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How Important Are Tax Credits for a New Sign Facility?

Plus, how to find a prospective new hire’s hidden strengths.




What is the best way financially to move/grow into a new facility? For example, how important are new-market tax credits, historic tax credits, special loan types and incentivized districts?

While a professional financial advisor may want to confirm (or deny) this, the apparent best way financially to move into a new facility is to secure the best possible terms to purchase or lease the space. New-market and historic tax credits, special loan types and incentivized districts may play one or more roles in determining the best terms. Unless those credits or incentives are highly significant, however, they likely will not feature as much in the “best financial way” as having excellent credit and collateral will lead to a lower interest rate when borrowing. Also, bear in mind that some — not all — incentivized areas are incentivized because their locations are less desirable than others. To be clear, we are not besmirching the reputations and potential of such areas. If possible, reach out to any comparably sized businesses located in a target area and ask about their experiences.

The larger our team gets and the more volume we produce, the more I see a need for a streamlined, all-in-one software solution to handle CRM, project management, invoicing and shipping (rather than juggling one program for each in an unwieldy tech stack). What are some SaaS options for print shops to consider?

Over the past several years many shops have turned to software applications that handle all, or at least most of the above, as well as other areas such as estimating. SquareCoil, Corebridge, SignTracker and shopVOX are among the better-known options, but there are other apps as well. Ask about the specific services each provides and their annual fees, of course, but also seek references from shops using each product so you can gain a sense of which might best suit your needs. Finally, to balance your sourcing, check outside each company’s claims and testimonials with independent social media groups.

How do I tease out a prospective hire’s innate strengths during the interview process?

The indirect method is often best when it comes to getting at a prospect’s true strengths. Marcus Buckingham, a leader of the strengths-based school of business management, suggests asking this question: What was the best day at work you’ve had in the past three months? “Find out what the person was doing and why they enjoyed it so much,” he says, adding it’s key to keep in mind that a strength is not merely something someone is good at. “It might be something they aren’t good at yet. It might be just a predilection, something they find so intrinsically satisfying that they look forward to doing it again and again and getting better at it over time.” The theory is that the best businesses are those that fully leverage the strengths of their employees as opposed to trying to fix up their weaknesses.

What should be my #1 New Year’s resolution for 2024?

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