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 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 when you can use social media

Signs Make Your Businees Successful

Signs Make Your Business Successful

OK, apologies up front for the click baiting, as we all know (WE referring to intelligent business folk) this statement is not entirely true, as there are MANY factors that make a business successful.

In general, from what this writer has observed, success in business is more often than not a result of doing the slog work, doing the same correct (that is imperative) behavior over and over and over and over and over – you get the point – beyond the point of boredom, beyond the point of repetition, to the point where one can literally do the task in one’s sleep. This is sometimes referred to as achieving efficiency at the task, and it is said this takes 10,000 HOURS of the same task.

Another part of the success of a business is MARKETING and SELLING. Without sales there is no money for product development, no money to train and pay staff (someone may want to point this out to the current anc leaders who have reportedly managed to bankrupt their 109 year old organization) and no money to grow your business.

Now marketing and sales a re multi faceted and not entirely the focus of this blog, but I would like to focus on #SIGNAGE – the one part of that marketing puzzle that SignForce sells. We do advise on signage in order to ensure your spending on signage is an investment, but we tend to do this for free (not great for our business turnover in the short term, but we never claimed to be great sales people). If anyone wants to take me for a drink I can explain the difference between TECHNICAL SELLERS (SignForce’s sales staff) and GREAT SELLERS (who tend to sell on emotion).

Signs SELL! So does collaboration 🙂

I have known this for many years and have seen many examples from our own billboard on the M1 highway to what happened with STAX (many years ago) when they upgraded their signage at a loss making store that was being prepped for closure, but I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when one of our clients informed the writer that he spotted SignForce when he passed out pylon.

The point of this ramble is that if you want your business to succeed, especially if you are a business that has physical products or a physical premises, you should certainly consider SIGNAGE as an integral – and initial – step in promoting your business.

SignForce LOVES assisting new and small businesses. This does not mean we are going to give you your signs for free, but we will do what we can to make your business visible in a manner that can help your business grow – both to pay us AND to help you grow.

For more information on how SignForce can assist your business contact us now on info@signforce.co.za or call +27(0)11 440 7525

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

What VLAUE does your SIGN and your Signage provider ADD to your BUSINESS?

 

Mambo's Chicken Individual Cut Out Sign

Internally Illuminated 3D cut out sign

What VALUE does your sign add to your business?

If your sign is a MAJOR tool in getting feet into your store (it is!) and thus placing you in the position to SELL to your prospects, what is your sign truly WORTH?

I ask this, not rhetorically, but because all too often we see businesses running on the lines of Best Value – choosing the cheapest supplier – which is great when comparing EXACTLY THE SAME PRODUCTS – but is extremely difficult and can be costly when one is comparing one SERVISE business (signage is a service business) to another.

Yes, when you, the sign buyer, are presented with an artist impression and a quote, you believe that what you are seeing from one service provider is the same as what you are seeing from the competitive service provider. Unfortunately this is SELDOM true. This is because of the nature of signage (meant in every positive way), the range of materials available, the nature (you can call it morals) of the signage company and the reality that even if all else was equal, because signage is as much – if not more – of an art than a science, and most signs are made by hand, every sign will most likely be made differently.

All this aside, even if all the sign company’s you assessed were using the same material, charging the same amount and doing the same job, what would or should YOUR chosen sign company be able to offer YOUR BUSINESS that goes beyond the sign you are looking for.

At SignForce (http://www.signforce.co.za) we have decades of experience in MARKETING and SIGNAGE.

At SignForce we believe in supporting OUR CUSTOMERS, which is one of the reasons SignForce regularly posts pictures and comments of signs we have completed. This may not seem like anything special, we assume ALL sign businesses ‘self promote’ and the self promotion entails ‘SHOWCASING’ THEIR WORK. This is true, but how many sign businesses get more than 80,000 views of a single client’s sign.

If one considers that traditional media base their fees on the number of views one’s insert (advert, post) will receive, how does one measure the added value SignForce is offering our client’s?

If you are looking for signs that WORK, that get feet into your premises, that look good and are value for money, together with the added value of being promoted on the SignForce website, contact SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or email info@signforce.co.za

You can find out more about SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

Why SignForce!

SignForce Pylon

Any Size pylon or billboard to suite YOUR needs

Why SignForce!

This ambiguous phrase could be a question just as well as an answer – as such, we will both ask and answer the question.

What makes SignForce unique?’

Obviously the people. No two people are alike, so the people make SignForce unique. However, that same argument is applicable to EVERY business. Not only businesses that design, manufacture and install signs.

SignForce’s USP – Unique Selling Proposition – is the experience we at SignForce strive to (and mostly achieve) create for our clients, as well as the fact that SignForce is a SOLUTIONS based SIGANGE business, meaning we seek solutions – whatever they may be – to your visual communication concerns, issues and questions.

