference between securing a contract or not. Whether in a formally arranged meeting, a networking session or a chance encounter, the first impression you make is vital.

Estimates of how long you have to make that impression vary from three to twelve seconds, but everyone agrees that it’s very difficult to recover from a bad first impression. While not impossible, you have to recognise what’s happening and deliberately change the signals you’re giving out. That makes a full understanding of non-verbal communication essential.

First Impressions in Different Contexts

This is all very well at a face-to-face meeting, but what happens when you’re not in the same room as the other person? A video call is similar, although people are harder to read in a Zoom box, but both written form and phone calls have their own issues. In written form, for instance, exact phrasing will take the place of body language, but you won’t know how the other person is reacting — you just probably won’t hear from them if you’ve got it wrong.

In the case of a phone call, most of the impression you’re giving comes from your voice, rather than the words you use. This can still be extremely powerful, but it’s harder to read when you’re giving a bad impression.

Not impossible, but you need to be an expert at phoning to know how to react, which is why many business owners delegate their vital cold calling to specialists. Get in touch with the Resource Centre to find out whether we can help you assure that your business gives a great first impression over the phone.

How to Get Your Business Fighting Fit for the Post-Pandemic World

Is your business one of the many that went into hibernation during the pandemic? Perhaps you put yourself or your employees on furlough, or maybe you continued trading with a different offer.

Although the crisis is by no means over, the business world is opening up again now. But will you still fit into your familiar place, or will you need to reinvent yourself? If you’re going to thrive, there are a number of things you can do to make sure your business is fighting fit for the post-pandemic world. These are a few of them.

Plan Your Business Strategy

Having a well-planned business strategy is always vital to the health of your business, but isn’t it pointless to develop a strategy in such uncertain times as these? In fact, it’s even more important now than ever.

A strategy shouldn’t be set in stone. Instead, it’s a commitment to yourself and your partners of intent to aim for a particular goal. However, the route you use to reach this goal is likely to depend on what you encounter, while the goal itself may change if the circumstances demand it.

The best approach is to develop an ideal strategy, with clearly defined flexibility built in if events force you to diverge from your planned course. And remember that these events won’t necessarily be obstacles or drawbacks. Your strategy should be flexible enough to respond to any unexpected opportunity that may turn up.

Get Out and Network

Business networking is always important, especially if you’re a B-to-B company, but it’s doubly so now. If you haven’t ventured out much into the business landscape since the start of the lockdown, networking is the best way to tap into what’s going on now and how that might be different from what you’re used to

Fortunately, there’s more networking available than ever, and much of it is online, so you don’t even have to stir out of your office, saving both time and money. You have a full choice between loose meet-and-mingle groups, closed groups you join and commit to, and all shades between.

Build Your Customer Base

It’s important to remember, though, that business networking isn’t primarily about getting work right away from the people in the room, whether that room is physical or virtual. It’s about building relationships, which will hopefully bear fruit in the future. It’s an effective strategy, but a long-term one, so how do you build your customer base now?

The best way is to get on the phone and talk to your prospects, but there are two problems with that. You may well feel uncomfortable cold-calling, and in any case you don’t have time for that many calls. And that’s where the Resource Centre can help you. Give us a call to find out more.

Working in Extreme Weather

The past few weeks have been extraordinary, not only with COVID 19 but also the weather — a week of record-breaking heat, followed by storms. Now autumn’s just around the corner, which is likely to bring more storms and, if 2020 lives up to its record, we may well have the country buried under snow before Christmas.

Extreme weather can bring many challenges, but one is that most of us have to carry on working through it. So, as an employer trying to treat your staff appropriately, how do you deal with extreme heat or cold?


Working Through Extreme Heat

The August heatwave was unprecedented for the UK, with records tumbling on all sides. However, if even half the climate predictions are accurate, this is liable to become much more normal in the years to come, so we’ll need to find ways of working through it.

