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Digital Devices and Social Media Success Lead June’s Sign Tips

Also, hire a business manager, bring a tape measure everywhere and more.

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“Opportunity is important but exertion is indispensable.” — Frederick Douglass

PREPARATION Taped Up

1 Take a tape measure to the meeting, insists Matt Robinson of Eastern Sign Tech (Burlington, NJ). “You would think this is Signs 101, but I find I have to repeat it frequently. Keep two in your car, one at your desk, one in your mailbox and one under your pillow.”

HIRING Help from Others

2 After a long corporate career, Marco Milliotti of Image360 South Orlando (Orlando, FL) learned the difficulty of making decisions when his money is concerned. Hiring a production manager who is empowered with purchases and subcontracts has allowed him to focus more on sales and company strategies. Across the country, Cindy Gillihan of Gilly’s Super Signs (Placerville, CA) has a similar mindset: “Just realizing I can’t do everything but smart enough to find people that excel at what I can’t produce. Win-win for everyone.”

CUSTOMERS Mind Over Matter

3 James Cota and JC Signs & Graphics (Clear Lake, MN) strive to educate their customers on what sign products work best, as well as the differences in products and materials. “The sale comes second,” Cota remarks.

TECHNOLOGY Mobile Workstation

4 Derek Atchley of Atchley Graphics (Columbus, OH) ensures that their installers are equipped with field tablets connected to the shop’s workflow software. This equipment facilitates faster and more efficient communication within the company and to the client. “Also allows us to remain as paperless as possible,” he adds.

PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

MARKETING Digital Bridges

5 Spencer Coleman and Wasatch Back Signarama (Heber City, UT) have been focusing their marketing efforts on LinkedIn this year. “We have put into play around $30,000 of new jobs this year so far, and we picked up a [client] for a nine-location rebrand just from LinkedIn.” On another platform, Dennis Schaub of FastTrack Signs (Bellefontaine, OH) suggests local Facebook groups and pages as good places to reach out to, depending on your niche.

WALL OF SHAME Enjoy the Process

6 Most people understand there are lessons to be learned from mistakes, but in reality, most of us like to move on and forget our errors of judgment, or those times we let our biases mislead us, as quickly as possible. To ensure that doesn’t happen to him, the prominent investor Chris Davis of Davis Advisors has devoted a section of his office to a Wall of Shame: a collection of plaques that document his worst investing mistakes. The goal, he told the “Richer, Wiser, Happier” podcast, is not simply to remember what happened, but to identify the transferable lesson. “Our goal is to earn a return on those mistakes, on the money that was lost,” he said, adding that his firm sometimes made huge returns on those bad calls. “It is trying to recognize that we had gotten lucky. So, obviously the Mistake Wall, the Wall of Shame is focused on process, not on outcome.” Could you do something similar in your office or back room?

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PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

Tip Briefs

  • Have trouble responding to an email? Copy it into your favorite AI and ask it to respond. It will generally get you more than 80% of the way to sent. — Brett Jeltema, Fresh Coast Signs and Graphics, Spring Lake, MI
  • Create a digital library of actual completion photos by the sign type or product that can be referenced in the future for examples and sales tools, training, etc. — Thomas Nance, Signarama Downtown, Louisville, KY
  • Being in the South we make sure to remind everyone to drink a lot of water. You would be surprised how many people forget and then suffer from the heat. — Melvin La Pan, Fastsigns of Augusta, Augusta, GA
  • Ask your franchised signshops if they need help with installations. Many have not invested in that aspect of the business yet. — Jim Brewer, Tennessee Sign Co., Murfreesboro, TN
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