As this COVID-19 situation drags on, are you staying in contact with your customers?

The thumbnail version:

  • As COVID-19 and the counter-measures surge back and forth, it’s confusing
  • Staying in touch with your customers through this situation is vital

The full version:

This topic is so important that it’s worth revisiting.

As this virus situation surges back and forth and governments update or change the counter-measures, it can be confusing.  Some, but not enough businesses are clarifying the uncertainty and confusion as it affects their business with their customers.

Are you open for business? Are you shut completely? If so, for how long? Are you operating but on a limited scale? Customers have questions in this rapidly-changing situation and you should do what you can to keep them informed.

Tell them what you’re doing or not doing, and update your information daily. This is where your social media platforms, email, blog, and even the telephone, can be useful tools at this time. Use them.

When all this is over, don’t you want your customers to remember that during a time of confusion and uncertainty, you cared enough to keep them informed?

It’s just smart business.

What does it require?

Thumbnail version:

  • What goes into building a success story?
  • It starts with a vision and proceeds with certain principles

Full version:

It starts with a well-thought out vision.

So what does it require to take a sign shop from a kitchen-table operation to a 33,000 square foot facility? It takes a vision and a willingness to realize that vision.

In an interview with SignMedia Canada the following question was asked: “What makes your company unique?”

The answer . . . “The ability to adapt to changing trends, technology, and market shifts allows our company to be more than just a vendor to our clients. It enables us to be strategic partners where information is moved back and forth to make sure we provide maximum value and service.”

The rest of the discussion addresses topics such as quality and service, which have to of course be part of the operating principles if a business is to succeed.

The company is Sticky Media of Montreal. Check them out. Read the full interview. Be inspired.

Dye sublimation as an additional option

The thumbprint version:

  • Sign shops are diversifying their production
  • Dye sublimation is gaining in popularity

The full version:

Do I or do I not add dye sublimation?

When various contributors to industry magazines discuss diversifying a shop’s offering, dye sublimation comes up repeatedly. Some shops are apparently seeing dye sublimation as a vital component of their production in the future.

Dye sublimation’s attraction lies in the light fabrics that can be used and the vibrant colours the process produces. Apparently customers find this combination very appealing. Add stretch and backlit possibilities and it’s not hard to see why dye sublimation has a growing fan base.

The only limiting factor seems to be size of print but the industry is expected to solve that challenge in the near future.

If you like to keep your shop on the cutting edge, dye sublimation sounds like something you should be investigating.

What does it take to be “Sign Company of the Year”?

The thumbnail version:

  • The Sign Company of the Year for 2020 has been announced
  • It takes certain qualities to win this

The full version:

The recent BOSCIes awards included one for “Sign Company of the Year”.

So what does it take to qualify for this award? How were Access Signs of Longueil, Quebec, described in the announcement?

“Aside from concentrating on revenue, Access Signs has made a direct effort to ensure it is engaged and involved in the industry through its director of business development, and by encouraging industry initiatives. The company is actively involved in provincial and national sign associations and is also a member of the local chamber of commerce, as well as donating signage to various food banks and charities. The shop offers each employee full training when onboarding them by matching them with a senior employee. Weekly lunches and learning sessions on Fridays help expand the staff’s product knowledge.”

So, there you have it. Any ideas you can use?

Employee compensation vs recognition

The thumbnail version:

  • Recognizing an effort beyond the call of duty is smart business
  • There are many, many ways of recognizing employees

The full version:

A recognized employee is a happy employee.

Bob Nelson in his book, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, writes: “Compensation is what you give people for doing the job they were hired to do. Recognition, on the other hand, celebrates an effort beyond the call of duty.”

So what are examples of recognition? Well, he lists 69 items but, to be frank, some of them are too silly to mention and some of them are dated. For instance, I’m not sure any of your employees would appreciate a “tape deck for their car.” Some are not at all realistic for the average Canadian digital and graphics shop such as “an overseas training trip.” But here are some that any shop could manage:

  • Paid day off.
  • Magazine subscription
  • Birthday card and cake
  • Tickets to an event
  • Recognition lunch
  • Post about the employee on social media
  • Round of golf
  • Home computer
  • Gift certificate
  • Finally, a long list of other things you could dream up if you tried.

Recognizing employees who perform beyond the call of duty, is smart business.

Floor graphics can’t be slippery!

