What Is An Independent Contractor? Part I
Probably the most basic question in the employment context is whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor.
Still Need a Reason to Go Digital This Year? Tax Legislation and Depreciation Bonus for 2013 Might Provide Your Answer
The American Taxpayer Relief Act Offers Big Tax Savings for Equipment Purchases in 2013
The Small Employer Health Insurance Tax Credit
A tiny glimmer of positive light emanating from the Obamacare ________ might apply to your sign shop. Read on to learn more.
The Glory of Growing: How Innovation Spurs Sustained Profits
Adapting to change feels just plain wrong, but the market has spoken. It's telling us we have a systematic problem; it's time for a systematic solution. Innovate!
The Specialty Imager's Brand
Your brand image should reflect your brand values, and your corporate palette should be the same across all media. The opportunities that a powerful positioning strategy presents can be amazing. But there is one aspect of this strategy that must be understood, and that is authenticity.
Recognizing Responsible Employees
As a manager, it is your responsibility to identify what behavior you want employees to exhibit in your shop, and then to look at each employee to see who exemplifies that behavior.
Recycling Benefits the Bottom Line
For today's businesses, the path of environmental stewardship is really a journey of awareness. Becoming aware of what is thrown away sheds new light into several aspects of every business. Look inside your dumpster, what do you spend per year disposing of that waste and how much of that waste is recyclable? This may get your wheels turning...read on.
Elections, the Economy and the Sign Business
Policitcal promises from all sides, a sluggish econonomy and then there's the sign business. Is anyone going to get your job done for you? I think not...read on.
A Sustainable Business Case
An increasing number of customers are asking their imagers about their sustainability efforts, either in face-to-face meetings or formal requests for proposals.
Sooner or later, everyone thinks about retirement or dies. Face the facts, one will happen.
Affordable Health Care and Taxes
Like it or not, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled and the so-called 'Affordable Care Act' (ACA) is now the law of the land -- and the Tax Code. Soon, every individual must have health insurance or face a tax penalty. Large businesses must offer their employees health insurance or face penalties.
How the $100 Million Company Acquired the $1 Million Company
It was a dream come true for a small business owner - selling the business to a bigger printing company and walking away with a mountain of cash. It's a scenario we've seen played out in the financial headlines time and time again.
Preparing Your Company for an Online Presence
A value proposition statement needs to be integrated throughout your company so that it is infused in the culture of all you do. Once created it must go on your email signature line, your Web site, your business cards, and in all of your marketing and promotional materials. Read on...
Safety vs. Efficiency - Why Not Both?
Without a successful business, employees will not have a reliable source of income and without a safe environment; no owner will be able to maintain a steady workforce.
Sales Compensation: Starting With the Basics
I think there's a lot of opportunity to improve sales performance by improving sales compensation strategy. Let's start with the basics.
New Model Sign Code for Municipalities Created by the United States Sign Council
The USSC Model Sign Code represents the culmination of over 14 years of research on the design characteristics of On-Premise Signs to help municipalities incorporate sound and tested principles into practical Sign Ordinances.
Using Pencil Selling to Close More Digital Sign Deals
Some prefer to call it a return on investment (R.O.I.) analysis. I still call it pencil selling. It's the art of taking a prospect through the mathematical process of understanding how the cost of what they're buying is justified by its return.
Romancing the Stone Cold Customer in the New Economy
How exactly does the new, post-recession customer behave? How might specialty graphics business owners woo them? These are questions every wise entrepreneur must consider. The nature of decision making for potential buyers seems to have changed forever. Customers will still buy from people they like, trust and with whom it is convenient to do business.
Environmental Marketing - What Constitutes a 'Green' Claim?
Environmental marketing terms are proliferating. What does it take to make a substantiated 'green' claim about either your facility or your product? Step inside to find out!
Stimulating Recovery: Are We Out of the Woods Yet?
Republicans blame Democrats and Democrats blame Republicans and all the while, someone is leaking to the media that the US is out of the recession. So where are we really?
What Is An Independent Contractor? Disclaimer
What Is An Independent Contractor?
