What are you ‘buying’ when you choose a sign company?

What are you ‘buying into’ when you choose a sign company?

SignForce 'invisible' sign

Partially Invisible Sign  – do you notice how the top left seems unattached?

It seems the standard method used to purchase a sign (and many other high ticket items) is to decide what you want, or at least have a rough idea of what you want or are looking for, or what you want to achieve. This applies to signs as much as it does to purchasing appliances, cars or televisions, all considered high ticket purchases.

Well that is only partly true. While cars and the other listed purchases (especially in South Africa) are definitely almost always seen as high ticket items – even for entry level models, signs and SIGNAGE are very often seen as a cheap after thought – that is, until quotes are received.

But I am digressing so back to the standard method of purchase.

  1. Have an idea of what you are looking for

  2. Hopefully have an idea of what you want your purchase to achieve (I know this sounds obvious, as you purchase a fridge to keep your food fresher for longer, DUH, but not everyone knows or understands WHY they purchase a sign.)

  3. Look on Google for a possible keyword – lets use signage or pylons or cut out letter signs.

  4. Wait – generally less than 1 second – for Google to give you a list of suppliers you can contact. ** This is where the fun begins and will require it’s own paragraph

  5. Call, WhatsApp or email the suppliers listed on Google to give them an idea of what you are looking for and ask for a price.

  6. Copy and paste the same message to all the possible suppliers listed on the first page *** of Google. Not sure where to mention this but are you aware that the top and bottom (of every page) few sites listed or ‘recommended’ by Google are paid sites – what Google refers to as sponsored – also known as paid adverts. This is only a FYI comment but is worth noting as there are possible additional benefits and costs linked to businesses that do and do not use sponsored adverts.

  7. Wait for feedback from the potential suppliers you emailed or called, or follow up the email with a call to make the potential sign supplier aware that there is an incoming email.

  8. Get quotes from the potential suppliers who respond to your request for a quote

  9. Assess the cost from each supplier making the assumption that ALL quotes are for the same ‘thing’ ****, especially as you sent the same request to all potential suppliers.

  10. Choose a supplier based on cost and possibly on a picture they have provided. *****

  11. Delete all correspondence from the alternative suppliers

** When you get the list of possible, potential suppliers, you are doing a wide range, generic search. Your search has no specifics and doesn’t necessarily tell you much about the businesses you are approaching. A cursory search of the proposed supplier’s website should give you a little more information, but please always remember that we live in a world of INFORMATION, and not all information is necessarily true, so a general rule is to do a little more digging (formally known as due diligence), make a call and see what response and ‘feel’ you get.

*** How often do you search beyond page 1 of any Google search? How often do you look at the number of responses Google provides – and the time it took to get the list. For example, a simple search of cut out letters took 0.6 seconds – well under 1 second – to provide a list of 2,120,000,000 web sites that MAY provide a good match for the simple search. This is an overwhelming number and is why almost every business strives and pushes to be on page 1 of the world’s largest business directory – Google!

The challenge comes in that for this specific search only 2 of the listings on the front page MAY fulfil my requirements. As such I tweek the search to CUT OUT LETTER SIGNS. This search took 0.4 seconds and provided a list of 925,000,000 possible sites. A great reduction of over 1 billion sites, The refined search has made it simpler to find what I am looking for and thus made it very simple to find at least one supplier on page 1 that should meet my requirements, so why go to page 2? The reason is due to the limited retail territoryavailable on page 1. Only a limited number of potential suppliers can be listed on page 1 (or every page) so there is a high likelihood that good suppliers may also be found on pages that are past page 1.

**** making the assumption that ALL quotes are for the same ‘thing’”

When you contact multiple potential suppliers you will most likely assume that because they are listed on Google that they are capable of doing the job. What you have no idea of is if there is any additional service or benefit you can get from any of the suppliers. In order to find out if the suppliers can provide any additional ‘services’, a number of questions need to be asked. History shows asking these questions while TALKING to a person tends to give great benefit.

***** If you are making the decision of which supplier to use based purely on PRICE (and a possible picture) you may be doing yourself a great disservice, as you may be expecting to get the same quality and same sign from all the potential suppliers, but you would be shocked to learn how many different possible interpretations there can be for the same sign brief, and as such you may not be getting the full benefit of any or all the suppliers.

