This Is What Great Customer Service Looks Like in the Sign Industry

CUSTOMER EMPOWERMENT IS a key phrase heard often in modern times. But what does that mean, especially in the sign industry? Great customer service and an excellent product need to include making sure clients feel they’ve been a part of the journey and had ownership of every step. It’s important to clarify and verify to assure you can deliver what is expected, on time and on budget. But have you ensured your clients feel confident in their decisions and have you listened to the feedback they’ve given?

Thanks to the internet, potential customers can do their homework about your company and the products you provide. A well-designed website with a photo gallery and descriptions familiarizes visitors with industry terms they may not use every day. With this information, they then can come to you with the seeds of a conversation that you can now grow into the sale you want and the sign they need.

However, having a dazzling website isn’t enough. Educating customers is important. In my experience, a majority of customers don’t know what they want or need when ordering a sign. It’s vital to speak to them on their terms, use words they understand and give real-world references. Be clear when providing examples, sizes and materials options. This shouldn’t be overwhelming or leave your clients more confused than when they started. Take time to explain the difference between aluminum and composite, acrylic and polycarbonate. I, too, can turn into the biggest sign geek with the best of them, over-explaining and showing off my expertise; however, that needs to be saved for the shop.

Your customers need to be given options and coaching during the process that leaves them knowing they made the right decision based on knowledge, not by default. Check in with them regularly, and be genuine and caring, welcoming questions and delivering answers that make sense. Provide visuals, whether that be a simple sketch or dramatic 3D rendering. This assures you’re both communicating effectively and on the same page. Using your experience, lead your clients in the direction that will give them the products that they want.

When possible, invite them to walk around the shop, using it as an educational opportunity. People always love to see how things are made. This will empower your customers as you peel back the mysteries of a signshop. Seeing their signs come to life is an experience they’ll likely share with others and it’s how your company will get promoted by word of mouth most effectively.

During manufacturing, send regular updates and pictures of the signwork in progress. This, too, adds to the excitement of it all and gives your customers reassurance that their projects are successfully being created.

Lastly, be sure to offer your clients an opportunity to provide feedback after the work is completed. This can be through social media, an online form or an old-fashioned phone call. There’s nothing more satisfying than hearing you’ve done a good job. However, should there have been an experience that’s less than ideal, the criticism will help you learn and grow your business. This shouldn’t be taken personally, but you should always take it seriously. Right the wrong the best you can to assure ultimate customer satisfaction. These efforts will not only create happy customers, but also raving fans.

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SEGD: Pop-Up Museum and Wings of the City Sculpture Walk

Dorothea Dix Park’s first-ever Pop-Up museum features two exhibits: “We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects & Builders in North Carolina” and “From Plantation to Park: The Story of Dix Hill.”

Join SEGD Raleigh at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, North Carolina on Sunday, February 20 to check out their first-ever Pop-Up museum featuring two exhibits: “We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects & Builders in North Carolina” and “From Plantation to Park: The Story of Dix Hill.”

Betsy Peters Rascoe, president and lead designer with Design Dimension, Inc., will describe the process in making the exhibit and how Design Dimension worked with both organizations to implement their vision.

The group will continue the inspiration through a self-guided walking tour of “Wings of the City” by world-renowned Mexican artist Jorge Marin. This traveling exhibit includes nine bronze sculptures located throughout the park.

The free, in-person SEGD event is scheduled to take place from 2:30pm to 4:00pm ET. Registration is required.

Families are welcomed, and face coverings are required.

—Press Release

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PPDS Partners with Key Digital

PPDS, the exclusive global provider of Philips digital signage, LED, and professional TVs, is excited to announce a new strategic partnership with Key Digital – a leading manufacturer of digital video distribution and control systems – to bring new levels of support to bars and restaurants (including in hotels, fast food and cafes) in the way they manage and control their AV solutions, for greater customer experiences and lucrative business opportunities and signage PPDS Key Digital

Part of PPDS’ evolving strategy to support and bring dedicated solutions to the food and beverage industry, the new partnership with Key Digital represents the latest evolution of the company’s ‘total solutions’ strategy, by combining its state-of-the-art display technology with other industry-leading third-party solutions (including hardware and software) for added market value and end-user experiences.