A Simple Giant of Our Industry
We should all know what this extraordinary man, Carlo LaManna, accomplished in his time spent in our industry.
Competing with the Underground with Help from Uncle
How can any sign professional or business hope to survive against competition that isn't burdened by licensing requirements or fees, insurance costs or even taxes?
Going Lean With Your Sign Company
Now more than ever, the sign industry needs to make the most of their resources and refine processes to utilize the utmost in efficiency throughout their company. Read how one company has done just that.
Business 2.0: New Rules, Difficult Conversations, 'Market Blur' and Digital Darwinism
There are enormous shifts in sales tactics, channel strategies and direct sales models. These
changes will reset how our industry looks. Quality, history and reliability will be all the rage in the new market. Accountability will be a critical feature on every smart buyer's list.
The Sign Height Fight
As profoessionals we care about this subject because of public safety issues. With professional studies that depict locations where short signs are appropriate and others where they are not, it's time to cast aside the opinions and start looking at the facts.
Best Practices Standards for On-Premise Signs in the Sign World
The United States Sign Council Best Practices Standards for On-Premise Signs has clearly established the benchmark for the determination of optimum exterior sign visibility, legibility, and placement.
Answering the Call from Sign Haters
Make no mistake about it; there are some people who simply do not like signs - some, in fact, actually hate them. If you have been in the industry for even a relatively short time, we've encountered them - usually, and unfortunately, as part of a local committee to regulate signs.
Vehicle Wrapping Contracts 101
: Wrapping vehicles without a signed contract that spells out what the customer should expect - and shouldn't expect - from your sign shop is a mistake that could cost you. Find out how to avoid liabilities with a solid contract.
Getting Ahead with Health and Safety Signage
People often ask, 'How can I be competitive and even more successful in a recession economy.' The answer is not as easy as it sounds: 'Find a need and fill it.'
A New Quick Fix for Small Business Borrowing in 2009
One program earmarks extra funding for loans and technical assistance by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 'microloan' lenders.
Recovering with New Tax Breaks for Your Sign & Graphics Business
Your business has an opportunity to share in the tax benefits for 2009 and 2010 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Benefits of Advertising in a Down Economy
Studies show advertising during a down economy increases customer awareness and produces customer loyalty and a long-term competitive advantage.
And Now for Something Completely Different
Reflecting on the past to determine new ways to be successful in a challenging economy.
Stay Ahead with Accurate Sign Estimating Using Advanced Technologies
Submitting the winning bid for sign projects is more challenging today than ever before. Click for some insider perspectives on optimizing your company efficiency with estimating.
Risk Management: Survival and Affordability
Can your business survive a liability suit or a natural disaster, and is your business covered enough?
Snapshot of the Sign Industry 3rd Quarter 2008
For SignIndustry.com’s annual ‘pulse taking’ of the state of the sign industry, we peeked and probed into various facets of the industry to get an idea of the state of our trade before going into 2009.
The Power of Choice!
Your thoughts set the pace for you and your co-workers. What contagious attitude are you showing those around you, good or bad?
What Today’s Print Buyers Really Want and How You Can Deliver
To print buyers (especially new ones), printers are all alike.
Ideas, Attitudes & Action
Make new ideas and change a fixture of your company’s culture. Set small goals and be relentless in pursuing them. Don't forget that people make it all happen. Good people can achieve great things. Find them, keep them and let the misfits go somewhere else.
Full Product Branding with Self-Adhesive Films: What Does It Really Mean?
An in-depth analysis of the concept and ways to incorporate it into your business
Looking Behind the Accounting Curtain: The Accounting Team and Print MIS in the Big Picture
The goal of a print management information system in this global picture is to provide accurate, timely information that can be quickly and easily consolidated and organized.
Show and Tell or Engage the Customer?
Customer involvement is a pivotal key to successful sales. Read on to see what we're talking about.
Burn Your Boat! Your salesforce won't be looking back.
Do you allow the negative influences of fear, anxiety, self-doubt and worry to dominate your thinking and sabotage your results? Stop now...read on.