The thumbnail version:

  • The demand for COVID-19 floor graphics will be here for some time yet
  • The substrates for floor graphics haver to be carefully selected

The full version:

The demand for floor graphics is probably going to persist for a while yet as COVID-19 shows no signs of abating. This isn’t news, we’ve been addressing the topic in posts for some time.

It must be specially designed non-slip material.

But recently an article (can’t remember where) addressed the topic of substrates suitable for floor graphics. The point being made was that if the floor graphic were printed on the wrong substrate it might solve one issue but cause another, in the form of a slip and fall with serious consequences.

The writer urged printers to be very careful in their selection of substrates for floor graphics. This might seem obvious to some old hands at producing floor graphics but right now there are a lot of shops meeting the demand for floor graphics that have never printed them before. They in particular need to be aware that the substrate has to be specifically designed for non-slip qualities.

Not only is it common sense to use the right substrate but failing to do so could lead to negligence suits should someone slip and be injured.

Décor printing

The thumbnail version:

  • Customized décor prints are trending
  • Some research could get a graphics shop into this market

The full version:

Judging by a number of recent articles there seems to be a trend in businesses and individuals looking for ways to create unique customized décor for the spaces they occupy.

Interior decorators would make good contacts.

This presents an opportunity for large format digital printers to provide customized short runs. While wall coverings may be beyond the scope of most smaller digital and graphic shops in Canada, textile prints to be used as cushion covers, fine art printed on canvas, wall decals, blinds and a host of other items, are not.

Hooking up with a few interior decorators as well as some market research into this potential opportunity could be worth your while.

Industry associations

The thumbnail version:

  • No sign shop is an island
  • Join an industry association

The full version:

The BOCSIes awards results are always a good reminder to encourage sign shops to join an industry association, in this case the Sign Association of Canada.

No shop should try to exist as an island.

If your shop is not  a member of an industry association you run the risk of being out of touch with developments in the industry. And aside from keeping in touch and being inspired by developments as and when they occur in today’s rapidly-changing environment, there are also of course all kinds of facilities to be enjoyed and contacts to be made.

Just one such facility is the Sign Media Job Board where employers looking to fill a vacancy or employees looking for a job can meet.

Just as John Donne made the point in his 1624 poem that no man is an island but part of a greater society with which he needs to interact in order to thrive, so it can be said that no sign shop is an island but part of an industry with which it needs to interact in order to thrive.

Join an association.

 

Inspiration from the winners of the BOCSIes 2020 awards

The thumbnail version:

  • The BOCSIes awards winners have been announced
  • Check them out and be inspired

The full version:

The winners of the 2020 Best of Canada’s Sign Industry awards (BOCSIes) have been announced.

The merit of entries were judged in five aspects: originality; creativity; materials; appearance; and design sustainability. There were thirteen categories of signs covering every aspect of the sign industry in Canada.

Every year we encourage sign shops to consider entering this competition. It’s the kind of thing that can set standards for the shop and boost morale. Then there is also the benefit of exposure which could lead to new business.

So, check out the winning entries in the November issue of Signmedia magazine and be inspired.

Are you your customers’ bank?

The thumbnail version:

  • Cash flow is a problem in these COVID-19 time
  • Some of your customers could be at risk of failure
  • Bad debts can kill your business
  • A cash-only policy could save your shop

The full version:

COVID-19 has had an impact on the way business is done. For instance, cash flow is a problem for many businesses, your customers included. Some established businesses have failed because they haven’t been able to collect the receivables on their books when the pandemic struck.

No credit. No receivables. No bad debts.

I once spoke to a shop owner who built his business on a cash-only basis; no credit, no receivables. Of course this disqualified him with some customers who required credit but his argument was that building a bigger business with a big receivables list is kidding yourself and and incurring unnecessary stress and risk; COVID-19 has proved his point.

No credit. No receivables. No bad debt.

if you want to reduce your exposure to risk by not serving as your customers’ bank, you could start with a notice that: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we require full payment upfront with all orders.” Then list the various ways you accept payment. Some customers may object and you’ll have to do some persuading. But if your survival is at risk . . .

Roland at virtual Printing United Digital Experience

The thumbnail version:

  • Printing United is virtual this year
  • Roland will be there

The full version:

Roland will be showcasing its advanced imaging technologies for eco-solvent and direct-to-garment applications. The event runs from the 26th of October to the 12th of November.

Online registration for this event is at https://www.printingunited.com

In-person shows are of course better inasmuch as you can touch, feel, hear, prod, and smell equipment and materials but, given the COVID-19 situation this year, this event is the next best thing.