SignForce has a fairly unique skill set in that we CAN and DO offer MARKETING advice, and we are fortunate hat said advice, while being largely logical, is also based on and backed by formal qualifications in the marketing and financial fields. It is for this reason that we firmly believe that ANY money spent on signs should be an INVESTMENT. If your sign does not bring in feet or catch people’s attention or achieve whatever it’s desired purpose is, then in our opinion, the expenditure on your sign is a failure.

Yes, we may offer some top left field  idea’s – but these tend to work. Talking to people much more experienced in international marketing than ourselves, it seems the more uncomfortable you feel when you see the proposed idea, the higher the probability that the sign will be noticed – and achieve it’s objective.

Part of SignForce striving to create a positive EXPERIENCE when dealing with us is to provide FAIRLY priced, intelligently made, value for money signs.

Part of creating value for money means that we need to stay ahead of our competitors when it comes to being informed about new materials on the market, and figuring out if and how the new products – or sometimes old products – can be repurposed to give our clients the best possible value.

Call SignForce today to see how we can help you get your name and message out there – our all time favorite activity, as when our client’s expand, it helps SignForce expand. We are definitely long term thinkers, in it for the long game.

Call SignForce today on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or email us on info@signforce.co.za

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

Who Will See My Sign

Who will see your sign – and does it matter?

Every business needs a sign! Ask every business owner, or sign manufacturer, and they will ALL tell you that EVERY business needs a sign, because, as the old – make that ancient – maybe even biblical(?) saying goes – “A Business Without A Sign Is A Sign of No Business”.

But, is this saying still true today in the modern work online, work from home, during and post covid world?

Possibly, in this modern world, the question should not be Who will see my sign, but rather WHAT is the modern definition of a sign?

Traditionally ALL signs were physical visual communications that one could touch, put up and take down. Today, while this is still a LARGE part of signage, it is not necessarily ALL there is to signage, as, while we still believe that signs are essential for every business – of course we are biased, we survive off selling SIGNS – the reality is a ‘traditional’ sign may not be valid for a business which is wholly online. But because a traditional sign is not relevant, does not mean NO sign is relevant (We will get back to this later).

WHO see’s the sign will depend a lot on the placement of the sign, the location of the sign, the type of sign, what – if anything – makes the sign STAND OUT and the state of mind of the potential viewer. That is a LOT of factors, many of which the sign owner has ZERO control over.

It is for this reason that the owner of the sign, together with the sign manufacturer, should look at ALL the factors THEY CAN CONTROL.

Before we look at factors we can control, lets look at the one factor we can never have control over – the state of mind of the potential viewer!

Theory is a wonderful thing., It sometimes even accurately predicts some of the things – incidents, events – that happen IN REAL LIFE. I mention this because there is an interesting – I believe excellent – theory by one Jay Abraham – which states that the viewer will most likely NEVER see your sign, article or whatever UNTIL THEY NEED YOUR PRODUCT.

If Mr Abraham is correct, then it is definitely not worth worrying about those people you cannot attract, as they are simply not interested in what you have to offer. And, once again, if Mr Abraham is correct, then best you focus you attention and energy on the people who DO want what you have to offer.

So how do you catch the attention of those people that MAY want what you have to offer? How do you get potential prospects to SEE your sign?

The viewer will most likely only SEE your sign when it is in their line of sight. It should be obvious that if your sign is out of sight, chances are it will not get seen.

Sadly, because your sign IS in line of sight does not necessarily mean it will be SEEN. The chances are better that it will be seen, but there is no guarantee that it will be seen. Sadly, there is never a guarantee.

So if your sign is in line of sight, and the viewer has an interest in what you have to offer, what would make the viewer SEE your sign?

For starters, the greater the contrast ON the sign – for example Black text on a YELLOW backing is more likely to be seen than a BLACK background with DARK GRAY text. The same applies to the surrounding where the sign is located. If you are the only sign for miles, chances are very high your sign will be seen. On the other hand, if you are the only non-illuminated sign among the flashing neon signs on Fremont Street in Vegas, it is almost as if you should not waste your money and time to place a sign as the flashing neon will totally overshadow your non-illuminated sign. There are many additional factors that we will look at in another blog.

For the sign to be SEEN, it also needs to stand out in whatever way possible. The greater the STAND OUT factor of your sign, the more likely it is to be seen, and it’s message – and your brand – remembered. There is however a point where the message can get lost if the sign is too ‘outstanding’.

If you want signs that are an investment – in that they get SEEN, contact SignForce. Our years of experience in Marketing and Signage mean that we are qualified and will do our best to make sure your signs get SEEN.