The most obvious way of reducing workplace heat is to have an efficient air-conditioning system. However, while this tends to be normal in large workplaces, it might be considered an expensive luxury in an office for three or four people. However, as high temperatures become more normal, it might be a good idea to regard this as an essential start-up cost.

As an employer, you have a duty to take reasonable care of your employees’ welfare. Two of the more obvious things you can do in hot weather are to bring in electric fans and to make sure everyone in the workplace is able to keep themselves hydrated. If you have a water-cooler, make sure it’s kept topped up, while if you don’t, see that your staff always have access to chilled water.


Working Through Extreme Cold

We’re certainly more used to cold than heat in the UK, but still extreme cold is rare. Nevertheless, this too could well be increasing in the future. The complexity of climate is such that one plausible model suggests that global warming could lead to a mini-ice-age.

We’re on slightly surer footing here, since all workplaces should have adequate heating, though it’s equally important to make sure the warm air is able to circulate freely, rather than becoming stagnant and unhealthy. In an extreme cold spell, though, you might look at bringing in extra heating, perhaps individual heaters for each work station.

Just as access to chilled water is important in the heat, make sure all your staff can get regular hot drinks. You may also want to suspend any dress code, allowing your staff to bundle up in layers, or even in overcoats.


General Issues with Extreme Weather

Whether it’s too hot or too cold, it’s your legal duty as an employer to make sure your staffs’ health isn’t put at risk.  Whilst there’s no precise definition under law of when the temperature is too hot or too cold to work, you should assume that if several people complain it’s time to take action, including whether to close the workplace.

It’s worth remembering, of course, that individuals have very different reactions to hot and cold.  Although you can’t necessarily accommodate all the extremes, it’s advisable to try and find ways for every single person to be more comfortable in the workplace.

If you’re going to be able to make any necessary changes for coping with extreme temperature, you’ll need funds, and this might mean increasing your profitability.  Get in touch with us if you need help with that as our business is getting more customers for your business.

The Return from Lockdown — Challenges and Opportunities


Although the coronavirus lockdown is by no means over, there’s some easing off. People are beginning to talk about what it’s going to be like afterwards, and that makes it vital to have plans in place for your business.

There are going to be major challenges ahead in adapting to whatever the new world will look like. But there’ll also be opportunities, and it’s important to be ready for them.

The Challenges

The post-coronavirus world isn’t going to go back to “business as usual”. In the short term, this will be from necessity. There won’t be a day when it’ll suddenly be announced that it’s all over. Even when you’re fully back to working, there’s still the need to keep your employees and customers safe (not to mention yourself) and the sooner you start planning how to reorganise, the better.

That isn’t all, though. The pandemic has thrown into relief issues that have been building up in recent years, and it’s likely that this will alter the focus of the business world. Should we carry over the kindness and consideration we’ve discovered into the new world? Should we use this as a wake-up call to realign business aims to a greener agenda?

Above all, though, the lockdown has shown us that many businesses can function perfectly well without anyone actually “going into work”. It’s shown that we can have meetings with clients, team-members and networking contacts without leaving home.

The trend towards remote working has been growing, but now we know it works, and it offers many advantages, including reduced costs and a lower carbon footprint. While it won’t suit all businesses, the “new normal” is likely to be a more hybrid model, and businesses that don’t embrace it could get left behind.

The Opportunities

If you’re lucky (or if you’ve approached the lockdown intelligently) you may have kept many of your existing clients, but it’s likely you’ll need new ones. Fortunately, there are likely to be opportunities.

It’s a harsh reality that many companies won’t survive the lockdown. Most of us don’t like to think of other businesses failing, but the reality is that this will leave their former customers looking for a new supplier of goods or services. And that could be you.

This makes it imperative that you start planning now for how you’re going to engage and win these customers. Do you have the systems in place to find and contact them, or do you need help? If so, why not get in touch with the Resource Centre and find out how we can help?

Although the coronavirus lockdown is by no means over, there’s some easing off. People are beginning to talk about what it’s going to be like afterwards, and that makes it vital to have plans in place for your business.



