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New Year’s Resolutions for Your Signshop

Brainstorm possible opportunities with a few simple questions



The holiday season presumably prompts more soul-searching than any other spot on the calendar. As business slows down at year’s end and people enjoy holiday festivities, it’s common to reflect on the past year’s accomplishments. And, the change of the calendar presents the ideal opportunity to set goals for what you’d like to achieve in the New Year.

Take some time to think about what resolutions you should make to grow your business in 2012. For example:

• Do you foresee new opportunities which could boost your shops’ profitability? Will this require a capital outlay for new equipment, an investment in new personnel, or cross-training your existing crew? Do you need find a new subcontractor or distributor to facilitate these new offerings? Are you up to date with new versions of design or project-management software?

• Do you need to find ways to reach out to new customers, or broaden with existing ones? Are new retail, corporate or hospitality facilities under construction or renovation in your area? If you’re fabricating banners for an established client, are there opportunities to produce window graphics, wallcoverings, channel letters or other types of signage and graphics?

• Do you need rethink your customer base? Dave Fellman, president of Dave Fellman & Assoc., a Cary, NC-based consulting firm that serves an array of graphic-arts providers, made a presentation at the USSC Sign World Intl. tradeshow in Atlantic City earlier this month. During his seminar, “The Top 10 Mistakes Printers Make with Customers,” he mentioned avoiding the worst type of customer – “the price monster” (i.e., the customer whose sole decisionmaking criterion is price). He emphasized that these types of customers are typically the most problematic, and often provide the least profitable work. Fellman also advised not thinking merely in terms of the next job with a client, but, rather, considering how to best build fruitful, long-term relationships.

• Are you as connected as you need to be with those who influence your industry? Are you involved with your local, regional or national sign associations? Are you maintaining relationships with local officials who supervise building and sign codes, historic-preservation commissions, planning boards, economic-development councils or other entities that develop or enforce codes that dictate what type and how large of signs your shop can install in communities you serve? Are you as proactive as you need to be with your vendors and their product offerings? Are you attending tradeshows? Are you reading sign-industry journals such as ST?


These are hardly revolutionary concepts, and there are certainly many more questions you can ask to determine how your shop can bolster its balance sheet in 2012. But, as they say, if you’re running in place, you’re falling behind. Do the legwork to get ahead.

Happy Holidays from the Entire ST Staff!



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