Perception is Reality
The way you present yourself to clients, and your employees or contractors, is reality in their eyes. I read a story in Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey about a successful business owner whose business profited over a million dollars a year. He had always dreamed of being a professional golfer. He began taking 3 to 4 days off a week to play golf, and the next year his profits dropped 70%!
It wasn’t his being out of the office that hurt his business – it was the perception by his employees that he didn’t care anymore. Since he didn’t care, they didn’t either. They “checked out” too, and while they may have been physicially in the office not off playing golf, they certainly weren’t working their hardest.
I don’t typically spend a lot of time worrying what my clients or employees think of me, but this story caught my attention and made me realize that in certain circumstances perception can really make a difference. Imagine driving up to a client meeting in an old beat-up car, what do you imagine the client would think about your capabilities? Now imagine driving up in a $100,000 luxury car, might they think you are overcharging?
You shouldn’t worry excessively about what everyone thinks, but consider what your actions say to your clients and employees about your work ethic and your dedication to your business. Because if you want dedicated employees, for instance, they need to feel that the owner is just as (if not more) dedicated.