What Should One Know BEFORE Entering the Signage Industry?

What Should I know BEFORE I go in to the sign business?

While this SignForce blog space is generally focused on the benefits of signs, the pitfalls of signs and general selling of signs, this post will be different as the writer was recently approached by a family looking to get into the signage industry, and asked about it.

After my initial shock – wondering why would any ‘sane‘ individual – the mom who spoke to me looked and sounded VERY sane – WANT to get into the signage industry.

It is quite possible that I was stressed at the time and thus I was too quick to forget that this was me about 22 years ago. Someone looking to get out of the financial / consulting industry I was in and looking for a new challenge – they do say be careful what you ask for!

I guess that at a time when business is tough I had forgotten all the positive aspects of the signage industry that have served me well for the past two decades, and was more focused on the day to day challenges I was facing.

As a colleague recently mentioned, the signage industry is not for feint of heart, sane people ho want a boring, predictable, regular job where you have structure and know days in advance what your schedule – and life – will look like.

Signage is an extremely dynamic business where, if one is not disciplined, your daily schedule can change every other minute.

On the positive side the signage industry requires one to be a jack of many trades, possibly a master of one or two, with the ability to design, work with multiple materials and SEE (visualize) some things that don’t exist – in the sense that one has to be able to imagine what the end product (that does not exist) will look like AND be able to work backwards from what the end product looks like through the step by step manufacturing process – which may change when actual production begins, so lets add in that being in the signage industry one needs to be extremely FLEXIBLE – to the start which includes determining what materials will WORK to achieve the desired outcome. All this in the most cost effective manner.

While traditional sign writers in the 21st century tended to be artisans that came through the ranks of artists who did some apprenticeship and could go into a one man business, modern signage is more computer generated, and more business like than ever before.

For a modern sign business to be successful the head of the business tends to need to be a marketer and sales person with a BIG PICTURE mentality where one is able to talk to, motivate, lead, inspire and deal with the widest possible range of people – from the MD of a large publicly listed business to an ego driven politician who will never have done a days work in your industry but will always know how to do it better, to the slowest, lowest paid employee in a business who may be required to do the simplest and most important of tasks, without which the work comes to a sudden – not even grinding – HALT.

The need to be able to get all individuals to work together is possibly the second largest challenge, second only to the need to be able to turn off and take time away from work in the modern world where one tends to be expected to be online, on call and available 25 / 8 / 366.

On the other hand, if one possesses the necessary mind set and skill set and is prepared to put in some HARD WORK, working what can be insane hours with little gratitude or reward, then signage can be the most amazing and rewarding industry.

Working in signage can be amazing because it opens doors for a person with a flair for design to put their skills into practical operation. There are seldom two days in a row where signage wok is the same. Signage requires one to think out of the box a LOT more than one would expect, possibly because the industry is dynamic, and client’s can have some EXTREME expectations, from how long a sign will take to produce to what the sign will cost to how long the sign will last to what the sign may look like. 

The signage industry has almost ZERO limitations in design. This means that ten sign businesses – or ten estimators within one sign business – can quote the same sign and come up with 10 different designs, 10 different costs and 10 different structures. It cannot be stressed enough that all 10 designs will ALL look the same on paper, and they will surely ALL work – at least in the short term – but they can (and most likely WILL) be VASTLY different in design, (finished) look, appeal and cost. This is one of the reasons it is so difficult for buyers of signs to compare the offerings of one sign business with another if they do not have detailed specifications on EXACTLY what materials will be used in the manufacturing of the sign, as well as how they will be assembled.

Signage is also an ancient and static yet changing and dynamic industry. Signage is possibly the third oldest profession – ok, that is an exaggeration, especially as physical businesses needed to come first – because it has been around a LONG time. Some ancient techniques are still used to manufacture certain signs, yet there are also new and exciting developments, new materials and a lot more digital processes used in modern day signage.

BUT, even with the new materials and the -progress of digital signs, for the large part signage is still an EXTREMELY LABOUR – read that as PEOPLE – intensive and oriented business. Yes, machines can make a number of modern signs, BUT machines (and AI) have limitations that may mean the client’s reject the signage or the machines cannot make signs with certain materials or they cannot be used to DESIGN certain signs or processes.

