How does one bill for your experience

How does one bill for your experience

1 Classie Africa

3D fabricated sign by SignForce

Selling ‘products’ is a relatively simple business model. One simply has to purchase your ‘product’ at the best price possible, calculate the cost of your fixed and variable costs to ensure you sell a sufficient quantity of your product and add on a markup – traditionally 100% – so yo can make a PROFIT on your sale.

The same basic process is required when selling a ‘SERVICE’, except that when selling a service the COST of the service can be a lot more complicated to value.

Lets look at two simple examples.

Example 1 – selling a product.

Cost to buy product – 100 (this value is obtained from supplier’s invoice)

Markup (100%) – 100

Selling price – 200

Example 2 – selling a service.

Input cost of service – 100 (**)

Markup (100%) – 100 (except more often than not prospects and clients will go mad when they believe the supplier is intending to make a profit)

Selling price – 200

(**) The input cost (equivalent to cost to buy product when selling products) is more difficult to calculate as it must cover all expenses including the time, cost and effort from attending the University of Live, as well as all other input costs – include the cost of training, experience, cost of any equipment used to provide service and insurance to name but a few of the input costs.

As the person responsible for keeping our small business alive and afloat, the task of costing can often be daunting and overwhelming, because among the many balls being juggled are (a) ensuring the continuity and sustainability of the business so the team keep their respective roofs over their families heads and food on the family tables, (b) keeping the cost low enough for the prospective client to find it attractive – especially in a difficult economic climate where it almost always seems prospects are more interested in cost than quality – and (c) making sure ALL input costs (including but not limited to those listed above) are accounted for – and with some prospects also ensuring there is sufficient wiggle room to give a discount they are compelled to negotiate.

With all these factors to take into consideration, how does one explain to the price over sensitive prospect that your offer, while possibly requiring a higher up front investment – would be in their best interests in the long term. And always keeping in mind that we don’t know what we don’t know – and this includes who we are competing against, which can influence no less than product, price and relationship.

At SignForce we tend to give the advise for free. It may be built into our costing but if so this is not intentional, because we are all about educating our clients and prospects so that they get the best signage to suite their stated objectives.

If you are in the market for signage, calling SignForce may be your best move yet.

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 at http://www.signforce.co.za

What PROBLEM does your sign solve?

What PROBLEM does your sign solve?

Trying to locate an existing physical business that has no signage can some-times prove extremely frustrating.

Can you relate to the experience of following your GPS to your desired location, and when your GPS politely advises you that you HAVE ARRIVED, you look around and have no clue where the store / factory / warehouse / house / business [fill in your own location] is, because there is no number or no signage to let you know that you are actually where you want to be, because we all know GPS’s are not always perfect and can certainly assist us to get to the incorrect location in the fastest way possible.

If you can relate to this scenario, then it should make it easy to understand that a relatively small investment on a sign would have made the above experience more memorable for the RIGHT reasons, possibly retaining customers or even making the prospective visitor more relaxed, calmer and more pleasant to deal with when they do eventually get to you.

At SignForce we make sigs that help get feet through your door

Contact SignForce NOW to get your obligation free quote by emailing info@signforce.co.za or calling +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

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

Why Sign and Why SignForce

Illuminated signs

Candice Berman shop front sign

Why Sign and Why SignForce

Many years ago this writer was taught to ask two questions of every client.

1. Why do you want a sign? And

2. What do you want your sign to achieve?

These may seem like stupid questions because everyone is supposed to know that a business without a sign is a sign of no business (well at least offline), but there are times when signs are not going to fulfil or achieve your desired outcome. This is one reason this writer has been heard telling prospective client’s he is a poor salesman, as I will tell you to NOT get signs if I do not believe they will achieve your desired outcome.

If you are looking for a sign to get feet through your door or to boost your visibility or to enhance your ego, SignForce is definitely available to assist.

Why SignForce?