Staying up to date and ahead of the competition requires that you register now.

Direct to garment printer from Roland

The thumbnail version:

  • Roland has the BT-12 direct-to-garment desk-top printer.
  • It’s suited to limited-quantity prints for, say, promotional purposes.

The full version:

The Roland BT-12 direct-to-garment desk-top printer.

Roland is telling the story about how an employment services company in Oregon acquired a Roland BT-12 direct-to-garment printer as part of their promotion program.

Shortly after COVID hit, they decided to print Tees, sweats and masks with their logos. They also printed clients’ logos on those items and gave them away as a promotion. Apparently it was well received.

If your sign shop is looking for a promotional idea or even a way to get into textile prints, you should talk to Stanley’s (Calgary 403 243 7722 and Edmonton 780 424 4141) about the Roland BT-12. Just understand though that while they’re fine for occasional limited-quantity prints for, say, promotional purposes, desk-top DTG printers are not high-volume production machines.

A lesson in pivoting

The thumbnail version:

  • This shop pivoted rather than close
  • It’s a lesson in consulting end-users

The full version:

The September edition of Sign Media Magazine had an interesting illustration of a successful pivot to meet changing circumstances. The lesson was buried near the end of an article about North Design Build, a sign shop in Hamilton.

Like most other shops, North Design Build was hit hard by the impact of COVID-19. Rather than close (as some did) they decided to pivot to making personal protection equipment, most specifically a face shield. This is where the pivoting lesson comes in.

The interviewer asked the owner, Kenneth Tschernow, about the challenges involved and how they overcame them. The answer is illuminating: “Developing a face shield that is comfortable and functional while conforming to the Government of Canada’s material recommendations was the real challenge. We overcame this by launching a feedback campaign, which encouraged all end-users to submit their comments, complaints, and recommendations. This data along with a few healthcare practitioners’ napkin sketches helped us further refine our design, making it a true one-size-fits-all, useful, and practical product.”

The rest of the article is well worth a read but the excerpt above gives some insight into what you have to do when pivoting into something in which you have little experience—consult the end user.

 

Two second waves—one because of the other

The thumbnail version:

  • A second wave of COVID-19 has started
  • Floor signs are showing signs of wear and tear
  • Time to take advantage of an opportunity

The full version:

It seems that the much-feared second wave of COVID-19 is becoming a reality. This means that masks, hand-washing, disinfecting, and social distancing will be with us for some time yet.

Something else that will be with us for some time yet because of this are COVID-19 floor signs that tell us where to stand and which direction to walk. The wear and tear on many of the floor signs that came with the first COVID wave, suggest that a second wave of signs is becoming due.

If you missed out on the floor sign and decal wave the first time, why not see if you can get in on the second wave?

A tour of businesses and institutions with heavy foot traffic might be a good place to start. If you see worn, damaged, or peeling signs you might get lucky with a cold sales call. Your chances are even better if you can show that the first round of signs were deficient either as to design, material, printing, or application.

In this market sign shops will do better by going out and finding work rather than sitting around waiting for it.

 

Stay employed in a shop or start your own?

The thumbnail version:

  • Employment or business ownership?
  • Go forth with a plan and eyes wide open

The full version:

Thanks to COVID-19 and the ripple effect it has had on most aspects of our lives, we’re living in strange times. Your job in a sign shop has probably been affected in one way or another to the extent that you’re wondering if you might be better off controlling your own destiny.

You may be wondering if now is the time to do what you’ve maybe been thinking about for some time—open your own sign shop. If this is the case, just know that you’re thinking about more than opening your own sign shop; you’re thinking about becoming a business owner. There’s a difference.

Venture forth with eyes open, wits about you, and a plan.

You may know all you need to know about producing great signs. But what do you know about raising money, accounting, business planning, budgeting, hiring, firing, marketing, selling, leases, legal agreements, and a host of other non-technical issues that will confront you as a business owner?

I ask, not to scare you off, but to encourage you to explore business ownership thoroughly before leaping in at the deep end. Do a lot of something you probably don’t currently do much of—reading. Read (books, blogs, magazines), talk to business owners, and don’t venture out alone without one or more of a mentor, a lawyer, an accountant, and a financial planner to consult when your understanding, experience, or knowledge is deficient.

The dreams of business ownership tend to be all fun and games. The reality, not so much. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t own your own business, it just means that you must venture forth into business as you would into a jungle, with your eyes open, your wits about you, and with a plan.