This means that until AI can (a) design and think out of the box, (b) get on it’s – their? -hands and knees and climb ladders and drill holes that are nor necessarily ‘straight’ – people employed in the signage industry are sort of secure in the knowledge that like many artisans – plumbers, electricians and the like, the physical elements of the work will not be done away with in the foreseeable future.

SignForce believes that the market is large enough for all competitors, and collaborators, so we at SignForce work closely with a number of our competitors. Because this is our philosophy, we are glad to assist any folks that are as insane as we are and looking to enter the signage with information on the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the signage industry as we see it.

For more information – or for signs – contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting our website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Is Seeing STILL Believing?

Should you believe your eyes?

In the modern world (is it modern?) of 2022 can and should one believe your yes – also know as should you believe what you see?

It is difficult for the writer to disassociate from the war that is raging thousands of miles away across the planet in Ukraine – yet already this war has a huge impact here in South Africa. This impact is on many fronts, financially, politically , emotionally and for many physically.

While we would like to think that the world has advanced in the last 80 years since WWII, this war highlights just how habitual, gullible and emotional us humans can be.

While the writer is not sure that the Russians are any more wrong than the Ukrainians in their political and other opinions, from a simple layman’s perspective, it is the Russians who went into Ukraine, and no matter how pre-emptive their action is intended to be, it seems to be seen as wrong by the vast majority of the western world. As an over simplified example, If I break into your house, unless your house is on fire and I am getting you out, the vast majority of the world would say I am a thief and should not be there.

When I look at both sides and the amount of information – and more specifically DISinformation – that is being produced, it is very difficult for me to not think about the second world war where propaganda was the name of the game and the people were intentionally kept ignorant.

Are we, in the 2022 world of instant communication, where everyone with a hand held device is capable of being an ON SITE reporter, any MORE informed than our forefathers from the 1940’s were? Are we any less ignorant? Are we less likely to believe the propaganda – aka disinformation – than our ancestors were?

It is for these reasons I question whether we as a species are capable of learning, capable of change and whether we are simply habitual, stupid and emotional beings, where our habits and lack of emotional intelligence will lead us to BELIEVING what we WANT TO BELIEVE, especially if we have SEEN IT with our own two eyes. As my darling late grandmother used to say, “if someone took the time to write it it MUST be true.”, NOT!!

It is for this reason that I posed the simple question “Should you believe your eyes?”

We want to believe what we see is true. In fact in many ways I do think that we NEED to believe what we see is true. The sad reality is that a LOT of what we see, especially in the ‘modern’ world of instant, emotive, DISinformation, is NOT true. What we see is so easily doctored, altered, edited, ‘Adobied’, ‘Photoshopped’ or however you want to refer to it, to create an image – whether that is a single sill photo or an entire hours long documentary or movie – that will play with and into our emotions, causing us humans to act in an emotive manner so that we play directly into the hands of the developer / poster of the information.

This manipulation technique is used extensively by amongst others, marketers, politicians, charlatans, snake oil salesmen (and woman if you like – in fact, more often, more women than men, but that is not a point to discuss in this article) – in order to get US (the viewers) to do their bidding, whether that is buy their products, vote them into power or whatever.

The manipulation generally follows the line of showing something that is out of alignment with the viewers sense of being. This causes emotions to rise. Then showing a possible SOLUTION to the raised emotions, and then closing the deal.

A large portion of this manipulation – is achieved through visual stimulus – hence being wary of trusting what you see.

We at SignForce have also seen this use of manipulation in the signage business over the years. While SignForce is sadly far from perfect, we do our best to supply our clients with quality work that exceeds our client’s expectations, and when this does not happen, we go back to rectify.

This striving to achieve is not something you will find on the SignForce website (http://www.signforce.co.za) or on our quote sheets. It is (hopefully) evident when talking to the staff of SignForce, but even then, unless you are looking for this ‘unspoken’ information, it is easy to miss.