SignForce has been in the signage industry for over two decades under it’s current management, with many years of marketing experience before getting into signage. What this interprets to is we at SignForce can assist you to ensure your money spent on signage is an investment that will both achieve your desired objective(s) AND where necessary, your signage will increase your turnover, and hence your bottom line profit.

This is where I also mention that SignForce is not the cheapest but we do give value for money. Unfortunately , while this is the truth, we have certainly noticed that prospective clients are more swayed by short term price than they are by the prospect of longevity or quality or the benefit of advice. It is also worth mentioning that the vast majority of SignForce’s work is for on-sellers.

So why use SignForce?

At SignForce we focus on you, our client.

We know we have the experience and expertise to make great signs, and what we don’t know, we are fortunate enough to be able to tap into our local and international resource’s to find out.

It is because of this confidence in our experience and our network that we strive to make your experience when looking for signs a painless, seamless one, where you can tick one item off your list because SignForce will project manage the signs for you, ensuring our quality exceeds your expectations and that you can take a back seat and relax knowing your signage issues are being handled in a professional manner, with constant communication and updates because we know that your signage is most likely a very low priority, even though it is a high ticket purchase.

Why not be like our existing clients and some of our competition and give SignForce a call and see how we can assist you

Call SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (9)82 558 6413 or email info@signforce.co.za

Find our all about SignForce at http://www.signforce.co.za

PERSPECTIVE – or an alternate (South African) view on Competition

Large Format print for www.artsolar.co.za

Safe installation of signs

PERSPECTIVE – or an alternate view on Competition

This was a very interesting week at SignForce

On Monday we assisted a competitor to install a sign they had manufactured. It was the first time I am aware of that we needed to use our block and tackle. The sign went up safely and our competitor and his client were all happy with the outcome.

On Wednesday we quoted a prospect. Part of the quote was to remove a number of signs from the building. A few were close to the ground, however many were more than three stories above the ground, and one was old, and from the brief inspection while on site, looks to be rusted through in more than one place. (I guess an article on the importance of maintaining signs for safety would be a good idea).

When followed up the prospect advised this writer that I must have lost my f@king mind because the amount was insane. He went on to explain that he could do the job for about 8% (1/12th) of the quoted amount. He went on to explain that he could hire some unemployed ‘casual’ labor off the street and provide them with the tools they need to remove the sign. I volunteered to provide a 51 foot ladder.

The difference between Monday’s client and Wednesday’s prospect may boil down to PERSPECTIVE.

The client on Monday appreciated SignForce’s experience, skills and understanding, and is willing to pay for the skills and experience.

The prospect on Wednesday may not have the understanding of the value of SignForce’s experience, and is certainly not prepared to pay for that experience.

That does not mean the prospect is incorrect. He may be able to get the job done safely at a much lower cost, and he will be responsible and accountable for the risk and any potential fallout that occurs.

One lesson of experience is being able to see the rust on the one sign – something which may be superficial, however, if it is not superficial – which is equally likely – the entire sign may fall apart when it is moved, which can become deadly very quickly. This writer has said multiple times, signage is an extremely simple industry, UNTIL IT IS NOT!

When a business complies and follows certain best practice norms, that compliance comes at a cost, which client’s should be prepared to pay for, as this ensures (or as close as possible) safety and successful completion of the job.

When a prospect is prepared to do the job himself and to say to hell with all safety norm, it is generally better to walk away, because if or when something goes wrong, that prospect will ,most likely be the first to throw the business under the nearest – and furthest – bus.

If you are in the market for signage – whether it is to manufacture, install, maintain or remove – SignForce is available to assist.

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 at http://www.signforce.co.za

Is there any value to Experience

Is there any value to Experience (and if there is, how can one bill for your experience)?

Illuminated Signs

Custom, old fashioned, illuminated signs

 

Becoming a more seasoned member of the signage industry – one with slightly over 25 years personal experience – I have begun to notice that there are certain things I SEE that are not always visible to others.

