The Online Magazine For The Sign Trade
e-NewsLetter Volume 9 Issue 9
Thursday, May 1, 2008

In this issue:


Securing Your Business Future

    "An economist's guess is liable to be as good as anybody else's."
      --- Will Rogers

I'm certain we've told the story of the man who was so successful at selling hotdogs that he was in the process of buying another hotdog cart and taking another spot near Wall Street. His son, a Harvard graduate, came to visit him and when he saw that his father was getting ready to buy another cart, he protested. "Dad," the son said. "What are you dong? Don't you know that we are in a recession? You can't make it selling hotdogs here!"

The old man thought, "Well, my son is a college graduate with an MBA. I guess I'll close up my operation." So, the old man took his cart and went home leaving all those people lined up around the block waiting for his famous hot dogs.

    "I like to tell people that all of our products and business will go through three phases. There's vision, patience, and execution."
      --- Steve Ballmer

So the economy appears to be tanking. The media has been reporting for months now that we are either in a recession or heading there quickly. The obvious signs are in the price of a loaf of bread, vegetables, and of course, gas.

Those of us who've been there before have the patience to wait this out. We know that it comes in cycles and that the influences to economic changes are greater than oil prices, the President, or wars. It is a complex combination of things, but we always get through it and are soon again enjoying the "good times."

    "A business with an income at its heels furnishes always oil for its own wheels"
      --- William Cowper

During this economic slump, there are at least three things that you can do (and should do) to secure the future of your business.

First, your business may reach a point when it is time to make some cuts --- to tighten the belt. There are several areas that you could find to cut to bring the belt up a couple of holes, but one that shouldn't be cut is your marketing budget. Most people erroneously cut this line item first and that is why you shouldn't. You can often get some great deals on advertising during these times. You are also in a position to offer some great deals. People are looking for your kind of advertisements.

    "Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed."
      --- Peter Drucker

Second, rethink where your time goes and the time of your team members. Watch closely for quality, what goes out of your shop. Also watch how you spend your time. Are you and your team being as productive as possible? Are there other products and services you could be offering with your time?

Remember, we're always preaching about diversifying your portfolio. Have you done it, or are you planning on it? At a large tradeshow a couple of months ago, I talked with countless shops, suppliers and distributors who shared that were either crying in their soup or had more business than they knew what to do with. The one thing in common with the success stories was that they had a well diversified portfolio of clientele and product lines. Regardless what the media drudges out on a daily basis, the split on "Business is great" and "Woe is me," was a 50/50 split at the beginning of April 2008.

    "I get to play golf for a living. What more can you ask for - getting paid for doing what you love."
      --- Tiger Woods

Finally, use this downturn for an honest assessment of you and your business. Are you married to the right business? Does it fit your talents, knowledge, and skill set? This is the time to determine what you want to do when you grow up. Do some research in your downtime and try to determine what is the next big thing in this industry and what it is that you can offer to be a part of it.

    "The other thing is quality of life; if you have a place where you can go and have a picnic with your family, it doesn't matter if it's a recession or not, you can include that in your quality of life."
      --- Jim Fowler

Advertiser - UL University
UL University workshops for Electric Sign Manufacturers

UL University is pleased to offer a number of workshops ideal for sign manufacturers. These workshops include Designing for Compliance to UL 48 and the newest addition to our schedule - Advanced Signs UL 48-201. These two workshops are currently being offered in 14 locations and new dates and locations are added daily.

UL University will conduct over 150 public workshops on 50 different on 50 different subjects in various cities around the United States alone. For a complete list of workshops, visit

If you register for any UL University workshop before June 1st, use discount code SGN08 and receive 15% off the registration fee. For more information, dates and locations, click here

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Feature Articles

Applying Floor Graphics: Beyond Pick ‘Em and Stick ‘Em
By Jennifer LeClaire

Different types of floors often demand different approaches to applying the floor graphic ­ if you want it to stick. Get the inside scoop.
Read the article...