The above is not to say that we don’t have many excellent competitors that operate with as high levels of integrity and service excellence, it is only to lay the groundwork to understand that while MANY sign businesses strive to do their best for their clients, there are those that strive more to do the best for themselves than they do for their client’s. This is sadly often at a cost – sometimes VERY HIGH – to the client.

While one can argue that Caveat Emptor – let the buyer beware – ALWAYS applies, it is a sad reality in the purchase of signs and signage that we as humans are so programmed to buy standardized, off the shelf products that provide instant relief, that we apply the same logic to the signs we buy – and the visuals we SEE of said signs.

At SignForce we refer to this as BUYING THE PICTURE.

Buying the picture refers to if you see the picture of the proposed signage from supplier one, and you see the picture of the proposed signage from supplier two and you see the picture of the proposed signage from supplier three, and they all look pretty similar, if not identical, it is simple to (incorrectly!) believe that proposed sign one at cost of X is the same as proposed sign two at the cost of 1/2X is the same as proposed sign three at 2X. Using this logic, it is easy to believe that proposed signage one is the median, and thus the most ‘reasonably’ safe purchase – or investment – while proposed signage two may be considered “CHEAP” and proposed signage three is seen as “EXPENSIVE” – while, in reality, proposed signage one may in fact be the worst option and proposed signage three the best option, DEPENDING ON THE MATERIALS USED AND THE METHOD OF CONSTRUCTION and the client service and possible guarantees offered. But HOW do we as buyers know what questions to ask? This will be a topic for a further discussion.

If you are in the market for any signs that make you or your business visible, are prepared to pay fair prices and are looking for peace of mind that a company that has been around for over two decades and is know to ‘make good’ when we mess up, then SignForce could be the signage business you want to partner up with for all your signage – aka custom visual communications.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call SignForce on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp #SignForce on +27 (0)82 558 6413.

Find out more about how SignForce can serve you by visiting the #SignForce website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Is LUCK necessary to make a Business Successful?

What does it take for a business to be a success? (or survive?)

Gary Player, the famous golfer, is also famous for saying something like “being successful requires a measure of luck”, and “the more I practice the luckier I seem to get!”

While this comment was specifically made about Gary Player’s golf career, I was wondering if it applies to every aspect of a successful business as well.

Life has taught me that a LOT of success in business comes from doing the same repetitive, ‘boring” things over and over and over and over and over and over again. This is because it is the “boring”, “repetitive” actions that are needed to keep a business functioning. Things like accounting, marketing, selling and doing the work!

A great man named Dennis Kaplan once said that every person who is successful has to do the work (similar to what Gary Player says as this becomes practice which can lead to ‘luck’), work hard, focus and also needs an element of LUCK.

It is the LUCK part that intrigues me most. In the context of a sport, luck can easily be attributed to hours of practice and training, as this practice and training hones the muscles, hones one’s reflexes and makes one better at the action that is being repeated.

There is also a level of mental focus that is required. If one looks at the top sports people, it is often their mental attitude – and fortitude – that separates number 1 from number 100. This is one reason the field of Sports Psychology dos so well.

So how do these factors apply to business?

Is it LUCK that a particular client finds a specific supplier? If we focus on marketing efforts, then LUCK could possibly be one’s ability to get into the prospect’s line of sight, or keep one’s business front of mind. But is this really luck? If it is luck it could be interpreted that the business with the biggest budget will ALWAYS win as they have the ability to keep one front of mind. BUT is this true for all businesses?

Could it be LUCK that a specific prospect finds your business, contacts your business and then decides to go ahead with your business to do the job? This one is specifically questionable when one does not necessarily have much influence over the decision process.

For an example lets look at a business like SignForce.

We can market all we can, as we have control over this.

Once we have marketed we have no control over the prospect clicking on, calling or emailing SignForce. This step I would put down to luck.

Once the prospect DOES contact SignForce we then have some control over the next step which is seeing the client (if necessary), advising the prospective client and quoting the prospect.

The next step is once again out of SignForce’s hands, as this step depends on the client’s budget, the competitive quotes the prospect received (we always assume every prospect gets the standard three quotes which is considered good governance) and what quality the prospect is prepared to settle for, assuming that (as is standard) all three competing companies have quoted on the SAME sign(s). The last one is a little challenging as history has shown that there are MANY ways to quote on the same signs, but they all have different pro’s and con’s, many of which the prospect would have no clue about, simply because they would need to be sign specialists to know about all sign materials and their pro’s and con’s.