This is not clairvoyance but I do believe it comes from experience.

A simple example that showed this point happened recently. SignForce were asked to assist with the installation of a later large (6 x 3 meter) sign. When we went to the site inspection we noticed that the plan that the contractor was looking at was great, but flawed. The sign needed to be carried through three doors, however the third door had restricted access, so only half the sign could go through the door, and then – nothing.

I am pleased our client was not a blind believer, so he tried his method and then called me to tell me he had tried and it had failed.

Experience – defined by Google as “1. the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation. 2. a. : practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity. ‘ is generally gained from the university of hard knocks. The hard lessons that come with doing something more than once, and failing often.

Experience is earned and while it can be passed on – which can be called advice, and, as a friend’s father kept saying. Advice comes from experience. When you receive the advice you have two choices, take heed or roll it up and shove it wherever it fits.

The value of experience tends to come from the little things. For example. When making a sign, how does one calculate the weight of the sign and the size of the fixings – bolts, nail in anchors, whatever – that will be necessary to make the sign stay in place once it is fixed to the wall?

This writer has inspected a sign which looks phenomenal. It creates a great impression and I am sure the client will be super impressed. As long as the sign works as intended, everyone will be happy And that will be perfect in maybe 95% of cases. In the remaining 5% when something goes wrong – say in the case of a light box when all or some of the lights stop working (which will happen, but it may, and hopefully will, take some time), or if a weld breaks (which is possible but low probability if they are done properly). When the 5% happens someone is going to have to spend time or money or both to make the sign good. This is where it can get complicated.

In the case of the sign mentioned above, the face of the sign has been fixed directly t the frame of the sign. This is a great way to keep costs down, however, if the lights inside stop working, or anything else inside goes wrong, there is an extremely high probability that the face of the sign will need to be removed, which means replacing the sign face. This can be a very costly exercise. The industry standard is normally to have an internal frame to hold the face. This allows for ease of maintenance without any additional costly spend, because the [maintenance] cost has been absorbed into the initial capital expense of the sign.

The difficulty with making the sign resilient, is it adds costs to the up front build which many businesses in South Africa are reluctant to do. They would rather take their chances on spending less upfront and then pray that their spend lasts as long as the higher investment (on invisible safety and possibly redundant features) that may save them money in the future.

At SignForce we call this the cost of peace of mind – like having an insurance policy you hope to never have to use.

When you are looking for signs that work, contact SignForce. We are happy to share what we do and why we do it as we believe in creating signs that work, signs that last and lasting relationships.

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 http://www.signforce.co.za

What is the cost of compliance

The Cost of Compliance

Or maybe the title should be how does governance help or hinder economic growth and employment.

As someone who is involved with running a small business in the current South Africa, I often look on with amazement at the number of requirements (you could read that as hurdles) that the business has to jump – sometime crawl, sometimes squeeze – through in order to be compliant.

Around 2010 we completed a survey which asked how much of the management teams time was spent on compliance. At that stage it was around 10 – 15%. To honestly answer the same survey today would be in the region of 130 – 150% of the then management’s time, meaning that an entire team of people had to be employed for no additional benefit to our clients of the business, other than to remain compliant. This can be considered a pure stealth tax.

While we understand and agree with rules that DO make work safer, we also are of the opinion that you cannot legislate stupidity – or stupid away. We know that our team want to go home to their families on a daily basis, even when things are tough at home, so we don’t believe in treating them like immature idiots who are brain dead. If they are not up to the task they are encouraged to stay home or seek the necessary help, but in the opinion of this writer, creating rules that try make idiots into rocket scientists – or at least prevent them from putting their heads into a microwave oven that is on – is not going to prevent them from being stupid.

It was once said the principal difference between intelligence and stupidity is there is no limit to stupidity!