A case in point is a recent request by one of SignForce’s longest standing and largest clients. The request seemed a little strange at the outset, but made sense later on when all the elements fell together. The request was for photo’s of premises, information about staff, a list of machines on the premises and a few other VERY PERTINENT questions. It turns out our client’s client was requesting the information, possibly as a means of doing part of a due diligence. The other points that may be lost when only looking at cost is quality and cost of material to be used, expected lifespan of the signage, type and quality of paint and if the sign that you have requested is in fact the BEST sign to achieve your intended outcome. At SignForce we have the benefit of a number of years of experience (as well as the formal qualifications) to provide input regarding your marketing strategy and what signs would best suite your needs. This information is not charged for, although our signs may sometimes ‘cost’ more than a competitor, but the added value is definitely there to be taken advantage of.

Which brings us back to the question of what you are buying when you choose a sign company.

It goes without saying you expect the company to produce a sign. You may expect them to design and install the sign as well. It is possible that you know exactly what you need and how it should be made in order to get the most beneficial results from your signage, but it is highly unlikely that you would know as much about signs, their benefits and cots and the best placement to maximize your investment, as the sign producer, especially one who has years of experience, and possibly some formal qualifications in the field.

Trusting your signage manufacturer means you believe they have some knowledge you don’t have. In addition you are not only looking for a sign, but if the signage business is a decent one, they will make sure that your purchase is an investment so that your sign helps to generate more income than it costs. In order for this to happen it means that you also value the experience of your supplier, you value the expertise of your supplier and you are quite right to expect a level of after sales service. The question from the sign suppliers perspective is what is the commercial value of these additional – add on – benefits, and what, if anything, Is my client prepared to pay for these benefits.

At SignForce the senior management have a depth of knowledge and experience in signage – as can be expected after more than 20 years in signage – but also have a depth of knowledge in marketing, visibility, design and project management, which means that when you use SignForce you are investing in a team that will gladly take on and supervise your signage project with the intention of making you look good, ensuring you signs work and your deadlines are met.

Contact SignForce now on info@sgnforce.co.za or call 27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 for all your signage requirements as well as for advice on signage and what signage will work best for your unique business.

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

Why should EVERY business brand their VEHICLE or FLEET?

If ever there was a marketing no brain-er it has to be vehicle branding, regardless of whether your business has a singly bicycle or a massive, extensive fleet.

If ever the adage A BUSINESS WITHOUT A SIGN IS A SIGN OF NO BUSINESS was apt, it must be when it comes to vehicle branding.

For obvious reasons a visible vehicle helps promote one’s business, brand or service.

On the less obvious side – and depending on the product or service – branded vehicles tend to be less likely to be stolen and drivers of branded vehicles tend to be more aware that they are being watched so they have incentive to be more polite drivers.

Vehicle branding is also important because it helps to create an identity for the business which may not seem very important, but it helps existing clients identify with the business and feel pride when they see THEIR supplier is doing his rounds.

Vehicle branding can also deter theft. A specific case in point was one of the first fleets SignForce ever branded. The client started with three vehicles but then decided that the cost to do the remainder of the fleet was prohibitive so they stopped at the done vehicles. Every few months they would get quotes to complete the fleet branding but invariably decided the funds could be better used elsewhere. It was about three years after the first vehicles that the call came in to please complete the branding, no quote required.

This was too good to be true as there were now nine additional vehicles but unfortunately due to the currency fluctuations the cost per vehicle had almost tripled. Yes, the cost had risen threefold yet this time the cost was not an issue.

When asked what caused the change of heart, the following story unfolded.

The company had been going through some tough times hence the redirecting of the branding budget. Recently they had received a call from one of their largest clients who was FUMING and threatening to take his business to the competitor – there were only two suppliers in the market – because the company were in breach of their exclusivity agreement and were supplying the client’s competition.

The company professed innocence and assured the customer that that was not the case. He was steadfast and told the supplier that he could see their vehicle offloading at the competitor. The customer was told this was impossible as the competition were NOT the company’s client. The customer then told them it was definitely their vehicle as it was branded and he also gave them the registration plates.

What followed was an investigation and sting operation (with the client’s cooperation) which resulted in the firing of almost a third of the company’s workforce.

The theft had been going on undetected for years as there was collusion between a number of internal staff. They had always used the unmarked vehicles but on the day the customer called the criminal ring’s client had needed an urgent delivery and they gave no thought to the fact the vehicle was branded. This is why the cost was not an issue. When compared to the years of theft and the possibility of losing their major client, the cost of branding was less than negligible.

Vehicle branding helps differentiate your business from from your competition, establishing a connection with existing and even prospective customers.