If the prospect does decide to work with SignForce all steps going forward ARE in the hands of SignForce so this is where practice (and hence no longer luck) comes in, as the more we do the work to the client’s approval – this involves quality, life span, delivery as per agreed deadline and many other factors – the more likely SignForce is to get additional work from the client.

Of course one issue with the signage business is that unless the client is expanding, the repeat cycle of business is between five and seven years. This means a sign business needs to continuously market in order to fill the five to seven years, and then some.

At SignForce we know we don’t know it all. We do practice a lot, and we tend to get better the more we practice, which is one reason people could explain why SignForce has been in business under the same management for over 20 years.

If you are in the market for signs – anything that makes you and your business visible – SignForce has been around assisting businesses to be visible for over 20 years, andd we will gladly assist your business as well.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call SignForce on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp SignForce on +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about how SignForce can help make your business visible by visiting our website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Why Sign AKA Are Signs a Worthwhile Investment?

Why Sign?  Why use Signage?  Are signs a worthwhile investment?

Good quality, innovative signage is not cheap. In fact, if truth be told, good quality, effective and innovative signs can be quite expensive.

SignForce recently had a prospective client ask for a quote and artist impression so he could get a rush job done. The rush is all on his side. When we quoted what we believe is a very fair price, the prospect came back to advise SignForce that his previous supplier would do the work for 1/5th of the price.

When the SignForce price was reviewed it was found to be fair and realistic.

Historically and on average – average being VERY IMPORTANT as this is the median on a bell graph where there can be a drastic variance between the most costly and the least costly signs – which means an average can be extremely misleading – the higher the overall cost and selling price of a sign, the lower the contribution from material alone.

On AVERAGE material cost ranges from around 7 to 10% of the TOTAL SELLING price of a sign. This means that if the material cost X, the final cost will be between 10X and 14X. That is 10 to 14 TIMES more than the cost of the material!

This may seem excessive and even irrelevant, however when someone gives – ok lets say provides to be politically correct – your business with a sign for material at say cost or even cost times 2 or 3 or even 5, especially for a small sign, the chances are the supplier is running at a loss.

Lets look at an example.

Lets say the prospect is quoted R350 for a sign where the material realistically costs R141– assuming the material is delivered – and the supplier is effectively charging around 2.5 times the cost of material. One could argue that the material will not be fully used so there is a possibility of some material being added back to stock. HOWEVER this is only a POSSIBILITY. What happens in the event of unexpected or unplanned #loadshedding when the vinyl is almost completely cut and is lost and needs to be recut – these events need to be budgeted for.

What costs are involved in making that R350 sign? I am using this number as this is what the prospect told us he was prepared to pay. The material – bought per running meter – cost R141. This is material that has not been cut. The material has to be cut – this means someone has to program a computer program that then needs to talk to the digital cutter. The vinyl needs to be placed into the cutter, setup and checked. Guess what, all this takes TIME.

Once the vinyl has been cut it needs to be what we in the signage business refer to as WEEDED. Weeding is the removal of the excess vinyl from the cut vinyl – sadly signage has a HUGE amount of waste – and then the vinyl needs to have application tape applied to it. Application tape is tape (paper or vinyl) that allows the vinyl (sign) to be applied to the final destination – be it metal or glass or Aluminium or whatever. Guess what, this is a MANUAL task that, being manual, requires TIME, and as importantly, can easily be result in the sign being ruined, requiring additional material to be cut and weeded.

At this time we are not allocating any COST to the TIME, however at SignForce we firmly believe that salaries need to be fair for EVERYONE because we are all in this business together and thus we all share in any profits. The point here is TIME cost MONEY, and this is not yet been accounted for, and the SignForce staff are paid a fair, living wage.

Once the vinyl has been weeded and application tape has been applied to the weeded vinyl, the vinyl needs to be applied to the final surface. Now in the case of this specific prospect, the final destination of the vinyl would be approximately 15 kilometers away. That is a one way trip. Now a 30 kilometers return trip in terms of current fuel costs works out to approximately R65.

