Many years ago I worked for a very high growth technology business and we were always in need of funding because we were growing so fast.
One of my English colleagues, Jonathan, took over from me as Finance Director for the Americas region whilst I went out to Hong Kong to set up Asia Pacific.
He decided to fulfil his dream by getting a Porsche, but the only car available was pink. He bought it anyway and was the subject of much hilarity in the office as a result.
The time came when we needed extra working capital so Jonathan and Mike, our treasury director, went to the bank in Silicon Valley to try and arrange this.
The bank manager looked out of the window, saw the car, and told them he would not be lending money to any business where the Finance Director drove a pink Porsche!
I am sure that was a tongue in cheek comment, but there’s a valid point here. Perception counts and what your customers, suppliers and your team perceive is all that matters.
So when you look at your business try to see it as a stranger would see it. What message does the tired reception area send, what message do the weeds in the carpark give?
If you review your website, and the last update was 9 months ago, what message are you sending?
If your team see you having a bad day and grumbling about something, what message do they get – and what message do they pass on to the customer?
Imagine for a moment that you wanted to perpetrate a fraud. How far would you go to project the best possible image so that your target would part with their money? You would not leave anything to chance.
In business, we overlook the perception because we think the reality will counter it – we think that reality counts, but that’s not true. Perception counts.