Ask an Expert: You've got to impress clients from the get-go

Advertising:Maybe even before your signs, people may first make an impression about your business from your ads. Therefore, yours better reinforce your desired brand or people will get the wrong impression, and that's exactly what we are trying to avoid.

As Malcolm Gladwell says about his book Blink, "When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions. Well, Blink is a book about those two seconds."

What will people conclude about your business in those two seconds?

Today's tip: If you are considering buying a franchise, then you need to check out the brand new AllStar Franchises List, which ranks the top 300 franchises for 2009. The list is the Web's first interactive franchise ranking; you can analyze various factors that matter most to you (growth rank, longevity, etc.) and thereby create your own personal ranking. You can find it here.

Ask an Expert appears Mondays. You can e-mail Steve Strauss at: you can click here to see previous columns. Steven D. Strauss is a lawyer, author and speaker who specializes in small business and entrepreneurship. His latest book is The Small Business Bible. You can sign up for his free newsletter, "Small Business Success Secrets!" at his website —

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