This puts our cost at R141 plus R65 equaling R206. Add to this the cost of parking at R10, we are looking at a cost of R216. This means that selling the sign at R350 means there is, at BEST, a contribution of R144.

R144 may look fantastic if one only compares it to the flat cost of the material. HOWEVER, when one INCLUDES the cost of TIME – and when one considers that this small sign would take approximately 25 minutes for artwork, another 5 – 10 minutes for possible changes and revisions the prospect may require. About 20 – 40 minutes to cut and weed and applying application tape, as well as approximately 30 – 60 minutes to get to site. So we are in for approximately 2 HOURS – at a massive ‘PROFIT’ (PLEASE NOTE – IT IS NOT PROFIT BUT CONTRIBUTION – of R72 per hour.

This R72 per hour needs to pay for lights and water, time for staff, insurance, mess-up’s, coffee, toilet paper, soap, telephone AND all the other little (non existent?) costs that are necessary to run a business.

The point of this blog is that while as a customer you are entitled – in fact almost OBLIGED – to take the BEST COST option for your business. This means that if you believe the cost effective solution would meet your needs almost as much as the most expensive solution, (ALMOST as you do expect some variance if one is six times more costly than the other), YOU WOULD (of necessity) go for the most cost effective solution.

Of course this makes the supplier that is awarded the work very happy as they now have some income. What they are not necessarily aware of is that THEY are in fact PAYING for YOUR SIGN. This means that they are losing money. It may be a little at a time, but as soon as the supplier gets a LOT of orders, they will lose a LOT, possibly even too much money.

Time for another example.

Lets say the signage company makes a loss of US$1 per sign sold. That is not necessarily a lot when one sells one sign a day. But what happens if they sell 1,000 signs in a week. Suddenly they have lost US$1,000 that week. It adds up and gets very costly.

What the small loss means is that when something goes wrong, or when you want to get a second sign, you, as the buyer, are either put out when the supplier has to more than double their price – a natural reaction because you have a base price and suddenly that is lost in the wind – OR the supplier simply never comes back. The supplier is happier to weather the bad PR than to come back because they simply don’t have the funds to come back.

The reality is WELL MADE, QUALITY SIGNS can be COSTLY, but COSTLY is RELATIVE.

Relative is simple. If you get a quote for X and a second quote for 100X, 100X is expensive relative to X.

On the other hand, if the 100X sign lasts 5 times longer and brings in five time the feet that result in turnover of 1,000X, is the sign still relatively expensive?

Or, from a different point of view, if the 100X sign saves you TIME and cost on marketing, is the sign relatively expensive?

A short survey revealed that MANY small to medium businesses STRUGGLE with marketing. They struggle with the time marketing takes. They STRUGGLE as much with finding relevant content to market with.

EFFECTIVE signs and signage are the most COST EFFECTIVE marketing tool I know of.

Why is effective signage the most cost effective tool? Very simple.

An effective sign needs a once off payment – you can change your sign as often as you like or as often as your budget allows, but – that once off payment will get you a sign that will last for approximately three to seven years, with NO EFFORT on your part and no additional cost after the first payment.

Effective signs are wonderful marketing tools because they TELL or SHOW prospective CLIENTS WHAT you do and HOW you do it? What would the cost be to get a PERSON to do this same work, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for over 500 weeks?

Effective signs are then best marketing tools because they never complain. They never let you down and they are ALWAYS ready to work. Please tell if this can apply to ANY of the people you employ – even if you are a one man show and you only employ yourself. We humans NEED to sleep!

Effective signs allow prospective clients, prospective patients and anyone who VIEWS the SIGN to know where the business is located – well at least in most cases.

Is it fair to expect a business to sell you a sign at a loss. No!

Are you wrong to buy the cheapest sign you can – No, BUT this depends on a number of factors such as quality, lifespan, pleasure – or otherwise – of dealing with the supplier, and what, IF ANY, other benefits there are to dealing with a specific supplier. BENEFITS can include advice, QUARANTEES, proximity, ability to come back to fix errors and possibly a number of other benefits.