 

Great technology, terrible signs!

The thumbnail version:

  • Sign-printing technology nowadays is amazing
  • Poorly designed signs are still being produced
  • Printing poor signs with great technology is a waste

The full version:

Sign-printing technology has come a long way. Today we have the technology to churn out excellent signs. But has sign design kept up with the advances in printing technology? Not so much.

You shouldn’t have to squint to read a sign!

For example, Nova Scotia’s province-wide municipal elections are coming up in a week or two and there are candidate signs everywhere. And some of them are so poorly designed that one has to wonder whether printers are even trying to offer design advice. Surely design advice is part of the printing service?

What many of these sign designers don’t seem to realize is that in rural Nova Scotia in particular (which is most of the province), people are not going to stand and examine the signs. They have to be read from passing cars at speed. So a sign with poor colour choices and cluttered and small lettering are essentially totally useless, and hence a waste of money.

Great sign-printing technology counts for nothing if it’s wasted on churning out poorly designed graphics.

Word of mouth marketing is powerful—but it can backfire too!

The thumbnail version:

  • Word of mouth is an effective marketing tool
  • But your customer service must be top notch
  • A lapse in customer service can see word of mouth work against you

Full version:

Word of mouth is an effective and inexpensive business builder so you want customers to tell other people about your great customer service. In fact word, encouraging word of mouth should be a key element of your marketing strategy. If more businesses spent some of the time they waste on social media obsessively looking for “exposure” and instead focused on promoting word of mouth recommendations, they’d see better returns.

However, word of mouth can be a two-edged sword. It can work against your business too if a customer’s experience is less than great. Remember, unhappy customers are just as capable of talking as happy ones.

So, here’s a reminder of a list of qualities needed for providing great customer service. How does your shop measure up?:

  • Top notch communication skills
  • Good listening skills
  • A willingness to take ownership of customer problems
  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Good, polite manners
  • Product knowledge
  • Adaptability and creativity

Customers talk. The question is, what are they going to say about your shop? You don’t want word of mouth marketing to backfire on you!

Your shop’s logo

The thumbnail version:

  • Logos are important for small businesses to confer professionalism and legitimacy
  • Small business logo priorities and big business logo priorities are different

The full version:

Some business writers and consultants tell small businesses that “a great logo is essential” because it will “trigger brand recognition.” What’s happening here is that they’re failing to make a distinction between big business and small business—the needs are completely different.

Here’s a word logo that does the job. It tells you the name of the business and what it has for you.

For most small businesses the need for a “great” logo has nothing to do with “brand recognition.” Let’s not kid ourselves that the buying public will ever recognize our logos the way they do for, say, Nike, Coke, McDonalds, and Mercedes. For us, the benefit of a “great” logo is that it confers an air of legitimacy, speaks to our professionalism, and gives the appearance of a serious contender.

So what should our prime considerations be when designing a logo for our small business? As hinted above, a good, clean, professional design and, preferably, also tell what our business does. This is why I favour word logos instead of obscure graphic designs that say nothing (remember, something like the Nike swoosh will be meaningless for your small business).

A logo has an important job to do promoting your shop as professional and legitimate. “Brand recognition” in the Nike sense is not a priority. Design with this in mind.

A message from Roland that you may have missed

The thumbnail version:

  • It’s a changing market and new opportunities abound
  • You have to look around outside your shop to see what’s going on

The full version:

Look outside your shop to see what’s going on.

In the 2nd September post I mentioned a changing trend in the industry that Roland had mentioned in an article on their website. Below is an excerpt from the same article that you may have missed. It’s good advice that should be heeded, so here it is . . .

. . . every shop and situation is different, and sign and graphics providers should be aware of what’s happening on a more local level—identifying the immediate customer needs in the locale that are not being met. The sign industry has a history of adapting to fit changing times and an essential new need for facemask products, outdoor signage, social distancing signs, and other previously niche products is an indication that graphics providers should be paying close  attention to what’s happening outside their shops. Now more then ever, bringing new ideas to your shop is important, as well as looking at what competitors are doing and talking to customers and colleagues to find new leads, ideas and revenue possibilities.

We’re in volatile times. But it’s not all doom and gloom. The sign industry in particular has new opportunities created by the virus. The question though is whether your shop is up for the challenge.

COVID-19 is here to stay?