Compliance seems to be a world wide trend (although I do question how China still allow bamboo scaffolding or some African countries have not heard of a safety file – which, as an aside, may be more to do with political beliefs and control – as in communism – versus looking to create jobs and let the government do what they promise to do – look after the people of the cou

 

ntry and facilitate job creation. In South Africa the current ruling regime – also known as the anc – seem to believe that bums in seats, paid for by the tax paying citizens, is job creation. This writer believes this could not be further from the truth as when people are employed according to the Peter Principle and paid according to Ohm’s law, the result is low productivity, job reservation and artificial job security – the employed know they can never be fired or removed – and subsequent poor customer service, low motivation and an over burdened tax paying population.

At SignForce we believe in paying fairly for WORK DONE, we know the reason for meeting deadlines and working after our 16H30 closing time when the job requires it. This is one of the reasons our clients trust us to meet their deadlines – even when they are EXTREMELY TIGHT.

If you are looking for a sign supplier to team up with to make sure you and your business look GREAT, SignForce is the team to call.

Contact SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or email info@signforce.co.za or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 to get a fair, no obligation quote.

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

At what point can a prospect or client’s behavior be considered abuse?

Illuminated Signs

Custom, old fashioned, illuminated signs

At what point can a prospect or client’s behavior be considered abuse?

As a small business every person in the business has to pull their own weight, and possibly a little more. It is assumed this is common knowledge, but if that is the case, why do some prospects (and some client’s) still ask for reduced pricing or other benefits to them that they are either not prepared to pay for or that they should understand will cost the supplier.

It is often said in the retail sector that the client is ALWAYS right. Is this true or is it simply a cop out to make businesses cater to the possibly outrageous requests of a prospective client or an existing client? Even if the saying is correct for retail stores, would it apply to other business to client (end user) businesses?

As a small business we ALWAYS strive to give the best of ourselves. We WANT the business as much as we need it, so we tend to go the extra mile (and then some) to deliver the best products at the best prices – on time and on budget.

And yet, even with this attitude we find existing clients and some prospective new clients who are looking for signage that will ask for the (almost) impossible, and then feel ‘let down’ when the lack of planning on their side results in predictable failures by the suppliers. The question is why should a lack of planning on the side of the prospect or client result in an adrenalin rushing emergency for the supplier, especially if the supplier is not getting paid for the leg work and probably will not get the work in the long run.

How do we as small businesses let the abusive client down in such a way that we don’t necessarily burn all bridges – although this may sometimes be necessary – while not feeling guilty about not doing what the clients want.

There is a lot of information around talking about how everyone should be an entrepreneur, yet there is very little support or information letting people know about the down side of entrepreneurship, the constant work, the constant striving to better everything – service, training, products, customer experience – the self doubt and the loneliness – and lets not forget the RESPONNSIBILITY. The buck ALWAYS stops at the top – unlike politicians who will always promise but never deliver, as they are not always held to account.

This writer is currently feeling alone and struggling with this exact issue – if it is not already evident – and yet we must make decisions and move on.

If you are looking for sign maker and sign installer that will give you their best service and expect payment in return – starting with a deposit to confirm commitment and ensure the business can survive – that would be an entire book, not only a blog – contact SignForce and let us help take away all your signage stress.

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

How will my sign help get feet through my door

How will my sign help get feet through my door

Boosting Foot Traffic with SignForce: Crafting Signs that pull in Customers”

SignForce’s years of marketing experience allows us to specialize in creating signs that do more than mark your location – SignForce’s signs are a key element in your marketing strategy, designed to attract customers and increase foot traffic.

Here’s how SignForce crafts signs to ensure they become a magnet for your business:

Visibility and Brand Identity

At SignForce we strive to design signs to fit your location so your signs stand out and speak directly to your prospective clients while taking into account your corporate and brand identity. SignForce combines multiple (captivating) elements of design together with strategic positioning to ensure business is recognized, sometimes even becoming a local landmark which is both visible and memorable.