Vehicle branding can be used to increase brand awareness and brand recognition, build customer loyalty through pride and visibility and create a positive image for the brand.

Vehicle branding can also be used to communicate features and benefits of the business as vehicles can be used as silent sales persons at the same time they can be used as mobile billboards whose cost per view decreases with every trip the vehicle makes.

Vehicle branding can also be used to create a sense of urgency and create a memorable experience for customers, all while assisting prospective customers to make an informed decision about your business and brand. When prospective customers (and existing customers) see your vehicle multiple times, they seldom comprehend that it may be a single vehicle, so the repeated viewing of a single vehicle (something similar to standing in front of multiple mirrors in a store change room) can give the viewer the feeling that your business and fleet is much larger than it may actually be.

Why should a business brand their fleet of vehicles?

A branded fleet of vehicles is a cost effective way for a business to create a professional appearance, increased visibility, and promote their brand, business or service.

Good vehicle branding also sends a strong message that the business takes pride in its appearance and professionalism.

Branded vehicles help build trust and create a difficult to measure emotional connection with customers and potential customers. Additionally, branded vehicles create an opportunity for increased exposure and can be used as a platform for advertising.

To get your vehicle – from your bicycle to your horse and trailer – branded, contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or Whatsapp +27 (0)82 558 6413 or call +27 (0)11 440 7525

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

Why would any entrepreneur want to get into the signage industry

Why would any entrepreneur want to get into the signage industry

There are a number of positive reasons to get into the signage business.

In the modern world where AI is starting to impact a large number of opportunities, signage included, the manufacture and installation of signage is still very labour intensive. Design of signage is definitely being threatened by AI, and this could well have an impact on sign businesses, but from the writers experience AI generated signs are not yet very practical to manufactured, so for the foreseeable future humans will still be required to manufacture signage.

Another advantage of the signage industry is there are advances being made which include digital boards that are becoming more and more popular.

Some factors potential entrepreneurs should be aware of when planning on opening a sign business include location, equipment and machinery, licensing, regulations and compliance administration, advertising, networking, staffing and administration.:

Location: While location is currently less concerning than it has been in the past, with the move to buying local there is a good chance that in the future location will once again become a large factor in costing and people’s requirements for signage. When considering location a potential signage entrepreneur should consider the location of their sign business and the proximity to their target customers as it may become increasingly important to find a location that is convenient to customers who will likely use their services, especially if they are relying on customers to come in off the street.

Equipment: Having the right equipment, machines and sign making tools is essential for a sign business. Potential entrepreneurs should decide what type of signage they will offer and then research the cost and availability of the necessary tools and machines. Depending on the business model and type of signage the sign business intends to market and manufacture, the sign making tools required may vary.

Licensing, Regulation and Administration: Depending on the location of the sign shop, there may be specific licensing and regulation requirements for sign businesses. Potential entrepreneurs should research the specific requirements for their area – be it country or state – and prepare to meet any applicable regulations. This is increasingly important when one wants top be compliant in a country such as South Africa where, unless the correct hands are greased, government and large business contracts will only be issued to businesses that are compliant with a huge number of laws and regulations. In current day South Africa an entrepreneur who intends to remain compliant needs to plan and budget for sufficient compliance staff to remain compliant.

Advertising: Advertising is an important part of running any business, with a sign business being no exception. Potential signage entrepreneurs should consider how they will advertise their services and reach potential customers – see also your intended market. Advertising may vary from networking to online PPC to printed or digital media to name a small number of options.

Networking: Networking with other sign businesses, suppliers, and potential customers can help a sign business grow. Potential signage entrepreneurs should research local networking opportunities and take advantage of them. Sign entrepreneurs should also look at networking with other signage businesses, especially if located in countries like south Africa with shrinking economies or if located in outlying area’s where networking can help the sign business with materials, techniques and other sign industry related updates that may not get to outlying sign businesses.

People. It is believed that every business, sign businesses included, require three main components – like legs of a tripod. Marketing, Finance and People. Marketing covers all types of selling, finance includes ensuring you have sufficient capital to carry the business through the first months of operation – including understanding that not all clients will be paying on time – and employing the correct staff or contractors. If the right people are employed the business can thrive. Likewise, poor recruiting decisions can be extremely costly to the point of closing down a sign business.

Administration – also called accounting or finance – is ensuring that there is a constant flow of cash. Most businesses that die die as a result of poor cash flow. It is as important for the sign business to sell at a profit – important part of administration and sales – as it is to collect the money, as in the modern world it is increasingly common for payments to be delayed, and delayed payments can cost the sign business both in terms of relationships and lack of cash flow.