Making Your Business Environmentally Friendly


It’s difficult today to avoid being aware that our home planet isn’t in the best shape. While there isn’t universal agreement about how responsible humans are for the changes, there’s little doubt that the more we can reduce our negative effect on the environment, the better.

If you own a business, though, it’s not just your own personal behaviour you need to think of. How can you make your business environmentally friendly?

Go Paperless

There’s very little need these days for physical records or communication, and that’s a good thing for the environment. Although paper can be produced sustainably and then recycled, it’s best to use less of it, while large quantities of physical records require space that needs to be heated and lit, using up energy.

While emails and electronic storage aren’t entirely carbon neutral, they have far less of a footprint than their physical counterparts. Sending an email with files attached, for instance, cuts out the need for not only a considerable amount of paper, but also for the fuel needed to transport it — besides being quicker and cheaper.

Use Your Electronic Equipment in a Greener Way

Most businesses today require a variety of electronic equipment such as computers. This takes up power, of course, but you can reduce this by looking at how you use your equipment.

For one thing, how energy efficient is your equipment? Older appliances may leave a lot to be desired in this respect, partly because older designs might be less efficient, and partly because efficiency declines as the appliance grows older.

You might want to look at whether you can reduce both your costs and your carbon footprint by replacing your equipment with more energy efficient models. And don’t just throw the old ones away. Many elements of electronic equipment can be recycled.

Use Your Phone Intelligently

Sometimes an email isn’t enough, and you need to speak directly to clients or prospects. A face-to-face meeting might seem like a great idea, but it can come with a high carbon price, as well as being time consuming, if you’re constantly driving all over the place for meetings.

Sometimes you do need to be face to face, although even then a video conference might do just as well. But, if you’re trying to speak to a whole list of prospects, there’s a simpler way — use your phone. Besides being quicker and easier, it’s an option with a very low environmental cost.

Feel free to get in touch with the Resource Centre if you need help with your telephone campaign — and doing a little to save the planet.


A Time for Giving — In Business Too?


Christmas is just around the corner — so what does it mean to you? To some it has a religious meaning, while to others it’s a time for having fun. Perhaps it’s a season to concentrate on your family, or else for service to those in need.

Most of us can agree, though, that Christmas is a time for giving and receiving presents. But giving doesn’t have to be restricted to Christmas — and that applies especially to your business.

Why Should We Give in Business?

So what’s giving got to do with business? After all, the ultimate aim of your business is to make money for yourself, isn’t it?

Of course it is, but the reality is that you don’t usually get far in business by being callous and selfish. More than ever today, people buy people. But also, people buy people they like, and the best way of getting people to like you is showing generosity.

The Easiest Way of Giving

Giving to the people you want to do business with doesn’t have to be expensive — or even cost anything at all. The simplest thing is to become an advocate for them, whether that’s mentioning them in the right circles or looking out for people you can refer them to.

But isn’t that time consuming? After all, time is money.

It doesn’t have to be. I’m not talking necessarily about spending an hour every day looking for people you can refer your contacts to. All you need to do is remain aware of the people you value and want to make a good impression on, so that you can mention or recommend them whenever the need or opportunity arises.

Going the Extra Mile

Another way of giving, which might cost a little in time, is going out of your way to give a better quality of service to your customers than they might expect. If you’re supplying goods, get them to your valued customer earlier than they’d anticipate. If you’re offering a service, perhaps you could add some little extra for free.

Giving a bit extra to your customers or contacts, whether it’s spreading the word, referring or going the extra mile, is not just an abstract “good karma” — like karma, it’s likely to return to you. People who know you’re willing to give (even when it’s not to them) will be more likely to turn to you.

Strange as it seems, being kind can be part of your marketing strategy, as well as doing the right thing. You’re welcome to get in touch with the Resource Centre for more ideas — and, meanwhile, have a wonderful Christmas and a successful New Year.