"I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God's business."
--- Michael J. Fox
Our business is our business. Most of us don't want others poking their nose in the business we've nurtured from birth. It is ours and ours alone and we will run it the way we please.
Nevertheless, there may come a time when an outsider looking over our shoulder might not be a bad idea --- just to give another view of the business. This of course is a person that you trust and that you will allow to give honest, constructive feedback with the goal of helping you become more excellent in what you do.
"Only the mediocre are always at their best."
--- Jean Giraudoux
You see, we get so busy with our business, that we have a tendency to miss the mark we've set for ourselves. We no longer guide the business, but the business guides us. To call in an outsider --- a paid consultant, a trusted mentor, your spouse --- you are bringing in someone to look at the operation of your business with an eye for "leaks" and for providing suggestions on how to plug those leaks.
"He writes so well he makes me feel like putting my quill back in my goose."
--- Fred Allen
Striving for excellence is one of those elusive things that are usually better kept printed on a mission statement. It is good to show your customers, but that is about it. Unfortunately, we could all use a dose of internalizing that slogan and applying it to all aspects of our business. Doing this requires openness to criticism and a die-hard commitment to always pursuing it.
"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
--- Albert Einstein
Finding the right balance between running the day-to-day operations of the business and still guiding the business through the twists and turns toward your goals requires Superman-like stamina. At the same time, you have to constantly be looking at business trends, future opportunities, possible diversification strategies, and more.
To maintain this balance while maintaining the business, carve out a little time to be a kid again. This technique is practiced by some of the most successful business people today. Set aside some time to get quiet (about an hour or so) and with pad and pen in hand, let your imagination run wild. Write down every new idea that pops in your head. The goal is to jot down as many BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) as you can.
"I shall make electricity so cheap that only the rich can afford to burn candles."
--- Thomas Edison
With your new BHAGs in hand, fine-tune these goals over the next week to implement in your business. Not all will immediate apply, but that is okay. The point of the exercise is to get you to harness that creative side again and to get you off of the old standard business rut.
"Make no little plans: they have no magic to stir men's blood . . . . Make big plans; aim high in hope and work."
--- Daniel Burnham
Surviving and Profiting from the Economy, Intentionally
By Mark E Battersby
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.
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Marquee Magic: Marquees Become a Window to Stage and Screen
By Louis M Brill
The marquee's original form harkens back to a message reader board with a large back lit white translucent display with changeable black plastic letters that were rearranged for each new program within the theater. Today that can all be done via LED message centers directing the public's attention to what's playing inside the theater.
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In the window of a Kentucky appliance store:
"Don't kill your wife. Let our washing machine do the dirty work"
Inside a bowling alley in Walterboro, SC:
"Please be quiet. We need to hear a pin drop."
On a butcher's window in Boston:
If you've read these before, sorry, but if you haven't sent in any new ones, shame on you. We know those funny signs are out there. Why not share them with the world? Send your comments, suggestions, and hysterical observations to: email@example.com.
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