If you are in the market for quality signs from a reputable sign business that charges a FAIR price for the signs they produce and will come back when necessary, contact SignForce and lets see if we have enough common ground to forge a mutually beneficial business relationship – in other words, let SignForce advise and quote your business on the effective signs you want.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call SignForce on 27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp SignForce on +27 (0)82 558 6413.

Find out more about SignForce by visiting the SignForce website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Handling Business Cycles – especially in the signage Industry

How do small businesses handle the cycles of business All businesses and most industries have some sort of cycle.

Some cycles are more easily identified than others because they are related to weather seasons which are clearly defined.

Some business cycles related to the product, for example more ice cream is sold in summer. Some business cycles are less define, nor being clearly related to any specific or identifiable trend. Signage seems to fall into the last category.

Now this comment may be a lot off center as it us being written by a South African during the rule of the anc. This means that the comments may be country or political policy specific, as the anc have proven to be firm communists, anti business, anti progress and 1,000% corrupt. Apparently South Africa is one of the most difficult countries to trade in due to extremely excessive red tape and inconsistent supply of electricity. All these factors make the (current) work environment in South Africa exceptionally challenging, which may mean that our business cycles are being influenced by politics and foolish, corrupt politicians more than business cycles.

The above disclaimer aside, signage in South Africa seems to be impacted by cycles related to the festive season, public holidays, sometimes weather and a lot due to the public mood related to the economy.

When cycles are predictable it is sometimes easier to plan for the upcoming surge or drop in anticipated business. When the cycles are unpredictable it is much more challenging to plan correctly.

At SignForce we have focused on being abreast of the latest technology, providing quality signs at fair prices and keeping our overhead costs as low as possible. While we have been in business for over 20 years, whether this is a good or poor strategy will surely only become evident in time.

If you are looking for signs that work and can be seen as as investment, contact SignForce.

You can contact SignForce by emailing info@signforce.co.za or call SignForce on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp SignForce on +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting our website at http//www.signforce.co.za

The importance of WHITE SPACE for Signage

Wayfinding sign, wayfinding signs, directory sign, directory signs, modular sign systems,

Way Finding

Howimportantis WHITE SPACEfor Signs?

To make this a little easier to read: How important is WHOTE SPACE for signs?

What is  WHITE SPACE? And why is it important when designing LEGIBLE signs?

It is said that music is less about the notes and more about the space between the notes as this is where the sound we hear resides.

The same thing about white space can be said with regards to legible signage.

Signs are simple. Good signs that are legible and do their intended WORK WELL may be a little less simple.

Good signage needs to deliver on the signs intended purpose. A signs purpose can vary from getting feet into a store to informing people of positions or offers to directing people to a specific location or in a specific direction.

One common factor in all signs if they are to WORK is that they NEED to be EASILY LEGIBLE.

The more ‘visual noise, the less the sign is EASILY LEGIBLE, and in some circumstances, the sign is not legible at all. Visual noise is the equivalent of NOOPENSPACE (or NO OPEN SPACE) around the intended message.

Visual noise can make text or the pictures bleed into each other, making a sign difficult or even impossible to read. Just like a paragraph that is too long (like this one?) a sign that is difficult to read will most likely not achieve its objective.

If you are in the market for SIGNS that WORK at fair prices (read that as not the cheapest, but good value with guaranteed work), then SignForce is here to assist you.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call SignForce on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp SignForce on +27 (0)82 558 6413.

Find out more about SignForce by visiting our website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Is it possible to always swim UPSTREAM?

Is it possible to survive while bucking a trend.

Conversely, is it possible to survive by following popular opinion?

Having a discussion with a fellow contractor it seems that the popular view on signage is for many people to go for the cheapest option.

This is VERY understandable, as money currently seems to be tight for almost EVERYONE.

The difficulty with accepting the cheapest quote is you may land up getting exactly what you pay for – as in you may find that the sign that you get at a bargain price in fact doesn’t last very long which will mean that you may land up paying twice for the cheap signs to last as long as the guaranteed signs. But enough of a ramble, this is not the intention of this blog.

