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Documenting Photos and Taking Field Trips Head our November Tips

Also, “buy dirt” and then put up a billboard for retirement income.

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“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” — Warren Buffet

MANAGEMENT Find an Able Lieutenant

1 A goal for many years of Craig Carman’s, from Nice Sign Inc. in LaPlace, LA, has been to prepare himself and his business so that he would not be tied down personally to being onsite for repairs and service calls. “I finally found someone to replace me,” Carman says. “This allows me to grow a secondary aspect of the business.”

SOFTWARE Photo Documentation

2 Brandon Williams, Brand Connect dba Triad Signs (Burlington, NC) recently started using CompanyCam (photo syncing software for job management) to survey and track their jobs. “It’s an amazing tool,” he says.

PRODUCTION On the Lam No Longer

3 “We recently started utilizing a super-sticky, super-thin, double-sided vinyl sheet for laminating that beats the crap out of using traditional laminating glues [because it] allows for immediate cutting,” according to Kevin Obregon, Brown Graphics Inc. (Dallas). “No more cure time,” he adds. “We’re probably behind the curve on that one, but we’re grateful for the saved time and (literal) headaches due to fumes!”

EMPLOYEES Interactive Installers

4 Your installers are the face of your company on install day, says James Keppel, CLI Services (Denver). “Train them; assign a leader; dress them well and keep the trucks clean,” he advises, adding, “Encourage your team to build solid relationships with the client and others on site.”

INVESTMENTS “Buy Dirt…”

5 Then build a few billboards on said dirt, suggests Jasper Burton, Cuerden Sign Co. (Conway, AR). They will provide regular income for retirement. “I bought some land under my billboards, so now I can pay myself ground lease income, and write off some interest expense,” Burton says. “You know your local area, find a place for a small 8 x 16-ft. sign, and you know who will benefit, so go make the sale!” Permits can be tough, he cautions, “but if you find the right spot, you will be set.”

EMPLOYEES, PART DEUX Take Field Trips

6 Sabrina Davis and the team at Port City Signs & Graphics (Wilmington, NC) are making an effort to get their design and sales staff out of the building more often. In September, she says, “We took a designer and sales team member to an open house in a neighborhood where we had done signage throughout the model home, clubhouse, etc. It gave a chance for the client to see them in person and also for them to see their work complete in the field. Positive for all!”

CRY FREEDOM Get Things Done

7 In movies and history, humans’ innate desire to break the shackles of coercion makes for a great storyline. In modern life, it tends to express itself more as procrastination. Set a schedule for things that need to be done, and your first impulse is to rebel against the order your own mind is seeking to impose on your life. Time management expert Mark Forster offers this suggestion: Write your to-do list over several pages of a notebook, then cycle through the pages, doing whatever “stands out” and feels ready to be done — but you must do at least one thing per page. The result is creative tension between the rational and intuitive parts of your mind. If you were just to act on impulse, unappetizing tasks get left undone. But his closed lists balance the two.

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Tip Briefs

  • Making pan faces out of ACM is a great way to upsell a sign and produce something a little nicer than a typical flat-panel sign. — Michael Van der Melen, The Media Works (Norwood, ON, Canada)
  • Switching all the installation crews tools to Milwaukee tools has made things run smoothly. — Tyler Rodney, Inter Sign National (Baltimore)
  • Newsletters. We happen to have a 12,000-name newsletter that works better than Google AdWords and is much cheaper. — Frank Murch, Signs for San Diego (Oceanside, CA)
  • If you are sending a truck in for service, ask when you’ll get it back and calendar follow-ups. — Nicole Bergstrom, SmithCraft Signs (Phoenix)
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