If you are looking to enter the signage industry SignForce, with almost 40 years experience, are willing to talk.

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

the SignForce website at http://www.signforce.co.za

Complex signage looking simple

Printed Sandblast Effect Vinyl

Impressive Printed Sandblast Entrance Sign

 

Please let SignForce know your opinion on how this printed sandblast vinyl entrance looks.

In the very biased opinion of the writer this entrance vinyl for Lamna Financial (https://www.lamna.co.za/lamna-johannesburg/) looks phenomenal. All the colors came out well and the visual elements all line up.

The reality is this end product took multiple – 4 – yes FOUR  – iterations to get right, much to the very understandable frustration of the client and the team at SignForce.

You may rightly ask how or why such a simple looking vinyl entrance would take so many iterations to get right. While the answer is simple, it is also multi faceted.

The first iteration had the color of the dark blue coming out as green – this was because the yellow tiny of the sandblast effect vinyl did not get the message to look more like white. Grade 1 art teachers that mixing primary colors of yellow and blue makes green – hence the dark blue printed vinyl looked more green than blue.

The 2nd iteration was to correct the view from the rear – not the primary intended view of the sign but one in which the rear is visible (from the entrance foyer) and where any faults in the sign, the print and the vinyl, are highlighted because of the proximity of the viewer and light to dark ratio.

Unfortunately the vinyl also failed! Technically this is most likely as a result of the sandblast effect vinyl being too saturated with aggressive original Roland inks. The opinion of the writer (without any backup from the manufacturers of either the ink or the vinyl)  is that the edges began to curl because of the change in the physical compound of the vinyl which became much softer than normal once saturated with ink – (welcome to the chemistry of signage 001). The vinyl manufacturers were dismissive when approached with a failure claim because you would not guess, the vinyl is not made for printing!!

The 3rd iteration did not get the curves to line up correctly, making any errors scream out and making the entire logo and visual look WRONG.

At this point one could ask why the application of machine cut vinyl to a flat glass window would not line up 100%.

The answer is that life is not that simple! While the GLASS that the vinyl is being applied to is flat, the full windows – including frames (aka mullions) are not. In fact the aluminium ‘mullions’ between the glass panes are each approximately 80 mm wide and 50 mm deep. What this means is that when the vinyl is applied it would have to ‘climb’ the mullion, making it ‘short’ on the next window. This complication is fairly common in signage and is similar to the complication encountered when one has to make an ON PAPER 3D picture into a physical 3D sign.

The 4th iteration meant that each machine cut element needed to be modified so each printed vinyl element could be individually lined up and hand trimmed. This application required a two person team with one person doing the application work up close and the other being the ‘eyes’ behind the sign (from inside) in order to assess and instruct on the lining up in order to make the vinyl visually correct.

While the finished product looks amazing and, for the uninformed surely makes the job look simple, that simplicity could be the secret of a job well done. Going back to complete the work regardless of what is involved, making the client’s sign look great AND making it look simple.

If you are looking for a sign business that is capable of, and not scared to handle, simple and complex jobs, SignForce is the sign business for you.

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

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

WHO designs your business signage?

Who DESIGNS your businesses Signage

I know this question sounds rhetorical, but it is actually a serious question.

In our experience, depending on the size of your business and your budget, the DESIGNER will range from the business owner to an upmarket outsourced design team. This may involve a LOT of different people, but how many of these people are actually SIGNAGE specialists?

The reason I am asking is that in our experience, especially for businesses with a smaller budget, the sign is designed on PAPER.

This may seem obvious, but what does it actually mean. Let me take you through a process to explain.

You, the needer of the sign, either have a great idea yourself or get an DESIGNER to come up with your CI – Corporate Identity – such as your logo, your business cards, your letter heads and the like. Your SIGNAGE is generally an AFTER THOUGHT and as such will simply be a physical representation of said CI.

Most times this is not only acceptable, it is also practical and sensible. The issue may come when you, the purchaser of the sign, now approach THREE (we will use best practice) sign businesses to make the sign or signs for you.

Standard process is to get three quotes and possibly ask each sign manufacturer for a visual representation of what they are selling you.

This is where the aforementioned PAPER design comes in.

What is most likely to happen is that each of the three sign businesses with trace your logo – unless you supply them all with vector format artwork – and superimpose said copied drawing onto a picture showing an artist impression of what the finished product will look like.