The current trend is POPULAR. Do what the masses ask for – or demand.

The difficulty with following the popular trend is that the prices are often set by what the BUYER believes is reasonable. This subjective opinion is based on the buyers FEELINGS, but has absolutely nothing to do with COSTS.

Now for longevity or sustainability of a business, one cannot sell below cost, as if one does, you are only going to go broke at the pace of your loss – the smaller the loss, the longer it will take to go bust.

General practice for costing generally entails calculating the COST of all inputs – material, labour and whatever INPUT costs there are, add your mark-up and you get your selling price. There are obviously cost variations depending on one’s personal circumstances.

If a sign business is not quoting this way they are not covering all costs, and if all costs are not covered, how do they survive in the long term?

So what is a business to do? Follow the trend and slowly drown and go out of business, or feel as though you are always swimming against the stream and get the tit bits that come through by sticking to time tested quoting methods and marketing like mad?

If you are in the market for signs that will make your business visible, are prepared to pair fair value and want the security of knowing the business you deal with has been around for a while (over 20 years) and is intending to be around for many more, contact SignForce on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0) 82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting our website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Hoe to REVIEW SignForce.co.za on Google Business

How to place a GOOGLE BUSINESS REVIEW for SignForce.co.za

Like almost every modern business SignForce do our best to market our sign business and signage services in every possible way.

One way that we find very beneficial is for prospects and clients to rate SignForce on Google Business.

Because Google reviews are so important to our marketing effort – and, being human, we often forget to ask clients to rate SignForce, when we do remember to ask for Google Reviews one of our biggest challenges is when tech dinosaurs ask HOW do we rate SignForce.

After much research and many tries – it is not as simple from a developers perspective because, once again being human, we look for the easiest way to do repetitive work, which means cookies on our machines tend to direct us to the back end of the Google Business site, which is not helpful for clients and prospects.

Aside from Google Reviews being a helpful search tool for prospective clients looking for SignForce – or any supplier of almost any product almost anywhere in the world – Google Reviews also help businesses like SignForce because the largely unsolicited reviews are definitely unbiased, and help prospective clients see the good and bad – mostly fair – reviews of SignForce. It does bare some ugly truths about the failings of SignForce, but we at SignForce are of the opinion that these negative reviews can only help us make, sometimes unrecognized, corrections to how we operate.

If you are willing to assist SignForce with our marketing, or have had such a bad experience that you are willing to take the time to comment publicly, the following are the steps to rate SignForce.

Step 1: Search for SignForce on Google

Step 2: In the right of your business search results, click the button / icon / text Review or Write Review

Step 3: You should then get a page with 5 stars and the next page you can enter a comment if you wish.

Alternatively, if you are more tech savvy, are logged into your Google account OR know all the details in order to log into your Google account, you can click on the following link and it should work.

https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=ChIJIUcQdcxylR4RLwxpFXf-EiA

If or when you are in the market for signs or require advice on signage, contact SignForce on either info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)82 558 6413 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting our website at http://www.signforce.co.za

How to Thrive in a World Gone Mad

Written as parts of the world burn because Russia – or more specifically Putin – has decided to destabilize the world.  Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the people of the Ukraine.

 

This may be pure politics or greed or stupidity or any combination of the above and more, but the false narrative that he is feeding the world, so we can only assume he believes it, is setting the entire world up for a potentially devastating near term future.

It is not impossible that putin has calculated all the potential costs and fallout of his actions, and with a fairly good reading of the incompetence of other world (so called) leaders, he knows not one country is going to do a damn thing to stop him.

That is all well and good for a small man in a stone house, but people, possibly many, are going to die, with many more losing all freedoms, as dictators are known to remove freedoms in order to entrench their own agenda.

What is difficult for the writer to comprehend is that while a corner of the world burns, with the tsunami of fallout already set in motion, even though it may take days, weeks or months for the wave to hit the South African shores, life in South Africa continues as normal.

Normal in South Africa means that the incompetent, (unless we are talking about being thieves, as that they are very good at) anc led government will continue to impose pathetic legislation that will help further destroy the South African economy.

The South African economy where unemployment is already at a dangerous level because it could lead to revolution.