Contact SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or info@signforce.co.za or find out more about SignForce at http://www.signforce.co.za

I need a sign and I have a DRILL

Drills and Signs

Using a Drill for a Sign

I have a drill!

But that doesn’t mean I need to, or should, use it!

Life is short. Life can be serious! Business or work is ‘serious”.

But life doesn’t always have to be serious, or at least some things can be amusing.

Life can be made funny when we try to be everything to everyone, or when we try ude the drill – because we have one!

I am all for training, and learning through trial and error, so please, go ahead and play with your drill.

That said, there are times when it is beneficial to allow what we term ‘professionals’ to do the work. What makes one a ‘professional’? Generally hours and hours and days and days leading to years and years of practice. It has been said that in order for one to be truly proficient in your work you need to put in 10,000 hours.

10,000 hours equates to just under 417 days. Broken down into eight hour days that 10,000 hours is 1,250 ‘work’ days- that equates to 62.5 months, or just over FIVE years! Five years of doing the same thing, day in and day out. It is for this reason we can watch a ‘professional’ ‘play’ with a grinder – a tool that must always be respected – as if it is nothing. It is normal for him as he works with it DAILY. And after 20 plus tears, it is second nature.

While employing the professional to do certain work may cost a bit more than doing it oneself, it certainly can make life easier, even if it is less entertaining for the onlooker.

The advantage of allowing professionals – people who do the same tasks over and over and over on a daily basis – to do the work is that, because they do the same work repetitively, they learn what is generally referred to as the ‘tricks of the trade’.

Being a ‘do it yourselfer’ is admirable and great – and I believe is important, possibly because I am one myself – and it can even save one money when done correctly, but the university of life is not free, or even cheap, so expect to make some costly mistakes along the way. These ‘mistakes’ are the best way to learn, but they are often costly.

If you would like to manufacture a sign or install a sign save yourself time and possibly even money by calling #SignForce – the professionals.

For advice on signs or to order signs contact SignForce now on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or info@signforce.co.za

You can find out more about SignForce by visiting http://signforce.co.za

 

Anyone Can Make a Sign!

 

Illuminated Signs

Internally Illuminated Sign

Like us, I am sure many of our competitors have heard client’s make the comment that ANYONE CAN MAKE A SIGN. In fact SignForce have seen it more than once where what we would view as prospective clients call us in t get technical details so they can make their own signs.

While, at some level, it is true that almost anyone – literally anyone – can make a sign – yes, even the drawing your two year old draws using wax crayons can be considered a sign – in order to make a TECHNICAL signs that WORK – with work being defined as a sign that achieves it’s objective or objectives – may take a little more practice, experience and expertise.

As with all spectator sports, it always looks very easy to get it 100% right 100% of the time. That is the beauty of being a spectator. When, for example,  one faces the likes of Ivan Lendl on a tennis court – yes been there at Flushing Meadows – I can assure you the reality is WAY MORE SCARY!

Because things are not always as they seem in real life – and we certainly don’t know what we don’t know – if you are looking for a sign that makes your business STAND OUT, that will WORK and that is COMPETITIVELY PRICED, SignForce is the team to talk to.

With MANY years experience in SIGNAGE and general MARKETING, SignForce can offer you unique input on what sign should work best for your business and your environment, a skill and benefit to you that differentiates SignForce from many of our competitors.

Contact SignForce not on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or info@signforce.co.za.

You can also get more information on SignForce by visiting http://www.signforce.co.za

What Value does your current sign supplier add to your business?


This vehicle, decorated as per specifications for SUPA NOVA ELECTRICAL POWER & PLUMBING is a simple example of vinyl decorated vehicle branding creating a MOBILE advertisement for the business.

Vehicle branding is always a great idea if you want people to SEE you, to know that you are associated with specific clients and to create more awareness of your brand.

We at SignForce assume that this is general knowledge and that all our competitors do the same work. We may not all have the same inks (original inks last longer) and we may not all use the same printers (at SignForce we swear by Roland) but we effectively ALL print and apply vinyl branding to you, our client’s vehicle.

What makes SignForce, with over 20 years experience – almost 60 in combined experience – different is that we have the knowledge to ADVISE and make a positive impact on your marketing plan , and we also strive to promote our clients. This  promotion is irregular and generally online, as but we believe that every client of ours looks to SignForce to do MORE than simply provide good quality products at competitive prices.

If you are looking to spend money on signage and feel that you could benefit from some advise and additional promotion, contact SignForce so we can assist you.

Contact SignForce on +27 (0)11 440 7525 or info@signforce.co.za or visit our website on http://www.signforce.co.za

You can check out Supa Nova on https://www.supanova.co.za/