Clear Messaging by SignForce

SignForce emphasizes the importance of delivering your message with clarity and impact. This is done using various design elements as well as taking into account the positioning and location of your business. At SignForce we understand that not every brand is instantly recognized like Coke or AMEX, and as such, where appropriate, the SignForce approach ensures that your sign communicates what your business offers with the intention of making it instantly clear to potential customers why they should choose you.

Designing Invitations with SignForce

SignForce’s signs are more than information panels – the love and care that SignForce put into making your signa makes your sign into a visible invitation. Over and above the love and care that goes into the production process, SignForce uses appealing aesthetics, including colors and enhancing graphics, to make your sign welcoming, encouraging all who see your sign to step inside and explore what you have to offer.

Brand Consistency with SignForce

With SignForce, consistency across your signage and branding efforts is key. We ensure that every piece of your visual branding aligns, reinforcing your brand’s image and building customer trust and loyalty. Experience has shown that it is easy to neglect consistency in business branding, but the cost is high as when people see your brand and it looks ‘off’ they sub-consciously lose trust in your brand and business, and will then look for alternate suppliers.

Optimal Placement Strategies by SignForce

Location is everything, and SignForce’s expertise extends to advising on the best placement for your signs. We assess your location to ensure maximum visibility and impact in order to direct the flow of potential customers through your door.

Allow SignForce to enhance Your Success

SignForce is dedicated to ensuring your signage is an active participant in your business’s success. SignForce’s focus on standout design, clear messaging, inviting aesthetics, brand consistency, and strategic placement ensures your sign is seen and is effective in bringing customers into your establishment.

With SignForce, your sign becomes an investment as it is a powerful tool for increasing visibility and driving foot traffic, contributing significantly to your business’s growth.

Top of Form

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 http://www.signforce.co.za

You can also watch some of SignForce’s many video’s at:

https://youtu.be/2uJBSOly6wM?si=q4khxcCA9ocC_oRw

https://youtu.be/FW3arJbUK9U?si=WmuelgkOTp-sLCKE

What should your sign specialists know – the value of signs only vs marketing value

 

What should your sign specialists know – signs only vs marketing value

SignForce’s USP: Merging Sign Craftsmanship and design with Marketing Brilliance”

At SignForce we recognize that the expertise required for exceptional sign design and creation overlaps far into the marketing sphere, showcasing signs as pivotal brand assets rather than mere informational displays.

The combination of formal marketing qualifications and decades of experience in the design and manufacture of signage places SignForce at the forefront of signage design and implementation of effective ‘investment’ signage. SignForce has a deep understanding that for a sign to be effective and considered as an investment, each crafted sign is a direct reflection of the brand it represents within the specific area or context* of the sign, serving as a dynamic marketing tool that enhances brand visibility and customer connection.

* Context and placement of a sign often make a massive impact on both the impact and effectiveness of a sign. The best way to demonstrate this is the VEGAS strip. Everyone knows that the VEGAS strip is synonymous with FLASHING and SCROLLING large neon signs. Imagine how your new sign on the strip would be seen and perceived if your new sign is ‘smaller’ and does not illuminate, never mind it being neon and scrolling. The chances are your sign would become invisible in that context, even though in almost any other context your sign would be considered as MASSIVE and highly visible. This is where the phrase ‘horses for courses’ is appropriate. Regardless of how recognized and how well known your brand, if your brand is not competing at any specific location, your branding (signs) may be a waste of money.

Elevating Signs with SignForce’s Insight

SignForce’s experienced professionals are adept at transforming signs into strategic marketing vehicles. At SignForce we ensure every project undertaken stands out visually while also aligning perfectly with the client’s marketing objectives. This dual focus on aesthetic appeal and marketing potency underscores the unique value SignForce brings to every signage project we participate in, especially when we are involved with the design and installation of your signs.