The thumbnail version:

  • We have to adapt to a new normal
  • There is going to be no quick-fix to the pandemic and the current situation
  • This means that it’s time to re-think our business model

The full version:

For those of us who had been hoping for a return to something akin to “normal”, we’re now six months into this thing and the development of the pandemic remains dynamic and unpredictable. Maybe we have to adapt to a new “normal.”

This is what Samuel Earle, writing for the Guardian, suggested today:

Time to rethink the business model?

“We would do better to abandon the fantasies of a quick-fix entirely. This is not a race, not even a marathon: there’s no finish line to cross, no shorter route to take. As we brace ourselves for a second wave and a second lockdown, we need a more realistic appraisal of where we are and where we’re headed, a rough map to see us through the darkening winter days without taunting us with illusions that only end in disappointment. Our desire to put the pandemic behind us makes sense, but the virus and its unsettling associates — masks, social distancing rules, hand-sanitizer dispensers, quarantines, lockdowns — aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Our future plans must begin from this fact.”

Time to rethink the business model?

Beware of gambling money away on social media as a marketing tool.

The thumbnail version:

  • “Free” social media marketing is not free, it can be expensive
  • Cost/benefit is important to assess
  • Traditional branding and marketing may be a better option

The full version:

Don’t gamble away your branding and marketing efforts on low-return social media promotion.

I’ve just read yet another article in which the author recommends social media as an inexpensive way to brand and market a small business such as, for instance, a sign shop. It sounds so simple and, most importantly, the fact that it’s free seems to be the hook.

“Free” will appeal to any small business owner but what’s touted as “free”, is mostly not free. It just means that you don’t have to pay to post, but what about the valuable time you spend posting? Scroll down to the post of the 26th of August for more on this.

I’m all for a good website, a well-done blog, and a comprehensive e-mail list; I’ve seen plenty of evidence that these tools are essential for most businesses that care about appearing legitimate; the rest of social media is, however, a different kettle of fish.  To give you some insight into the time-cost/benefit aspect of promoting on social media check out these observations I’ve made over the past few months monitoring the posts by some of my 850+ connections on LinkedIn:

  • Seldom do the posts of non-famous names (i.e. if you’re not Bill Gates, Fortune Magazine, or an attractive 25-year-old blond doing videos) get more than a few views and even fewer “likes.” And by “few” I mean two or three.
  • These same posters just keep doing it over and over again for the same meagre response. Surely their time could be better spent on a more productive marketing strategy?
  • Most people on social media seem to be there to sell, not buy.

Now, admittedly, this not a controlled, scientifically-based survey, just my observations. And also, there may be some types of businesses for which social media posting could be worth the time and effort, but as far as I can see, not many.

So, don’t gamble with time and effort the way “social media experts” are trying to get you to do. Pause and give social media marketing careful cost/benefit consideration.

It may not be worth investing hours of time and effort in promoting your brand on social media; with the exception of a good website, a well-done blog, and an email list, more traditional branding and marketing options may still be more productive for your shop.

 

Floor graphics — some important considerations

The thumbnail version:

  • The floor graphics rush is on
  • There are important material issues to consider
  • Injury and a suit could result from unsuitable materials

The full version:

A law suit in the making!

Floor graphics are more in demand than ever, thanks to COVID-19. It’s all about safety of course but, and it’s an important “but”, they can’t just be about a safety message. They have to safe in and of themselves.

It would be a bit ironic if someone got injured slipping or tripping over a floor graphic with a safety message. So, the material and the adhesive are critically important. The first shouldn’t be prone to slipping and the second shouldn’t be prone to giving way so as to allow the decal to curl up and trip someone.

Therefore, in the scramble to participate in the growing floor decal market, be careful about your material selection. And make sure that any local bylaws and health and safety regulations are met.

Digital and graphics printers diversifying

The thumbnail version:

  • One-stop providers gaining popularity
  • Is this a trend to be taken seriously?

The full version:

You have some thinking to do.

The September edition of Signmedia magazine features Fully Promoted of Peterborough, Ontario.

According to Signmedia, Fully Promoted is described as a one-stop marketing company. They help businesses tell their story through branded promotional items such as embroidered apparel, screenprinted mugs, digital services including websites, and social media management.

Reading between the lines though, is there a message that this is a developing trend in the industry? Are customers, particularly corporate customers, going to gravitate to one-stop providers as opposed to dealing with a number of providers for their signs and promotional requirements? If this happens, it could sideline limited-range or single-product shops in the future.

Time to do some research and forward planning.

