SOCIAL MEDIA Get Trending
1 Open a TikTok account and start posting. Short-form, in-feed videos hold the audience’s attention and can make your company look more authentic than a traditional ad. With more than one billion users, the trailblazing platform also provides a huge international audience to expand your presence and can help you stay connected to the next generation of clients. Need inspiration? Start by sharing glimpses into your fabrication or installation process.
FABRICATION Vinyl-Coating Hack
2 We get our sign-related tips from the Signs of the Times Brain Squad, and we can think of no one who’s supplied more specific tips than Meri Lindenmuth from G&L’s Sign Factory (Bethlehem, PA). “Here’s one we’ve been doing for a while that I learned from an old sign guy,” she wrote. “When coating an aluminum substrate with solid vinyl, do it soaking wet with transfer tape. Apply like you normally would, but make sure the vinyl is larger than the substrate and let it hang over the edges. Set aside and let it dry overnight or for a couple hours … Come back and file the edges. This removes the excess vinyl and gives an almost perfect edge to the sign. No accidental knife slips while trimming!”
CUSTOMER CARE Soothing Contact
3 Personal connection and constant communication with the client can separate your company from others. Gaining trust and reassurance with customers will help ease their tension, frustration and the constant stress and exhaustion that everyone has been under the last 18-plus months.
STAFF Same Start, Every Day
4 Schedule mandatory morning meetings for everyone. Yep, every day. They needn’t last long. Hold them to make sure the team is on the same page. Morning meetings also provide the opportunity for staff to share anything noteworthy that happened the day before and if it can be improved upon.
PLANNING Who Could Replace You?
5 “If you haven’t already, start thinking about replacing yourself at your company.” Sound advice from Brain Squad member Cain Goettelman, FLS Banners (Sturgeon Bay, WI). “You can’t move up or move on if you are not replaceable. What tasks do you frequently do that you could train someone else to do? Are you focusing on things that you and only you can do? What would it take to allow someone else to do these things? It has been my experience that most of us feel that we are vital to our companies and must work in them. This leaves precious little time to work on our businesses.”
CUSTOMER SERVICE Respond Quickly
6 Another of our Brain Squad members wrote that “something as simple as being responsive has catapulted us ahead of others in our area. Many customers have told us that no one else responds to emails or returns calls. We return emails and calls in minutes, not days. It’s helped us grow very quickly.” Yet another urged fellow sign companies to focus on “superior customer service. This is the hardest to accomplish and the most difficult for competitors to replicate!”
PRODUCTIVITY An Ode to Templates
7 To save time on design, start building templates for the customers or jobs where it makes sense to do so. Are you doing the tenant signage for an entire office building? Have a template with the suite signs and directory signs ready. Are you always permitting? Make a template with all the different diagrams and elements you use on your permit. And so on.
COMPLEX PROBLEM The Five Whys Reveal Truth
8 When facing a complex problem, ask yourself “Why?” five times to get at the root of it. As Michelle MacDonald, the founder of Sweet Note Bagels, writes on the entrepreneur.com blog, it’s all too easy to become consumed by surface-level problems when the real issues lurk deeper below.
- Why can’t you accomplish everything that needs to be done? The answer is usually because you have too much on your plate. But that doesn’t really answer the question. Cue the additional whys:
- Why do you have so much to do? Because I am getting pulled away from my priorities for other tasks.
- Why are you getting pulled away for other tasks? Because I’m the only one who knows how to do it.
- Why are you the only one who knows how to do it? Because no one else has been trained.
- Why has no one else been trained? Because we don’t have a training program in place.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily make the solutions simpler (starting up a training program is harder than just working more), but it can help you stop spinning your wheels on solutions that don’t work.
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