Brand Identity and SignForce’s Role

Understanding and reinforcing your brand’s identity through signage is the cornerstone of SignForce’s approach. Our SignForce team meticulously crafts signs that echo your brand’s core message and values with the intention of creating a cohesive and impactful brand experience. SignForce’s commitment to this principle elevates our signage solutions, making them an indispensable investment tool in our clients’ marketing arsenals.

Maximizing Impact with SignForce Strategies

SignForce’s expertise goes beyond the limit’s of design and craftsmanship; our expertise encompasses a thorough understanding of marketing dynamics, including customer behavior, color psychology, and also strategic sign placement. At SignForce we leverage this comprehensive knowledge to create signs that attract attention while actively engaging customers, driving brand loyalty and business growth for your business.

SignForce – Where Signage Meets Marketing

At SignForce, we believe in the powerful synergy between exceptional sign making and insightful marketing strategy. SignForce’s holistic approach ensures that every sign we produce is more than simply a testament to high-quality craftsmanship but also a key player in our clients’ marketing strategies.

Through this blend of creativity, innovation, and strategic insight, SignForce continually sets new standards in the signage industry, helping brands shine brighter in an ever more crowded marketplace.

Contact SignForce now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413 to take advantage of SignForce’s experience and to get your brand out there so it benefits from SignForce’s input for greater visibility.

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

The 5 steps to make signs visible

The 5 steps to make signs visible

The 5 main factors that make signs visible are color, contrast, size, distance and noise

Color

Color refers to both the color of the TEXT as well as the color of the backing of the sign – and also includes other possible ‘noise’ that can distract one’s eye balls from the main intended message of the sign – generally YOUR BUSINESSES NAME ad / or what your business does.

Contrast

Contrast refers to the difference between the color of the LOGO or TEXT of the sign as well as the color of the backing behind the sign. It is great to see subtle logo’s, for example a black on black logo with the backing being matt and the logo or text being gloss, or the other way around – when looking at paper or anything at close range. The low contrast does not always work as expected when the logo to text need to be expanded from a small logo on paper to a much larger sign – not necessarily even a massive sign.

For signage, the greater the contrast, the more visible the sign tends to be, especially from a distance, with the greatest visibility being black on yellow.

Size

The further away from the sign one wants the viewer to be able to read the sign, the larger the logo and text – and hence the sign – need to be.

See the previous blog on the SignForce blog (https://signforce.co.za/blog/big-must-sign/) which give an indication of how large your text or logo should be to be clearly visible from different distances.

The general rule is that the larger the sign the easier it is to read from a distance. That said, it is also possible for a sign to be too large for the available space, or for the sign to be too large for it to be easy legible from the available distance or for the sign to be spaced so far off a backing that it looks gaudy.

Distance

As stated above, the further away from the sign the viewers will be that one needs to read the sign, the larger the sign needs to be.

This is amplified when a sign is going to be installed at height.

The higher the sign the larger it needs to be as height tends to be a double whammy when it comes to visibility. It is quite simple to understand that the higher the sign the further it is from the viewer, (think of Pythagoras’s theory), the not so simple part is that the same sign at the same distance that looks large always looks smaller when the sign is installed at height. This writer has no explanation for this phenomena.

Noise

Noise or visual pollution or visual distraction all refer to anything that can challenge a viewer’s attention, distracting the viewer’s eye balls from the intended message – ‘polluting’ their attention. Noise can refer to a complex design that distracts from the intended message or it can mean the font is too sophisticated or too artistic to be read at a glance, or a number of other distractions from the intended message.

At SignForce we focus on getting your message across to your intended audience in a way that will add income to your bottom line – in other words making your sign an investment.

Contact SignForce now to get your signs that work. SignForce is available at info@signforce.co.za or you can call +27 (0)11 440 7525 or you can WhatsApp +27 (0)82 558 6413

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