Floor Graphics: Walking into Opportunity
The floor graphics concept was ahead of its time a few years ago, but if you haven’t gotten into this side of the business yet, there is no time like the present.
How to Train Cats and Salespeople
Surprisingly, the same training and reward techniques required to get Fluffy to jump through a hoop can also be utilized to motivate your sales team to achieve peak-performance!
Project Management Made Easy Through Estimating & Business Management Software
The programs continue to evolve and mature, and with this improvement cycle the results are increased productivity, greater control of costs and an improved bottom line. All achieved with greater ease and accuracy than ever before. So how can you afford to not be on this bandwagon?
It Costs How Much? Determining What It Costs to Sell Your Signs the Right Way.
Pricing your products or services sold is determined first by costing. Do you have any idea of what it costs to sell a sign or banner? For that matter, what does it cost to open the doors to your sign business each day? Pertinent questions that will influence your pricing.
Surviving and Profiting from the Economy, Intentionally
Regardless of whether an inevitable slow period results from the economy, from competition or from other sources outside the control of the business owner or manager, it is never too late to employ slow period survival strategies in your sign business.
The History and Future of the U.S. Sign Industry
Here’s a quick perspective on the size of the U.S. sign industry and the impact of wide format inkjet printing in the sign industry today.
Customers for Life! - How Relationships and Communication Make Customers Stay Focused On You
Companies that fail to implement an effective customer service program actually do a disservice to their customers and unknowingly, leave the backdoor open to their competitors.
Adversity Gives You Strength!
How can you stay self-motivated and productive in the midst of turbulent times and a sluggish economy? How do you persevere as a salesperson when times are tough and customers seem to be holding on to every penny in fear of economic uncertainty?
How to Build Trust and Rapport Quickly
One of the most critically important and yet frequently overlooked aspects of selling is creating a solid foundation of trust and rapport.
Snapshot of the Sign Industry 3rd Quarter 2007
As we did last year, SignIndustry.com took a quick pulse of the sign industry to try to get an idea of the state of the industry in this third quarter of 2007.
Keeping Signage at the Top of Business Marketing...And Its Revenue.
The hard truth is that signage is not considered by most business development experts as marketing and the reason is clear - they are simply unaware of its value.
The Same Old, Same Old Spells Disaster: Squeeze the Most Out of Your Advertising Budget Effectively
While monitoring this years budget and preparing for next years ad buy, make sure you're really looking at the results in an objective manner. Your budget is never big enough, so make sure you're following a well thought out plan and not just doing what you've always done.
Develop Your Plan for a Profitable Year
If your sign business activity last year did not create happiness, excitement and massive profits for you and your family, then let’s have a look at how a few simple things can make a difference this year.
Sales Management: Recruit Your Way to the Top!
While there's no perfect system that can guarantee you'll hire the right person every time, there are fundamental guidelines you must follow if you expect to recruit your way to the top!
Good Estimating Affects the Bottom Line
Unless your business is to provide the same product, without variation, at the same cost of production, there is no fast, simple answer to the question...'What Does It Cost?'
Incoming SGIA Chairman David Van Veldhuizen Speaks on Changes and Challenges
The industry is changing, lines between niche markets are becoming transparent, technology is pushing delivery systems to a new level and anybody in the world is only 1.7 seconds away.
Using Technology To Its Best To Maximize Your Company's Workflow
Do you think you are running your business as efficiently and effectively as possible? See how technology can assist you in keeping a closer track on your bottom line and maximize your profits while reducing the time your organization spends on communicating between departments.
Recovery with a Hand from Uncle Sam
Few professional risk managers predicted or planned for the battering suffered by Florida-based businesses in 2004. Few businesses in the Gulf region could have predicted or obtained insurance against the tremendous damages produced by Hurricane Katrina, Rita or Wilma.
Protect Yourself with Records...no, not the vinyl ones.
Records are not an option, at least not if your sign operation hopes to survive and prosper. How, after all, can any professional monitor the progress of his or her sign business?
Tax Savings Under the New Energy and Transportation Laws
No, neither the price of gasoline nor its impact on your sign business will be reduced under the recently passed energy and transportation bills. But both could have a noticeable impact on the tax bills of every sign business.
