Dress for Success as a SMB Consultant! [SMB Consulting Best Practices book excerpt]

Good morning everyone – part of being a successful SMB technology consultant is dressing for success! So I offer up this conversation about your need to look the part. This is a virtual book reading from my SMB Consulting Best Practices book.

Dress for success

I’m guilty as charged. Early on in my technology training career in the mid-1980s, when I worked as a computer accounting instructor at a local

vocational technical college, I mocked the mandatory “dress for success” course that students attended. I apologize for that and must seek to make amends. But while I’m troubled by that bad personal behavior, let me highlight a few dress code topics. And remember that dress codes vary by region, so adjust my insights for your own particular situation.

REI style

In the Pacific Northwest, there is the Eddie Bauer style of dress (also know as REI style). It’s the flannel shirt and khaki pants as seen in Figure 5-11.

Figure 5-11:

Business people in the Pacific Northwest dress more casually.


So if you worked on Microsoft’s Redmond campus or served SMB customers nearby, you’d be well-dressed if you sported the duds shown in the figure above. It’s a casual culture thing!

Brooks Brothers style

Granted, what works in one market doesn’t play well in others. Take Melbourne, Victoria, Australia for example. When I delivered an advanced SBS workshop in Melbourne in December 2002, my Pacific Northwest fashions turned heads all right, but the wrong way. Turns out Melbourne is much more conservative than I’m accustomed to. So if I wanted to be a

successful SMB consultant in Melbourne, I better pay a quick visit to the fine haberdashers at Brooks Brothers as seen in Figure 5-12.

Figure 5-12:

Perhaps the finest in fine dress is Brooks Brothers.


BEST PRACTICE: When in doubt, consider it a best practice in SMB consulting to be over dressed rather than under dressed. This is of course something your mother should have taught you but you might have forgotten. Better people respect your taste in style and not remember your dress because it was inappropriate!


Harry Brelsford, CEO at SMB Nation

MBA, MCSE, CNE, CLSE, CNP, MCP, MCT, SBSC (Microsoft Small Business Specialist)

PS – my Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) book is now here! J

PPS – my spring show, SMB Nation Spring 2009, is in the NYC-area on May 1-3, 2009.


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