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Personal Appearance

The best face to put on your business is your own.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the April 2001 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine. 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 . . .

any attacker will realize he picked the wrong guy to mess with." The headline is a little bit long, but prospective customers will be able to read it just fine if it's broken up well by a designer. Inside the brochure, Troth should continue with the first-person salesmanship. But the big idea here is for this third-degree black belt to talk to his prospects mano a mano.


The brochure cover gets your attention, but it needs to convey more professionalism and impact.

The illustration here is definitely a "grabber," but it's too much of a caricature to be taken as seriously as it should be.


This first-person approach, expressed in "macho-ese," commands prospects to take notice.

The photo puts a rugged face on the quote, further enhancing the instructor's message that he's the guy to train with.

This cover grabs you by the lapels and demands that you pay attention to the message.

Jerry Fisher is a freelance advertising copywriter and author of Creating Successful Small Business Advertising (available at

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