The Price is Right. Or is it? Estimating Tips That Make Sense
The rules are simple and straightforward. To win, you must find an applicable price point that affords you an appropriate profit margin while, at the same time, keeps your competition at arm’s length and keeps your customers happy and satisfied.
CRM Part IV: Improving Sales and Customer Loyalty
In this, the final in a series of articles revealing how Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can transform your business to a new profitable level, we will address the selling and customer loyalty strategies that you can implement through CRM.
Starting a New Sign Business
For those who are considering venturing into a new business in the sign industry, we welcome you to the family. The sign profession is one of the oldest in our country. Signs have been a fundamental element in trade, commerce and industry for centuries.
Winning Sales Tax Jeopardy: Preparing for a Sales Tax Audit
The inevitable has finally happened: your state has decided that you're the next lucky contestant for a sales tax audit.
CRM Pt. 3: Turning Prospects to Customers
Now is the time to employ CRM to convert your prospects to customers. The conversion process, (taking all of those prospect names in your data base and converting them to paying, loyal customers) is the profitable portion of your CRM program. This is the act of turning information into dollars.
A Year-End End to 2004 Tax Savings
Among the few certainties in life, as certain as death and taxes, is the fact that there are few moves that any sign professional can make after December 31, that will significantly reduce their tax bill. Fortunately, year-end tax planning can have a significant impact on that April 15 tax bill and many tax bills down the road.
CRM Tools for Marketing, Part II
Along with providing a means for managing sales and customer information, CRM also enables businesses to market more effectively and efficiently.
Options for Retirement and Minimizing Income and Estate Taxes
When looking to save for your retirement, there are more options available for a small business owner to take advantage of.
Winning and Keeping Customers for Life through CRM- Part I: Marketing
Long-term success for your company depends on efficient and effective customer relationship management.
Surviving The Sign Business, A Perspective from a Seasoned Veteran
You could probably say that in my over 43 years in the sign business that I’ve seen it all. I’ve made more than my share of mistakes, but this is all part of the learning process. I’m not implying that I have all of the answers, but the fact that I’ve lasted this long in the business suggests I’m doing something right.
Pick Up The Phone
One of the worse things you as a businessperson can do is ignore request for return phone calls. These are missed opportunities and once they are gone, it will be very difficult to get them back.
Controlling Costs To Control Profits
Every sign business has a best customer. In fact, studies have shown that 80 percent of the income of most businesses usually comes from 20 percent of its customers. But how can any sign professional tell whether that best customer is generating its fair share of bottom-line profits? Is your best customer costing you money?
Making the Most of your Marketing
Your business keeps you hopping from one priority to the next---every single day. You put out one fire only to find another one starting up while over your shoulder you catch a glimpse of yet another one rekindling. With all of the busy-ness of running your business, who has time to focus on marketing?
Your Sign Business is a business. Run it that way!
Ah yes, comfort. We all love to feel comfortable. We all tend to seek out comfort, complacency, and at times, we simply just get too sloppy in our business transactions.
Keeping Up With New Government Regulations
Because of the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, the US government has had to put more laws into place to protect the safety of American citizens. Some of the laws have inconvenienced us and some we never knew existed, but the good news is that they are not all that complicated.
Tax Planning After The Temporary Tax Cuts Of 2003
Earlier this year, Congress passed and the President quickly signed into law a $330 billion, 10-year tax cut plan, The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, a law that is already having a significant impact on the tax bills of many sign professionals -- and their business.
Slowdown - Downturn - Recession Austerity Programs… And What The Intelligent Sign Company Owner is Going To Do About It!
Everywhere you look, the signs of a difficult economic period are obvious. Unemployment is up, business growth is down, sales cycles are longer, and many companies are shutting down altogether.
The Temporary Tax Cuts Of 2003
Brush up on the new tax laws that can help you plan for the future of your business.
Summer Time is SALES Time
Yes summer time is here, and along with the higher temperatures comes many fantastic opportunities for greater and larger sign sales. So, are you ready to get busy? Great! Here are some ways to keep that telephone ringing off the wall all summer long.
