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Personal Appearance

The best face to put on your business is your own.

This story appears in the April 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In recent years, some well-known entrepreneurs have wisely slid out from behind their desks to talk to their prospects one-to-one in their advertising. As a result, Dave Thomas, the owner of Wendy's fast-food restaurants, is now synonymous with his prosperous company. Another Dave, David Oreck, has made himself the ubiquitous spokesperson for the Oreck vacuum cleaner. And then there are all the fender-thumping car dealers we see mugging in their own TV spots. The point is, when business owners stand out in front of their businesses and enthusiastically peddle their products themselves, potential customers take special notice. And, more important, they buy.

That's my message to Jim Troth, owner of Smell the Mat, a self-defense training company in Toledo, Ohio. Troth recently wrote for advice concerning how to pep up interest in his company's brochure. My answer? Step out in front and speak directly to your prospects. To do that in Smell the Mat's case, I suggest redesigning the cover of the brochure to feature a photo of Troth and a quote headline that's spiced with some attitude: "Once I've trained you . . .

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