The inside of your office may look great, but don't stop there. What about the outside? If the first impression a potential customer has of your business is a shabby door or an unkempt parking lot, you're not sending the right message...and all your hard work in designing an attractive, efficient office could be going to waste.

Step outside your place of business and take a long, hard look at the parking lot, sidewalks, windows, outside lighting, landscaping and the outside of the building itself. A well-maintained building projects an industrious, professional image. Weeds, trash, broken sidewalks, tattered awnings, dirty windows, dead plants and overflowing trash containers send the message: "We don't care."

Excerpted from Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Guide You'll Ever Need