How will traditional sign companies such as #SignForce survive a depression?
For a while – even before covid – I have been of the opinion that signage has and will be a good industry moving forward, well beyond what is being referred to as IR4. This is not only because the signage industry has been around for many centuries, it has more to so with the reality that while industry is mostly simple work, it is seldom repetitive, making it difficult to mechanize. This combined with human nature being what it is, we (as humans) like to see and touch ‘things’, which bodes well for many sign manufacturing persons.
Post covid this may have changed to some degree because I expect there to be less people will working in traditional offices, so there will be less spend on traditional signage in offices – reception signs, decorative sandblast effect vinyl on windows and the like. The same applies to traditional ‘shopping’, as I am of the opinion that less and less shopping will take place in traditional stores – at least for the next 2 – 20 years.
All this said, signs, because they are multi faceted, cover many aspects of life. From street names and home numbers to commemorative plaques, shop signs and commercial properties. Signs are used and seen by many more people than we generally realize, and will continue to have a place moving forward, even if only to remind us to wash our hands or wear a mask.
In many ways, signs help many people find their way. As such, there is a good chance that signs will survive a downturn in the economy, but very likely not as the sign business were in the last 10 – 20 years.
In the past few years sign businesses have grown to take advantage of both economies of scale and the opportunities that have been created by poor government policies – especially here in South Africa.
The positive of larger businesses are potentially higher profits and greater access to certain clients – the clients perceived to have money! On the not so positive side gearing up a business means that there are greater risks and higher costs, especially, once again in South Africa, when it comes to the cost of labour.
All this boils down to the ability of a business to adapt, to remove the obstacles that hinder growth and to be able focus on the clients that are still out there.
At SignForce we are fortunate that the staff all have a stake in the business, so when it comes to belt tightening, it is done together. This collective stake also means that we are always looking for opportunities to team up with partners in order to help each other and our community at large.
If you or someone you know is in the market for signage, contact Arnold of SignForce on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27 (0)82 558 6413 and lets see how we can join forces for a brighter future.