As a buyer you will assess the pictures to make sure that YOU are happy they look like what you are looking for, and then assess the quotes on PRICE. This is pretty much standard practice.

The difference in PRICE will most likely be attributed to the three competitors making different profits, as our standard assumption is that ALL sign businesses will use the SAME material and they will ALL make the sign the same way.

This is where things tend to get VERY MURKY.

You see, a sign is not a sign is not a sign. What do I mean. Well on paper the signs ALL look the same or extremely similar. This is paper design. HOWEVER, a sign can be MADE from many different materials, some of which even some sign manufacturers are not aware of. (This may be a topic for another, separate, article.)

So while you the buyer THINK (or ASSUME) that all the signs are made from the same material and will be made the same way, this is not necessarily true.

So what would we as a sign manufacturer recommend?

  1. Make sure you get a breakdown of MATERIALS that will be used when you get the quote. If the quote is too vague, ASK for detailed descriptions. This may seem obvious but is not. Also this is because even some of the same generically named materials – think of KLEENEX when referring to a facial tissue – can have HUGE variances in pricing, because some are meant for internal use only and others are made for long term outdoor use and carry appropriate guarantees, BUT ALSO COME AT substantially HIGHER PRICES.

  2. Try partner with a signage company that can design – preferably one that has experience – to create a CI together with manufacturing specifications. This is what most large businesses do. This has the benefit that when asking for a quote they rightfully EXPECT that they are comparing apples with apples, by not leaving the design to the manufacturer who may operate in a different market and may be so focused on value for money – as in being cheap – that they do not see the LONG TERM cost of the materials they use.

    A simple story best illustrates this. The writer had some plumbing done at his home. When the plumber took the writer to purchase the material the plumber advised what to buy, which is what happened. A few years later there was a problem with the water pressure. A different plumber was called in and the writer was advised that the pipes that were used were to thin and should have been the next size up. The saving at the time was in the region of USD1. The repair cost thousands.

  3. Educate yourself enough to know what different materials do, their expected life and the different costs involved. This can take a long time, but it does not need to. When getting the three quotes, ASK questions. This will generally make the sales people more honest, especially if they know you will be asking their competitors the SAME questions. It will also make the sales people aware that they may need to advise on different materials as this will display THEIR knowledge, making you, the buyer more comfortable and building trust.

If you are in the market for business signs, SignForce is available to assist. We have an experienced design team that are capable of designing made for purpose and made to fit signs.

Contact SignForce now on http://www.signforce.co.za or email info@signforce.co.za or WhatsApp +27 (0)28 558 6413 or call +27 (0)11 440 7525

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

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

Signage – not a business of life and death – UNTIL IT IS!

Ripped Banner

Banner sign

Signage – not a business of life and death – UNTIL IT IS!

The image above is of a banner sign that has weathered to the point where it is disintegrating leaving the ‘bar’ exposed.

One advantage of being in the signage business is that unlike doctors, we don’t have to be on call 24 hours a day as we are NOT in the business of LIFE AND DEATH.

Generally, signs are not so important that a missed deadline will result in people dying or something similarly negative. Signs go up, they are part of a marketing campaign, they live, and people move on.

This is GENMERALLY the case, but not necessarily the case when one is building (or working with) PYLONS, BILLBOARDS or AT HEIGHT work.

Why can PYLONS, BILLBOARDS or AT HEIGHT work be life threatening.

Lets start with Pylons and Billboards. Both HIGH, HEAVY steel structures. Lets imagine a 14 meter tall pylon. 14 meters equates to just under five stories. Now imagine if that had to fall down. It would cause some SERIOUS damage, either to property or life. It is for this reason PYLONS and BILLBOARDS can be considered matters of life and death.

AT HEIGHT work refers to signs that are HIGH. Imagine a sign that is 10 stories up, or one that is 30 stories up, or even a sign that is 2 stories up. What COULD happen if a sign – or a piece of one – at that height falls.

Signs need to be insured and maintained, and certain signs need to be replaced at regular intervals. Some are six monthly, some five to seven yearly.

The one constant is that when a sign deteriorates, it will do so slowly and then like an avalanche, once it gains sufficient momentum, it will happen VERY FAST.

It is when signs deteriorate that suddenly, signage becomes a matter of life and death.

If you have signs that are aging and in need of removal, maintenance and / or repair, SignForce can assist.

Contact SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or email info@signforce.co.za

Find out more about SignForce at http://www.signforce.co.za