I need to be honest about something. Before I decided to shave my head, a portion of my prework day (and even my routine when going out socially) was spent staring at the mirror. I would not say the time spent at the mirror had anything to do with vanity. It had everything to do with wondering what the heck my hair was doing. Rather than continue to fight a losing battle of hair loss and some minimal amount of hair “bad hair days,” shaving it off and keeping it off was, in the end, much better for me and much more freeing.
However, business owners or professionals in business should not get away from the mirror as a tool or as a symbol of being reflective. Half a dozen years ago, I wrote a column about mirrors as a symbol (and a real tool) in making a business better. While I still believe the mirror may be a very useful and versatile yet underutilized tool, I felt it may be time to revisit the mirror “concepts” and reflect on what they can do to help you move your business forward. Here is an updated column based on spending a little less time in front of the mirror.
From how it reflects the truth of your operation to the use of mirrors in design of your space, the mirror could be exactly what you need to succeed in business. Here are five ways to consider using the mirror as a business tool while you mine for success:
• Real-time business analysis: The mirror reflects what is really happening in your business. You can either catch a glimpse of yourself doing something good or maybe something not so good. This is a powerful tool and allows you to recognize potential problems and make adjustments or corrections to your business model quickly. Customers are aware of employee service flaws, demeanor, and even facial expressions during face-to-face interactions. These elements contribute to how your customers feel you treat them. To stay focused on the way you and you employees are performing, check the mirror when needed to see what your customers are seeing and experiencing.
• Personal appearance: One of the simplest ways to use the mirror is to see how you and your employees actually look. Is your appearance presentable, neat and appropriate for the type of work you are doing? If your employees have face to face public exchanges with customers, do you provide a mirror for them to check their appearance before they greet or interact with customers? Again, the mirror provides real time analysis on appearance. Make it easy for your employees to reflect on how they look to the customer. Remind employees to “smile” with a note or sticker stuck to the mirror. This is a great way to help employees better represent the business.
• Spend the right amount of time in front of the mirror: As I mentioned earlier, shaving my head gave me a feeling of more freedom and less time thinking about my “look.” Even though I became comfortable with what my hair was becoming, I did not consider the time I would save in making the decision. I do not expect any of you to do the same. What I do hope is you read this and figure out a way that works for you to get some minutes or hours back into your week. This time can be spent on things more important to you.
• Business appearance: Mirrors can make a smaller space look bigger. While I am not an expert in design, having your business look its very best is key to your success. With mirrors, cramped spaces can and do seem less cramped. Also, if customers are facing a wall when seated at a table, the ability for them to peer into a mirror to see what is happening behind them is better than having them stare only at the wall. You may be limited with space options, however get creative and discover ways to add more mirrors to your current location. This will result in the appearance of more depth and space in your place.
• Security: Mirrors have long been used to assist in providing both safety and security in the world of business. Convex mirrors placed strategically throughout a retail space can help you see areas that normally would be difficult to monitor. Many camera systems utilize mirrors to enable more coverage range. These measures can help protect both your employees and business from harm or loss.
If you embrace the power of the mirror, it may just be what your business needs to see a clear and prosperous future.