Before your business looks good to the outside world, it should look good to the inside world of your company.

I see too many companies try desperately to impress customers, investors and partners with beautiful marketing material, boasting values such as professionalism, service, quality and excellence, but on the inside these values are not evident. Carpets are dirty, paint fall from the walls, furniture is warn, ceilings are stained, gates are rusted.

A company’s true values shine through its corridors. You quickly get a sense of the place by taking a walk from reception to the toilet.

The first people who should be impressed with your business are those who spend most of their time inside it: your employees. It is they who must understand how high you set the bar and what the values are.

In short, they must understand the essence of the company brand. What this place is about…

The internal branding of your business is even more important than the external branding.

It is easy to neglect your office space. Maybe you operate from an industrial area where looking good is unnecessary. Employees should just be thankful for having jobs, never mind how the building looks. Customers hardly ever visit. Spending money on maintaining the interior is a non-essential. We are a small business…

This is the mindset of the “good enough” crowd. As long as the product is good enough; our service is good enough; profits are good enough; our work environment is good enough…

The problem is that being good enough will almost always fizzle out. Somewhere, someone is going to set the bar higher and beat you down.

It is not about being luxurious or expensive and over the top.
It is about showing you care by maintaining what you’ve got.
It is about sweating the small stuff and showing that “everything around here matters”…

Your company’s culture sets the pace for your business. The culture is formed in the inner hallways, behind closed doors, in how people talk to each other, how the phones get answered, how much paper is wasted at the printer and small stuff, like the paint job on the walls.

Next time you go to the office, take the front entrance, go sit in reception for a few moments, look around the place, take a slow walk to the toilet and then ask yourself: are we good enough, or better?


Image source: Flickr