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All First Impressions Count

by Howard Mann
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We know the power of first impressions so why are so many still so bad?

The always great 37Signals Blog points to an interview with John Gruber. In it, Mr. Gruber mentions the importance that Apple’s Steve Jobs places on the first start up experience a user has with their operating system.

The always great 37Signals Blog points to an interview with John Gruber. In it, Mr. Gruber mentions the importance that Apple’s Steve Jobs places on the first start up experience a user has with their operating system.

While the entire interview is a must-read, this struck me in particular: your first-run experience: the experience you encounter the first time you boot the machine after taking it out of the box – therefore constitutes about one – thousandth of your entire experience with the machine. I think that’s the sort of logic that has driven most companies not to put that much effort into designing the first-run UI – it’s only going to happen once, and if it isn’t smooth, so what? Whereas I think Jobs looks at the first-run experience and thinks, it may only be one – thousandth of a user’s overall experience with the machine, but it’s the most important one-thousandth, because it’s the first one-thousandth, and it sets their expectations and initial impression.

Exactly! It is also exactly true for:

  • The way your company answers the phone (If they actually answer it)
  • The way your invoices look
  • The quality of your business card
  • The way you (and your team) dress when visiting a client or prospect
  • The first impression of your web site
  • Your office reception area
  • The presentation of your proposal
  • Etc, etc, etc….

Like it or not, fair or not, correct or not… All first impressions matter. You make them about everything and so do your clients and prospects. target=”_blank”Malcolm Gladwell sold boatloads of books trying to convince you of it.

Simple? Obvious? If so, why do so many first impressions remain extraordinarily poor.

post authorHoward Mann

Howard Mann, Howard Mann is the founder of Brickyard Partners, a business strategy agency based in Portland, OR. Prior to founding Brickyard Partners in 2001, Mann owned a premier international logistics company with over 140 Million in revenue, six U.S. offices and a global network of over 40 agents worldwide. As that business came under severe pressure from the previous economic downturn and industry consolidation, Howard lead the company out from those treacherous times by returning to the basics that make every business great and completing 6 acquisitions that re-imagined the business so it was highly attractive to buyers. Finding that “secret sauce” did not come easily but has fueled his purpose to help other business leaders to never have to go through what he endured. 

Through real world experience and those hard times in the “trenches” of business he has learned that it is not following the latest fad, copying competitors or adding complexity that makes a business truly great. His pragmatic approach and knowing what it feels like to sit in the CEO/Owner chair is what makes his work so different and effective. In addition to his strategy, marketing and communications work, Mann coaches a select group of entrepreneurs, CEO's and business owners. His highly focused workshops and keynotes help executive teams take aggressive action to unlock the true potential of their organizations and build remarkable businesses that endure. In good times and bad. Online and off. Howard is a sought after speaker both in the U.S. and around the world. He writes frequently on his blog about the importance of the basics and reconnecting to the passion that too often gets lost as businesses mature.

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