Relationships with customers and potential partners can be made and broken before you even shake hands. A lot depends on how you present yourself.
You might think that a business dress would be the obvious way to make the best first impression. That’s a logical assumption, given the accepted customs of interviews. However, in franchising fashion, a business dress might not always be the perfect look.
First impressions matter
You only get one chance at a first impression. Whether you’re meeting a client or a franchisor, the way you present yourself makes up 60% of things that factor into their decision to choose to pursue a relationship with you. It goes without saying that you need to dress to impress for such meetings.
However, it can be tricky to figure out what “impressing” means. As we’ve pointed out above, business attire might sound like a classic answer to that question, but in terms of franchising fashion, it isn’t always suitable.
When should you go for business rather than casual?
Whatever situation you find yourself in as a franchisee, you should always keep in mind that you’re representing your business. Your attire becomes part of the brand the moment you enter the room. It is up to you to broadcast the message of a franchise you’re representing to the other person. For example, if you’re part of a business services franchise like Leadership Management or Brokerplan, your clients would expect business attire, or at least business casual.
Franchises like Brokerplan have clients who are businessmen serious about their finance, so it is part of a franchisee’s job to present themselves accordingly. Co-head of Bank of America’s global equity capital confirms that “flashy images and dynamic outfits” would be quite out of place within the finance industry.
‘Business attire would also be preferable to casual if you represent the service industry or you’re in retail’, says image consultant Amy Elizabeth Casson. However, practicality is a priority in these industries, unlike business and finance, where looking smart is of more importance than staying practical. For example, if you’re a franchisee of Jasper’s Catering, people would expect your members of staff to have neat, practical uniforms that allow you to look smart and be mobile at the same time.
When is casual preferable to business?
On the other hand, some of our franchisors have a different, more laissez-faire approach towards fashion. For example, the Make Believe franchise is a theatre company that works with young performance arts enthusiasts. As a business owner, you wouldn’t expect the teachers and instructors to manage the stage and instruct dressed in a suit. On the contrary – you would want them to wear something that would enable mobility and at the same time, reflect the artistic, fun nature of the business.
It would be logical, therefore, that a franchisee dress similarly at various events. Self-expression is, however, quite important in the theatre industry. Make Believe franchisees have opportunities to demonstrate their personal style in their franchising fashion.
If your franchise has ties to the young digital technology industry, you have even fewer occasions to wear business dress. For example, being involved in Eazi-Apps franchise would mean being part of a young, dynamic team and opportunities to attend networking events where you could constantly learn about the industry’s innovations. These events tend to be informal, so casual wear would work better than business dress for them.
Is there a perfect solution?
As you can see from the article, there is no perfect “one size fits all” formula for all situations. The solution to the business vs casual dress debacle truly depends on the business and the occasion. However, there is one common rule for franchising fashion we recommend that you follow – no matter where you’re going or whom you’re meeting, make sure your clothes are clean and neat.
Interested in finding a franchise that suits you? Why not browse the UK’s most extensive list of franchising opportunities here.