Elections, the Economy and the Sign Business
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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.

By Nancy Maren, USSC Executive Director

Regardless which party affiliation you may lean towards, you are the one that has to get your job done, nobody else is going to do that for you.

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  • Lately I have been thinking about a sign person I used to know who was active in the New Jersey Sign Association. His name was Bert Rosenkrantz and some of you reading this column may remember him as well. Bert was one of the most astute businessmen I have ever known - - he must have been good because he made quite a bit of money in the sign business - - he also had a heart of gold.

    Anyway, I was thinking of Bert as I was watching the recent political conventions. We'll get around to how the two mesh together in a minute. During the years I knew Bert he was a one man shop. He told me how he started out in the business as a young man with a young family to support. He would not just sit in his shop and wait for work to come to him. He would get in his truck each night armed with plenty of business cards and estimate sheets. He would ride around the very populated North Jersey area where he was from and look for signs that had lights out or cracked faces or anything else that he knew he could fix. Then he would figure out a rough estimate for the repair and leave his card and the estimate under the door of the business to be found the next morning by the owner or manager.

    Bert said that about half the time he would get a call within a few days. The owner or manager would tell him that he/she had been meaning to get the darn thing fixed but had not gotten around to looking for someone to do the job and when could he get it done!

    The other half of the places where he left cards, he would call after a few days and sure enough, a lot of them said the same thing.

    So Bert slowly built a very good living for himself. It didn't happen overnight, but it did happen. He made all sorts of signs for his regular customers too and added the maintenance jobs to keep supplementing his income. He worked hard, but he was careful not to waste and when he eventually retired, as I said, he was quite comfortable.

    Well, now that I've told you about Bert, you are probably asking what he has to do with the recent political conventions and the current presidential campaign??

    I'll tell you. Listening to all the speeches and debates, all you hear is what the candidates are promising that government is going to do for us. Red or Blue it's all the same. They are going to fix the economy, pay down the debt, reduce taxes, improve education, end the wars and each of them has the best plan...blah, blah blah, blah blah!

    But the truth is they cannot do anything without the Berts of this world. They can talk until they are blue (and red) in the face. They can shout. They can call each other all sorts of vile names. They can pound their fists. They can run attack ads. But not a single one of them can make a sale!

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    It's up to you to make that sale because without you out there every day drumming up business just like Bert, nothing will happen - - without you there is no economic recovery or better education or whatever else it is that you would like to see happen in this country.

    The political speeches and debates are fun to watch. They are nothing more or less than reality TV and the reality is that they have the power to bring this country to its knees with their fighting and squabbling and greed - - but only if we let them. Only if we sit back and become complacent and wait, yet again, for the politicians to do what they promise.

    Bert would tell you to go out and make the recovery happen every day in your own way, however small. He would tell you that you are the most important economic indicator even if you are only a one man shop. He would tell you that whether you are a sign shop or a distributor or a product manufacturer - - if you think the politicians are going to make it happen for you then you are doomed to failure.

    The Sign World show will be here in a few short weeks. In just three days in Atlantic City you can learn about pricing and overhead and sales and digital printing and lots more. You can walk the exhibit hall floor and talk to people who have first-hand knowledge about the machines and products they are selling. You can ask questions and make sales. You can make comparisons.

    Whether you are attending the show or exhibiting at the show - - only your presence can make something happen. Sitting at home or in your office isn't going to start you or your company on a path to economic recovery.

    The economic recovery starts with you. If you're not there, there's a good chance that your competitor(s) will be. And just like Bert, they'll be making things happen. See you in Atlantic City, Nov. 29, 30 & Dec. 1.

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