The Pitfalls of Starting a Sign Business: Part 3 - A Retail Store
To the average person a storefront or retail location may appear to be a piece of cake to get up and rolling, but little do they know the amount of stress, aggravation, effort and money that went into it.
School-to-Work Programs: An Overlooked Option for Staffing Needs
Sociologists are already predicting that tomorrow’s workforce will look considerably different than today’s, thanks mainly to an aging population.
Think About What You Are Selling
Our real competition is not the sign prices of other sign shops, but in reality our real competition is the effectiveness of signs for the betterment of our client’s business versus the effectiveness of our competitor’s signs.
Health Insurance: Fringe Benefit or Dead Weight
Although health care costs may continue to rise, there are some steps you can take to offset some of this necessary burden.
The Lost Art of Following-Up
Visions of grandeur danced in my head back almost twenty-five years ago. I set out to set the sign world on fire. Little did I know that the limited sign skills that I possessed would not take me where I wanted to go.
The Pitfalls of Starting a Sign Business: Part II, Home-based
The easiest way to get started in the sign business is by creating a home-based sign shop. For one thing, it’s the least expensive way to get started. Most people do not decide one day to quit their job and start a sign business, not that it can’t be done.
Where’s the Love?
We can all make that initial sale; however, sign clients return again and again when they feel their business was appreciated, and when they feel the love!
Have you noticed any trends lately in how your clients are reacting to your payment policies? Are some of your prospects and established clients expecting you to design, build and install your sign products without a deposit, or payment in full upon completion?
The Pitfalls of Starting a Sign Business, Part I
The sign industry is probably one of the most stable businesses to get into. You are not selling widgets, but rather a custom made product that fits the needs of your client. Like any other business, the sign business has its ups and downs and is affected by the economy, weather conditions and location along with many other factors.
New Tangible Tax Benefits for Intangibles
The U.S. Treasury Department is turning one of the most complex areas of our tax law on its head.
Terminating Totally with Limited Liability
In this day and age it is becoming more and more difficult to terminate an employee. It is difficult enough firing someone without having to worry if you’ve taken all the necessary steps and kept all the necessary paperwork in the employee’s file.
Should I Stay or Should I Go
When is it time to call it quits in a business that feels stagnant? This is a question that causes some people complete frustration and never really seems to receive a satisfying answer. It is also a question that comes up for most businesses at least a dozen times within the first three years of business.
Tax Planning With A Difference
Every sign business owner and manager should recognize the need for -- and the benefits that can be derived from -- tax planning.
Benefits of Advertising in Any Economy
Studies show advertising during any economy produces customer loyalty and a long-term competitive advantage
A Business Valuation for All Occasions
How much is your sign business worth? Of all the things asked of sign professionals, placing a value on the sign operation is often the most difficult.
Buy or Lease: Benefits Galore
Shoud you buy or lease the business premises, that needed equipment or, today, even those extra employees? Those are questions that face every sign professional.
S Corporations 2002: Still Flourishing
No surprise that the S Corporation remains the most popular form of operating a small business.
Stimulating Depreciation Deductions For Your Sign Business
Greater flexibility for depreciating your equipment could be to your advantage.
APA Smart Growth Plan Just Plain Dumb
American Planning Association guidelines could spell trouble for you, your customers, and freedom lovers across the U.S.
Yellow Pages Advertising for Sign Shops
Get the most cost effective Yellow Pages advertising possible
Stimulating The Economy Of Your Sign Business
The new law that provides tax incentives to expand and invest in your business
Don't Ever Apologize for Your Small Business!
Small businesses are the backbone of the economy
Caught In An IRS Audit
How to avoid being a target for an audit
How to Keep Customers Coming Back for 60 Years
Important traits from successful people will benefit you.
How To Turn Prospects Into Customers For No Cost
If you have more business than you will ever be able to handle, then don't read this article.
The 7 Deadly Roadblocks to Success
Obstacles to overcome to achieve your business and personal goals.
Marketing Your Business in Changing Times, Part III
In this final segment of a three-part series, we will address the importance of the customer as a marketing tool.
