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Eric E. Larsen

6 New Sign Things to Try in 2024

Don’t worry, none of them are diets or exercise!

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HERE WE ARE AT the beginning of another year. Where did 2023 go, anyway? I am not one for personal resolutions — been there, done that — the usual, lose weight, eat healthy, wear more ascots, etc. These are often not easy to keep. A month goes by, and we revert to the same old ways…

Here’s the question I’d like to ask: Do you have a resolution for your sign company?

“If a nonprofit needs a banner or temporary signs for a fundraiser, donate them. Word will travel fast…”

It would be easier to keep this resolution because you won’t live it 24/7 and making excuses for not following through would be harder. I can think of several solutions off the top of my head. Not all immediately improve your bottom line but do improve your image and operations as a sign company.

One, probably the most important and one that I’ve been promoting for years, is to find a young person in high school or just out of high school and give them a job. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but we need to pass along our trade to the next generation. They need a start somewhere. College degrees are expensive and many kids are just not cut out for further study. Bring them in, let them find a place that interests them in your shop and mentor them. Design is my thing in the industry, and I have started several kids in art over the years. Some went on to develop video games, one works for Pixar, while others have jobs today in our industry. It’s easy and something good to do for someone else.

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Two, look into new technologies and find something you would like to dive into. The innovations from the late ’70s onward — the leaps and bounds our industry has taken — happened because we were willing to look into new ways of doing things. This is more true today than ever. What is the one thing your shop would benefit from in the upcoming year? Research it, try it.

Three, plan a trip to the ISA Sign Expo. Take people with you so they can see all that the sign industry has to offer. A different set of eyes on things may result in new ideas for your company or for you.

Four, upgrade or restore your equipment. I can guarantee most everyone wants something in the shop to work better. Trucks for certain are an issue as they get older. Your trucks are what everyone sees wherever you are working. Make them look and operate the best that they can. Good-looking and well-maintained equipment will boost your reputation, and your employees will show their appreciation with increased productivity.

This penultimate resolution is a big one. It will cost you some money, but the benefits are most certainly worth it. Donate a sign to a nonprofit organization. Many nonprofits struggle to pay their overhead and do not have the funds to get a new sign or sign system. They, too, benefit from having a place that looks well kept and clean. Their sign portrays who they are — if they have a run-down old sign, chances are they need help. If you cannot afford to donate an entire sign then do it at cost. Find out if they are doing a fundraiser and donate banners and other temporary signs. Word will travel fast that you are a company that cares about your community.

Lastly, make a resolution that you will be a better employee or owner. Find your weaknesses and turn them into your best assets. Be truthful in your abilities and find help where you need it. A good leader or worker always finds who is best at what and asks for help.

Have a great new year.

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Eric E. Larsen is the Lead Designer of the Historic Theatre Marquee Division of Wagner Electric Sign Co. (Elyria, OH).

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