From the top · 4 July 2018

Developing a first impression strategy to win over any audience as an entrepreneur

first impressions
Everyone in business has a specific set of values they hold dear
For the second instalment in ImpraGas founder Joseph Valente’s three-part series, the 2015 Apprentice winner explains how entrepreneurs can achieve the perfect first impression on any kind of audience.

you’ve heard how important it is to make a good first impression. But what does that mean, exactly? How do you define good And do you think it’s different than the way I define good Or the way your dream client defines good

You can make overall good first impressions with most of the people you meet on a daily basis, but what’s going to make the biggest difference in your business is the number of great impressions you make on the people you dream of working with.

Everyone in business has a specific set of values they hold dearand that they use to judge other potential relationships, both professionally and personally.

When they identify other people who share those values, their minds open up to what’s possible, and they want to listen and learn more. When they can clearly see that someone has a different set of values than they do, that person just doesnt make the cut.

With that in mind, it only makes sense that you would want to examine the value system of your ideal client, verify that it aligns with your own, and then work to make a first impression that demonstrates those values and gives that person a clear picture of what it would be like to work with you.

That’s the first thing you can do to make a great impression.

The next is to consider all the different types and levels of relationships you plan to have in your business dealings.

You might make one sale to a customer, but have a 30-year business relationship with a partner in a joint venture. You might make one purchase from a supplier, but serve a customer for a lifetime.

The depth of the relationships you plan to have should have an effect on the types of first impressions you make, and the way you tailor each one should speak to the level of relationship you’re hoping for. The more words you use that align with the potential customer or affiliate’s wishes, the more theyll believe you’re the perfect match for them, and the better the impression will be.

So how can you make all this happen when most of your first-impression opportunities are unexpected? you’ve got to develop a First Impression Strategy that becomes an integral part of your daily business plan. You will scrutinise everyone you meet, determining within seconds: A) if they’re a good match for your business, B) what type of relationship they qualify for and C) what types of words and actions will make a great impression on them.

Tim Campbell

A motivational pep talk from The Apprentice winner Tim Campbell

Business Advice sat down with the former partner of Alan Sugar to find out the secrets to staying motivated as a small business owner and why it’s time to re-evaluate the notion of entrepreneurship.


Of course, your corporate values won’t change. You can, however, tailor the ways in which you express those corporate values to help your dream clients and others come to their own (positive) conclusions about you.



Joseph Valente founded ImpraGas when he was just 22 years old. His book, Expelled from the Classroom to Billionaire Boardroom, became an instant bestseller with his first-hand recount of being expelled from school at 15, becoming a plumbing apprentice, launching ImpraGas, winning TV show "The Apprentice" and gaining Lord Sugar as his business partner. Valente took back full control of his business in 2017 and has since tripled the company's turnover.

Business Advice