Free offer from Roland

Thumbnail version:

  • Assistance designing for COVID-10 products
  • Free design template

Full version:

Roland is offering “build your own” packages to help sign shops produce social distancing signage. Although the full package includes equipment, software etc., you’re not obliged to buy any of it in order to access the free design templates.

The templates allow for the printing a range of items such as floor graphics, decals, wall and window signage , and yard signs for social distancing and other COVID-19 related materials.

The free design templates (vector PDF’s) can be downloaded for free.

Why wouldn’t one take advantage of this offer?

Sign industry trends affecting big and small shops

The thumbnail version:

  • COVID-19 is giving rise to changes in the industry
  • Bigger shops are thinking smaller
  • Smaller shops are thinking bigger

The full version:

Big and small shops eyeing changes

COVID-19’s persistence is having an impact on the industry, perhaps a permanent impact. Roland is reporting some interesting changes  that you should know about.

They say that some of the bigger shops are redirecting resources to niche personalization services such as face masks and T-shirts while the smaller end shops are upgrading their equipment to print larger applications. Smaller shops are now expanding into floor graphics and signage for canopies and outdoor dining. This is an interesting trend that can be described as . . . Bigger shops thinking smaller and smaller shops thinking bigger.

How is your shop adapting to the changes in the lingering COVID-19 environment?

Thinking ahead about qualified staff available on the job market

The thumbnail version:

  • Competitors are failing
  • There are unemployed, talented people in the market
  • You may need more staff as demand grows
  • Plan ahead for finding the best staff

The Full version:

Make sure to find the good people on the job market and stay in touch.

We don’t really know when the economy generally and the industry specifically may return to “normal” but when it does, your shop could be busy. There will likely be fewer competitors to deal with a pent-up demand.

And because some of your competitors will no longer be around, there will be qualified staff on the job market. One or more of them may be a great addition to your shop when things get busy again.

So, here’s the plan . . .  You already know who your competitors are and you know who their good people are. (At least you should know). So assuming that you do, make sure you know the status of your competitors; check regularly. And if they lay off staff or go out of business, make sure you stay in touch with their now unemployed but talented people so that you have the inside track with them when things rev up again.

Just another post-COVID-19 planning tactic!

Facebook. Worth your time?

The thumbnail version:

  • Facebook (and other social media platforms) can drain your time
  • More and more writers are addressing this phenomenon
  • It’s time to re-think whether your social media strategy adds any value

The full version:

There’s a growing body of opinion that suggests that Facebook is a serious drain on small business owners’ time. And that generally social media is an overrated marketing mechanism for small businesses (which includes most Canadian sign shops).

Not only is there the book by BJ Mendelson, Social Media is Bullshit, or the opinion of Alex Lieberman, CEO of Morning Brew: “The best marketers don’t just understand Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. The best marketers understand anthropology, sociology, and psychology”, but recently screen printing writer and consultant, Marshall Atkinson weighed in on the topic as well.

Wasting business time on Facebook and other social media?

Atkinson, in an article titled “Stop Doing This For Better Results”, suggested that shop owners should stop posting on Facebook “all the time”. Here are a couple of excerpts from his article that say it all: “I swear, it looks like more than a few folks in this industry are professional Facebook posters. You are posting all day long! Holy smokes” and “Just imagine the productivity your business could receive if you channeled that same energy into changing something that actually drove more money into your bank account.”

Time to re-think your social media activity? I think so.

A good designer versus a great designer . . .

Only what’s necessary.

Here’s some great short-and-sweet advice for new designers and a reminder for experienced designers from Mike Monteiro, co-founder and design director of Mule Design . . .

A good designer finds an elegant way to put everything you need on a page (or sign or billboard). A great designer convinces you half that sh*t is unnecessary.”

Do your customers get this advice from you?

Always deliver more than expected . . . especially now.

The thumbnail version:

  • Competition is tough right now
  • One way to gain an advantage is by delivering more than expected

The full version:

Deliver more than expected. Delight the customer!

Larry Page (co-founder of Google) is quoted as having said, “Always deliver more than expected.”

This is very good advice, particularly now in the market conditions induced by  COVID-19. You are in tough against your competitors. All of you are now chasing fewer customers in a depressed market. It’s time to stand out from the crowd. It’s time to go the extra yard to impress. And one of the ways to do it is to deliver more than expected—more quality and more service. Delight your customer.

Take the guy’s advice. He’s worth almost $70 billion so we can safely assume he knows what he’s talking about.