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The Inside and the Outside

(August 2011) posted on Thu Jul 28, 2011

Cleaning up the physical appearance of your work environment.

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By Marty McGhie

As we manage our companies, most of us spend a lot of time striving for perfection in different areas of our businesses. We might be fine-tuning production processes, improving our workflow, or perhaps building a more effective sales and marketing structure. But we often neglect the actual physical appearance of our work environment.

To be clear, developing the look of a “perfect” shop – or, more realistically, making the shop look its best – is a process that can take an extensive period of time, perhaps the entire life cycle of your business. But the effort you put into the process can reap great rewards, not only in appearance and aesthetics but in your marketing and sales endeavors, in safety, and in making for a more quality workplace.

Exterior efforts
Let’s begin by examining the physical appearance of your business from the outside looking in. The way your business looks to someone driving up to your building can actually say a lot about you as a company, and it’s likely the first impression they’ll have of your business.

So who might you be trying to impress? At the top of the list are your customers, current and future. But the look of your outside premises should also provide a positive image to other visitors, including suppliers, potential employees, bankers, lawyers, accountants, as well as a number of other people with which you have business relationships.

What can you do to your building to ensure you’re providing a favorable impression? Start with some of the basic yet often neglected areas such as making sure your windows and the outside of your building are clean. But you can take quite a few other steps, too, including:

• Provide some nice landscaping, even if that might be something as minor as planting a few flowers at your entrance. Make sure the grass is cut and watered, and regularly weed the grounds.
• Pick up the trash on the grounds every day – you can make that someone’s first job of the day as they arrive.
• Make sure the exterior lighting is adequate for the look of your building, as well as for the safety of your employees and others.
• Paint is relatively cheap and painting is a nice task if you have a light production schedule on a nice fall day.