Marketing Your Business in Changing Times, Part II
In Part II of this three-part series, we will address more marketing techniques and strategies to be used in your business including a distinction between advertising and promotion during these challenging times.
Marketing Your Business in Changing Times
In this three-part series, we will address marketing techniques and strategies to be used in your business during these challenging times.
What Must You Provide for Your Employees? Part III
In this third and final article, we will continue to explore the responsibility of the employer concerning rate of pay and special circumstances as well as time keeping for hours worked.
What Must You Provide for Your Employees?, Part II
This is part two of a three-part series addressing some of the most commonly asked questions concerning provisions you, as a business owner must provide for your employees.
What Must You Provide for Your Employees? Part I
There are many regulations dealing with running a business. Here is an attempt at simplifying some of the regulations regarding provisions for employees
Designing Successful Incentive Plans
Performance-driven incentive plans is your answer to assuring your company's goals while motivating employees
''Hey, You Got My Money?''
The last thing you need added to your business struggles are late or non-paying customers. Learn how to get your money
What to Do When You Lose a Customer
It hurts to lose a customer, but here is hope and help in getting them back.
The Proper Way to Reengineer Your Workforce
In the unfortunate event that you must layoff some of your workforce, be prepared to do it the right way.
Remember To Incorporate Customer Relationship Management
Part of running a successful business is knowing your customers and their knowing you.
Effective Sign Design Benefits
Four ways to make your signs more powerful
It’s Ten O’clock, Do You Know Where Your Business Is?
It sometimes seems that your business is like your child. Learn some tips on raising it.
The Sub-species: Subcontracting in the Sign Industry
To be or not to be a subcontractor?
Selling Logo Design: A Psychology for Profit
Understanding advertising, branding and marketing
Who Will Run Your Company?
Who will be your next CEO?
Leadership and Change
The speed of business evolution is constantly changing.
What Is An Independent Contractor? Part III
What Is An Independent Contractor? Part II
Risks of Hiring Independent Contractors
The Dollars and Sense of Digital Cameras
Using a digital camera to save time and money
Financing your sign business, one persons view from the bottom.
How Can You Make Them Move If They Don’t Know What You Want?
Communicating Your Company’s Goals and Values
Formula For Success
Effective Customer Interaction
'Dealing with Difficult Customers'
Will You Be Ready For OSHA?
The Neglected Business Tool
The Timely Collection of Accounts Receivable: Part II (Inquiry and Appeal)
The slow or delinquent payment by 30-to-40% of a sign shop’s customers can create problems.
The Timely Collection of Accounts Receivable: Part III (Urgency and Ultimatum)
Believe it or not, occasionally the Notification, the Reminder, the Inquiry and the Appeal Stages of the standard collection series do not motivate sign customers to pay.
The Timely Collection of Accounts Receivable: Part I
An owner of a successful sign shop recently identified his three main challenges in the business
Shop Reputation is Gold
So you don't work in a dog-eat-dog rat race of an industry...
Setting Schedules: Creating Service Out of Order
Late signs or are your jobs off schedule?
Ending the Shop's Nightmare Circus
Is your sign making business as a three-ring circus?
Dealing with the Less-than-Perfect Customers
Surrendering to whatever customers want can be bad business
Building a Team
Essential elements in building a team for your business
Writing a Marketing Strategy: Four Easy Steps
Talk to the “Ivory Tower experts” about marketing, and they will tell you that marketing management basically consists of a series of complex, interrelated analytical processes and strategies
The Sign Height Fight
As profoessionals we care about this subject because of public safety issues. With professional studies that depict locations where short signs are appropriate and others where they are not, it's time to cast aside the opinions and start looking at the facts.
Starting and managing a sign company or a sign business is a challenging endeavor. An outdoor sign company requires planning and research in order to enter into the outdoor sign business. Whether you’re creating vinyl signs for a vinyl sign company, neon signs, outdoor signs, a screen print company, making sign banner materials, fabricating electronic signs, screen printing, installing an electronic sign, or looking for a sign supply company, you can learn many of the basics of the business of signage. Helping professionals in the business of making signs is our passion.