TRAINING Make and Store Videos
1 When training new employees on shop procedures or anything else, consider recording those training sessions as videos and storing them on your server for future reference.
PLANNING Strategizing Light
2 At a minimum, map out the coming year with three top priorities — three strategic areas for improvement. Then create quarterly tasks that will get you there. Assign each task a person and a due date.
INSTALLATION Use This Everywhere
3 New Brain Squad member Theresa Cross of Cross Custom Signs (Lampasas, TX) informs us that her favorite “new to me” tool is a 2-ft. folding scaffold. “I use it for vehicle, trailer, wall… pretty much everywhere I can,” she writes.
CUSTOMERS Reintroduce Yourself
4 Call clients you haven’t heard from in awhile to see if they still want you to keep them in your database. Due to normal employee turnover, new people are regularly taking over the position of ordering signage/print materials and may not know you or they know a different sign company they worked with before — at their old company. It’s a good tactic to introduce yourself to the new contact as a way to reconnect with your existing client.
FABRICATION Coating-Removal Hack
5 Here’s a simple trick from Gary Gower, Jr. of G&L’s Sign Factory (Bethlehem, PA) for sign people who work with acrylic regularly: “We use our empty 3-in. cardboard tubes for removing the paper coating on acrylic. As you start to peel the edge of the paper of the acrylic, start rolling it onto an empty tube. This works like a dream.”
SALES Upsell Through Design
6 “If your designer has a great idea for a concept on a job that wasn’t brought up, use this as an opportunity to upsell,” writes Mallory Lynn of Signarama Brighton (Brighton, CO). As long as the new design won’t be too time-consuming, she adds, “Show the idea to your customer, let them know it’s an additional cost upfront and see what they say. We’ve upsold many jobs this way.”
INSTALLATION Another Use for Duct Tape
7 Brain Squad member Jerry Clark, Sign Design of Westline (Westline, PA) was lettering outside glass to update the winter hours at a couple of state parks. The temperature was in the low 30’s at each location. “I duct-taped my 12V heated jacket to the glass/image area and turned [the jacket heater] up full blast,” he writes. “It took 10 minutes and the pane of glass was fooled it was in Miami.”
RECORD-KEEPING Yes, Phone Logs
8 Phone log software tracks clients’ names, phone numbers, emails if needed, conversation notes, and date and time stamps. Being able to reference them can be helpful to clear up miscommunication, call out a vendor on a broken promise, etc.
NO REGRETS Imaginatively Boundless
9 As the psychologist Neal Roese explains in his book, If Only, “If you decide to do something and it turns out badly, research shows that it probably won’t haunt you down the road. You’ll reframe the failure and move on. But you will regret the things left undone.” You’ll regret them over and over, too, because they’re “imaginatively boundless” — you can lose yourself forever in the infinite possibilities of what might have been. In other words: You know that thing you’ve been wondering about doing? In 2022, go do it.
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