The House That FUSE Built- LED Displays from Sidewalks To Unique Channel Letters
By Louis M Brill

FUSE decided it was time to increase their corporate profile and do so by using extensive LED signage to increase their visibility to their music fans and the public.
Read the article...

Show and Tell or Engage the Customer?
By John Boe

Customer involvement is a pivotal key to successful sales. Read on to see what we're talking about.
Read the article...

Looking for an article or trying to find an old one? Check out the article archive:
     View the archive now

Funny Signs

As seen on a apartment trash compactor somewhere in TN:

    "Caution: This Machine Has No Brain. Use Your Own!"

A sign from a zoo in San Francisco:

    "Do not sit, stand, or lean on zoo fences. If you fall, animals could eat you and that might make them sick. Thank you."

Sign in front of bankrupt store:

    "We Undersold Everybody"

We know those funny signs are out there. Take a moment and send them in to us and we'll share them with the world. Send all hysterical observations to:

Product Showcases

Ease your Installation for Signage Lighting-------ATG Electronics iLinear™ R60 LED Ribbon Strips
Conventional signs made by neon are high-voltage input and easy to fragile and break. iLinear™ R60 LED Ribbon Strip is a safe and eco-friendly LED lighting device to replace neon. With the features of ultra flexibility, long life span and high brightness, iLinear™ R60 will make your installation much easier, free from maintenance and most importantly, get an ideal expansion effect.
Read on...

Explan International Trade: Distributor Of TecBond® Aluminum Composite Panels
Just released to the US market. Offering the rigidity of heavy-gauge sheet metal in a lightweight but durable Aluminum Composite Material (ACM). The panels consist of two strong sheets of .012'' and .0083'' aluminum bonded to a polyethylene core and pre-painted with Kynar 500 or polyester finish. Available in sheet sizes of 4'x8', 4'x10' and 5'x10' and thicknesses of 2mm, 3mm and 4mm. The weather-resistant material is easy to fabricate and ideal for a wide range of signage, exhibit/display UV-Flat bed printing applications.
Read on...

Wholesale Only Sign Cabinets from AI Innovations
A complete line of Extruded Sign Cabinets with a variety of options to choose from including Architectural, Post and Panel, Routed Aluminum or Polycarve and Flex, or Rigid Faces. Whether you need a custom illuminated cabinet or something standard, AI Innovations is the only Source you need when it comes to Wholesale Only Sign Cabinets.
Read on...

A Chemical Etching System for Every Sign & Nameplate Need from CHEMCUT
Systems are available for etching aluminum, brass, copper, inconel, manganese, nickel, silver, steel, zinc and even titanium with conveyor widths from 20 to 60 inches. Click above for details.
Read on...

MAKROLON® Sheet & MAKROFOL® Film Polycarbonate Sign Products Featured in New Sheffield Plastics Voice-Over CD.
Sheffield Plastics Inc., a Bayer MaterialScience Company, now has an excellent new voice-over CD available that offers a detailed overview of two MAKROLON® Sheet products and MAKROFOL® film for the sign manufacturing industry.
Read on...

Advertise a product showcase monthly for $100 or an entire year for just $1000. Get with the program and see what you've been missing!
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Sign Industry News

Sign Marketplace Press Releases
See what's new and what's happening in our industry all in one place.
Go Now --->

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The Advertisers That Make Possible

Visit our friends and advertisiers that support this publication:

  Advance Corp, Braille-Tac™ Div.:
  Alcan Composites: Mesh Banners:
  CADlink Technology:
  DMS- LED Displays:
  Explan Sign Products:
  Graphtec America:
  International Sign Association (ISA):
  Roland DGA:
  Saw Trax Mfg, Inc.:
  Sheffield Plastics Inc:
  SignPro Systems:
  TLC Sign and Banner:
  United States Sign Council (USSC):
  Woodland-Sign Letters/Metal Letters:

We want your feedback! Let us know what we can do to serve you better. Send us your comments to us at: or give us a call at 407-656-5892

- Wishing you much success,

  Sean Scott
  Managing Editor

If your company wishes to sponsor this newsletter, please contact Sean Scott at:
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