Being generous with the community is a good business practice

Being generous with the community is a good business practice

Giving back to the community can get your sign shop a lot of valuable attention. It's not just a noble gesture to give back to the community, it also makes good business sense. Some time ago I read about a sign shop that encouraged local not-for-profit organizations to get in touch so that they...

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A little sign advice could go a long way

A little sign advice could go a long way

I sometimes wonder if some members of the sign industry do enough to advise customers. Much of what I see suggests that more can be done in this regard. Is it too much to expect a sign shop owner to have some design expertise? One of the best examples of the many that I've run across was in my old...

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Simplicity in signs

Leonardo da Vinci reportedly said: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Simplicity is also urged in effective sign design. For instance, just a few simple steps can deliver effective signs: Understand the brand you are marketing or what you are selling Reduce it to a single thought....

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Build an email list

Build an email list

Of the many ways of communicating with customers and potential customers, email takes some beating. The question though is one of how to build an email list, particularly in Canada where we have to contend with CASL (Canada's Anti Spam Legislation). Your shop's email list can only consist of...

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A tech tip for Windows — special characters

RGCS of Edinburgh's latest newsletter has a useful tip if you're a Windows user. "Trying to find and insert particular symbols or special characters into something like a Word document can often be awkward and time-consuming, but Windows provides a quick-access character map for these symbols and...

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Quantity versus quality

It's not going to take a lot of verbage to deliver this important message. Do you know that that many people noted for the high quality of their companies’ products, and hence their success, have repeatedly emphasized quality? Steve Jobs was one of those people: “Quality is more important than...

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Even if you’re just a one-man band . . .

Even if you’re just a one-man band . . .

If you run a small sign shop, then this story is for you. I was once looking for a sign shop to produce vinyl window graphics. I generally support smaller local businesses so I set about finding one. I had the names of four small sign shops capable of doing the job I needed. As is common practice...

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Caring for vehicle wraps

I once had a conversation with a pizza delivery guy in which he told me that he didn’t have a car of his own but that his boss allowed him to drive the brightly-wrapped company Fiat, provided he kept it clean and shiny. I thought that sounded like a good win-win proposition—he had wheels and the...

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Do you engage your employees?

I remember reading a few years ago about a large sign company that celebrated an special anniversary by throwing a party for the 150 employees and their families with food trucks, cake, and gifts. This makes me wonder to what degree companies in our industry engage their employees, not only in...

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Knowing every aspect of your business

All the writing I've ever seen about hiring sales people mentions the obvious importance of in-depth product knowledge. Anyone selling anything had better know what it does, how to use it, what customers want from it, how to adapt it to unusual requirements, and so forth. Now, in many cases, given...

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Diversify or narrow the shop’s focus?

Diversify or narrow the shop’s focus?

I recently read an article that encourages new entrepreneurs to narrow their focus. This is nothing new of course, over the years I've read entire books on the topic. There's much to be said for this concept in certain circumstances such as in the story about a men's jeans company that has grew...

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Staying up to date with new technology

When people talk about keeping up to date with the latest income-producing technology for your shop, they usually mean attending trade shows. And there’s a lot to be said for that. The upside is that you get to talk to a lot of people and see a lot in an intense few days. You’re bound to see...

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How not to boost profits

How not to boost profits

Here’s a common story. See if you recognize this scenario . . .  A sign shop is not meeting profit expectations. What is usually the first thing that happens? The owner looks for more sales and looks for cost-cutting opportunities, right? And what is the obvious cost-cutting target? Material...

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Plastic waste — what is your shop doing about it?

Plastic waste — what is your shop doing about it?

By now we all know that plastic waste not handled properly contributes to the huge microplastic ecological problem. It’s a pity that it has taken so long for most of us to finally become aware of it, and a greater pity that not enough is being done about it. So the big question then becomes one of...

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Re-thinking

Re-thinking

Roland tells the interesting story about VIVAS Inc. where they did some re-thinking about their business. "We took the time to properly categorize our services, with vehicle branding emerging as one of the most important. While we've been producing vehicle graphics for some time, when we...

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Promote your shop

Many small graphics shops are like many small businesses in general, they’re reactive, not proactive. They sit and wait for customers to turn up instead of going out and  looking for them. One of the biggest reasons for this is that many small business owners are technicians and would rather do...

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Advice and tips from Roland

Advice and tips from Roland

I've urged before that you make a point of paying regular visits to the Roland website for the useful information they post. In literally a couple of minutes a month, you may find something that could be a significant time saver and money-spinner. But, since you probably haven't visited the site...

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Simplifying the shop for greater efficiency

Simplifying the shop for greater efficiency

Large organizations and governments frequently undertake simplification exercises or projects which they like to refer to as “red tape reduction.” Essentially it’s a process of eliminating unnecessary activities and streamlining others to achieve the simplification we all crave when things just...

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Expanded UV ink gamuts

Ginny Mumm, a freelance consultant for Roland, has authored an article on "how expanded UV gamuts add vibrancy and accuracy to projects." This is good information, particularly for printers expected to produce accurate colours for demanding corporate clients. She interviewed Jay Roberts, UV...

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The ISA International Sign Expo 2024

The ISA International Sign Expo 2024

If you're a regular reader, you'll know by now that I'm an enthusiastic promoter of trade show attendance. It's where you keep up to date on developments in your industry, where you make useful contacts, where your creativity is stimulated. I don't believe that without that kind of exposure you're...

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Meeting potential new customers

Meeting potential new customers

If, like a third to a half of the population, you are an introvert, the chances are that you hate prospecting, meeting new customers, or interacting with people you don’t know. The problem this poses for the introverted shop owner is that interacting with customers and prospects is an essential...

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Customer service

Customer service

How often have you had to deal with a "customer service" rep who didn't seem to have a clue what the job really involved? Haven't you found that some of them are so poorly trained or unsuited to the job (which is really a management problem in either case) that you, the customer, far from...

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The 8 KEEPS of small business

The 8 KEEPS of small business

I recently came across this list of The 8 KEEPS of small business while searching through some old files. There's no mention of the source so, unfortunately, I'm unable to credit the the originator. It's not just good advice for someone starting out, it's also a good reminder even if you've been...

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More on controversial or shocking signs

More on controversial or shocking signs

Following the posting of the previous item on controversial or shocking signs, I received an email from a reader who had worked in a large printing company in South Africa. Here are two excerpts from that email that further demonstrate the issues that can arise when accepting "controversial" jobs:...

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Older posts are archived

Older posts are archived

For about 8 years, this blog has been steaming along at the rate of two posts a week. This last post is here merely to explain that older posts are archived and that we only show three-month's worth of posts in order to keep the site current and limited to a reasonable length. But, not to worry,...

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