Apartment from ranting about the world gone mad, this blog is to try and figure where the world is moving and what possible impact the current political play will pose on all small businesses around the world, and specifically in South Africa.

From the perspective of the writer based in South Africa the new normal moving forward will be much of the same as it has been in the past few years with the anticipated rise in fuel prices making the poor poorer and eroding the already shrinking middle class.

Running a business with unprecedented high fuel prices as well as way above (official) inflation increases in electricity and other utility costs – mainly so the thieving anc can continue to steal and pay their comrades unrealistically high fees for doing nothing to help the burning country.

This leaves the man on the street pretty much on his own, to do what he can to survive and avoid the storm that is all around.

As a small business one thing you can do is advertise. Yes, I know, this tends to be the last thing that you feel you can afford, as all funds get burned through long before advertising comes to mind. This is not something limited to small businesses. Signage (or the signage element of advertising) is often the last, post budget busting spend that marketers think about. But be that as it may, advertising is the one thing smaller businesses can do in order to increase their business – turnover and profits – and get seen.

We are fortunate to live in a time where marketing can be done at a relatively low cost if one is prepared to invest the TIME. While advertising on paid media – Google Ads or Facebook paid ads as an example) may give faster returns – as in more people will see you faster, but at a cost per click or something similar, free advertising on Google or Facebook is something I am certain our small business predecessors would have longed to have.

Signage is also a great way to make small business’s visible. While signs can be costly up front, they tend to last a LONG time and once up, seldom need any maintenance in order to keep being effective.

Yes, being a sign maker I am biased, however in reality if one looks at physical businesses, while the type, style and complexity of business (especially retail) signs has changed substantially over the last decade or three, signs still tend to do what they are created to do – see one’s business, create awareness and get feet through the door.

If you have a physical business and want to thrive and grow, especially in these tough economic times, contact SignForce to see if and how we can assist, both with the physical signs and with financing options.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 90)82 558 6413

Find out more about SignForce by visiting our website at http://www.signforce.co.za


Caveat Emptor – Let the Buyer Beware

Ever heard the Latin term ‘Caveat Emptor”?

For the uninformed, it basically translates to “Let The Buyer Beware”!

This is great advise in every situation, and can even apply to LARGE businesses, as the writer has been reminded over the past few weeks.

SignForce has been around a few decades, and in that time we have prided ourselves on providing great signs combined with the best service we can at fair (not cheap) prices.

In order to provide great signs, we tend to use more of the products supplied by the ‘expensive’ suppliers, mostly in the HOPE that their more expensive products are of better quality and sometimes, when we forget, because we mistakenly want to believe these multinational suppliers – I am referring to two in particular, 3M and Avery – will actually honor their guarantees or warrantees or whatever other current word they use to lull us buyers into the false belief they may actually grow a conscience and promote in a way that is not misleading and when one is misled apologize and possibly even make good.

Maybe it is the writer’s own prejudice or maybe it is from experience over the years but it seems to me that the big boys will NEVER honor their written guarantees, as they always have some clause that makes them totally unaccountable – just like South African politicians. I wonder who learned from whom?

With a recent product failure the supplier was quick to point out that the product we were using was not intended for the purpose we were using it for – surprise surprise, especially since when we were first introduced to this new, miracle product which is only SLIGHTLY more costly than the traditional method – take that as a price increase of over 5.000% – we were NEVER told that this product, which was promoted in a very specific way – was ONLY to be used on vehicles. I cannot for the life of me understand WHY anyone would use this product on vehicles, but apparently if I looked at the fine print on their website – like I was NOT told to do and like I would know where to navigate to find the product, and please note NO warning appeared on the VERY extensive label – never mind the waste of time, as I am supposed to believe the person representing the product has been adequately trained and informed, the list goes on,.

Anyway, to cut this rant short, SignForce DO honor our guarantees, as that is what we believe is the right thing to do. We do have failures – fortunately not too often, but we have been around long enough to know that our suppliers will not honor their guarantees, so we have to charge a little more in order to make sure we do honor our guarantees.

For signs that work and guarantees that are honored contact SignForce not on info@signforce.co.za or call us on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413