What Your Car Says About You
First impressions are everything, especially if you are an entrepreneur. The difference between landing a deal or not can come down to something as simple as an awkward handshake or a misremembered name. Successful entrepreneurs take how they present themselves seriously, from head to toe and beyond. One aspect of your appearance that may have not crossed your mind is the car you drive. While you don’t need some advanced piece of German engineering, a well kempt car can be a key part of your appearance.
Let’s start with some science. As much as we might like to claim that we never judge a book by its cover, it is an inescapable part of our human nature. When presented with new situations, objects, or people, our brain immediately begins making value judgements. If you put a cat and a dog in front of someone, they will immediately be able to tell the difference because our brain categorizes and remembers the individual features dogs and cats have. Our brain does this so we can recall those features at a later time. Let’s extend that idea out to people. Remember college? Remember your stoner roommate who couldn’t be bothered to fold his clothes or clean out his car? Now when you see someone with rumpled clothes, an unwashed car, or vague and peculiar smells arising from deep within them, your brain automatically begins making connections to your former roommate. The person could be completely fine. He could have the most brilliant billion-dollar idea, and the work ethic to back it up, but when you meet him for the first time your brain will automatically begin firing off words like slacker, messy, unorganized, and in that amount of time an opportunity can be lost. OK, so then I do need the nice shiny car, complete with some matching business suits and a diamond cuff link, you may be asking? While honestly those items might not hurt, that is not exactly correct.
Picking A Car That Suits You
What you need is a car that you feel gives the best representation of you, at the price point you can afford. If you’re running a construction business, driving a Prius probably isn’t going to cut it. By that same token if you are the CEO of an indie tech startup, having a Ford F-350 might seem a little out of place. In either scenario, you are going to have to reckon with the perceptions that each of those cars carry.Obviously sometimes we can’t afford a brand new car. That shouldn’t stop you from keeping the car you have in top shape though. Regular maintenance, like oil changes every 15,000 to 30,000 miles, will keep your car running smoothly long after the purchase date. Keeping your car clean, inside and out, will also show that you take your appearances seriously, that you are an organized and professional person, who will show at least as much care to your potential clients as you do to your ride.
Overall you want to present yourself in a positive and professional manner. That is going to backfire on you if you show up in a rusty old tin can of a car with half the bumper hanging off. Now if you show up in that same car, but with a fresh coat of paint, and a securely attached bumper, you’re not just making a statement about your professional demeanor, you’ll be retro too, and those are some serious brownie points in this day and age.