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Why Small Signshops Should Order Their Supplies as Late as Possible

It’s one of our sundry tips for sign pros in November.




POSTURE Two-Second Fix

1 Your parents were right: Stop slouching. “If you take on a collapsed position, it really shifts the physiology,” Erik Peper, a professor of health education at San Francisco State University, told Bloomberg, adding that tests have shown that slouchers’ testosterone levels go down, cortisol levels go up, and they have more helpless thoughts. Luckily, the opposite happens when you sit up, stretch or even better, jog in place for just 10 seconds.

SIGN SUPPLY CHAIN Order Supplies as Late as Possible

2 For the smaller shops out there that have lost supply orders to larger companies, wait until the last day before your supplier does their regular delivery run to place your material order. This tip from Jake Zani, Rule Signs & Graphics (Randolph, VT), like many we receive, came from a recent Brain Squad survey. By ordering at the last moment, Zani wrote, you will know right away if your order will be on the delivery truck the next day or if the materials you need have already been reserved by larger organizations.


3 “We’ve added a very large metal sheet to our office wall with 135 active projects on it,” wrote Signs by Van (Salinas, CA) owner Jeremy Vanderkraats. With a comprehensive project wall, the whole team can see what is going on at any point. “It really helps to identify bottlenecks,” he wrote.


4 If risk-taking, innovation and transparency are habits you want to promote in your business, you may want to install a “failure wall” — a flat space preferably in your back room where you and staff can share your “growth lessons” with each other. “Something magical happens to failure when it’s openly acknowledged,” wrote business author Jeff Stibel in a column for “Paradoxically, it becomes less of a big deal. The idea of failure is often the elephant in the room that no one wants to mention.”


5 If you use a to-do list to guide your task choices through the week, leave your “done” items at the top even after you complete them, suggested productivity website Lifehacker. The feeling of accomplishment will help you get through the other items over the course of the day or week.

STAFF Lessen Stress with Gratitude

6 Is your staff showing signs of stress? Ask them to do this simple act: spend 10 minutes at the end of the day writing about three things (work-related or personal) that went well that day. According to a report in the Harvard Business Review, a University of Florida study found that this gratitude exercise lowered stress levels and physical complaints by roughly 15 percent.

ONLINE This Email Will Self-Destruct

7 Ever wanted an email address that you could discard like a pair of disposable chopsticks? 10 Minute Mail ( is for you. The service sets you up with a self-destructing email address that expires in — yep — 10 minutes. Your temporary inbox works just like regular email, allowing you to forward and respond to messages, and you can add extra time if 10 minutes isn’t quite long enough. Whitepaper downloaded, anonymous comment posted, whatever — once you’re done, pull the pin and walk away.

MANAGEMENT Think of the Worst

8 In these anxious times, it can help to add some ancient perspective. Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic is essentially a training manual for answering one question: What’s the worst that could happen? The self-help author Tim Ferriss, a Seneca fan, calls this “negative visualization.” It means responding to anxiety by fleshing out, in detail, the worst-case scenario. This works partly because rendering fears specific, rather than nebulous, always makes them more manageable. But it also works simply by drawing attention to the fact that fearful thoughts about the future are just that: thoughts.

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