Working seamlessly across a variety of dedicated Philips professional displays for the food, beverage, and hospitality industry – including professional TVs (such as Philips B-Line), digital signage (Philips Q-Line, Philips D-Line) touch and kiosk displays (Philips T-line) among others – Key Digital brings a range of new game-changing solutions to streamline the control and distribution of content to displays – including from a smartphone – as well as the management of other AV applications within their AV ecosystem (i.e. audio, lighting, security). Examples of benefits provided by Key Digital’s user-friendly AV solutions can be viewed here.

Jonathan Ferry, VP of Product Education and Experience at Key Digital commented: “We’re delighted to have partnered with PPDS and combine our industry-leading solutions with their state-of-the-art displays to bring greater value and, crucially, more simplicity to bars and restaurants when managing their AV and experience.”

He added: “Attaching the sale of your PPDS displays and video walls with AV distribution and control systems exponentially increases your profits while enhancing the experiences for your customers, ensuring positive reviews and repeat business. Through PPDS’s partnership with Key Digital, customers will also have access to a variety of technical support and free system design resources to ensure success.”

Partner Webinar

To celebrate the announcement, PPDS and Key Digital will co-host a free partner webinar this month – February 23, 12:00pm EST – unveiling and discussing in detail a range of solutions designed to support, inspire and educate the market on new and innovative ways to address and overcome many of the challenges faced when installing and accessing increasingly complex and often confusing AV ecosystems (including audio, lighting and security), which have radically evolved over time.

The webinar, titled ‘How to Effectively Manage an AV Ecosystem in a Bar/Restaurant,’ will also explore new opportunities for bars and restaurants, including those in hotels, public venues, and even sporting arenas, to maximize customer engagement, while creating new revenue opportunities, through inspiring and simple to create/distribute content.

Open to all – including AV Integrators, IT Professionals, Bar / Restaurant proprietors, and ownership Management Groups – the one-hour session will be hosted by Jack Boyczuk, Business Manager at PPDS, and Jonathan Ferry, VP of Product Education and Experience at Key Digital.

Jack Boyczuk commented: “Bar and restaurant operators are increasingly investing in AV equipment to entertain patrons and to establish an exciting vibe in their venues. This has led to more complex AV ecosystems and a challenge of how to control them using non-technical staff. To help solve this challenge, PPDS and Key Digital, have partnered to provide venues with a simple to manage solution that delivers an exceptional customer experience, while adding potentially lucrative new opportunities to increase business revenues. We look forward to welcoming you on the first of a series of webinar sessions in 2022 where we will reveal more.”

If you wish to attend the webinar, please register your interest by filling out the online form, here. Further details will be communicated closer to the event.

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LG Enables Single-day DVLED Installation

LG Business Solutions USA has announced a new 136-inch All-in-One DVLED display (model LAEC) that combines a 1080p screen, on-board webOS™ controller, and built-in speakers to offer immediate operation in virtually any environment.

With this new model, technology integrators can say goodbye to complicated installation procedures and wiring. The display can be installed in one day and includes every component necessary to serve a variety of needs and installation locations.

“The new 136-inch All-in-One DVLED display makes LED a reality for virtually any organization, with ‘plug-and-play’ simplicity supporting unlimited usage scenarios from boardrooms and classrooms to transit centers, command centers and shopping plazas,” said Dan Smith, LG Electronics USA’s vice president in charge of DVLED displays. “Featuring user controls similar to that of a regular flat panel TV, the 136-inch AIO is easy to install and easy to use.”

The display is different from other DVLED displays on the market because it is specifically designed to be as easy as possible to install without requiring any separate components, tools or wiring. First, it is shipped in a professional aluminum flight case on wheels, so delivery and movement on site are simple and fast. The display arrives partially constructed, with two pre-built cabinets that connect together using included hardware and can be mounted on a wall with included hardware or installed on an optional mobile cart (available for separate purchase) that enables multi-room use.

The two mounting cabinets provide the back structure for the display, while the 72 notebook-sized modules are mounted to the cabinets creating a single, seamless 136-inch screen. LG designed the cable-free LED modules to literally snap in using a magnetic tool, making the process virtually foolproof for integrators and enabling much faster installation than other DVLED display options. Because the LED modules attach to the cabinet from the front, long-term maintenance and care is also greatly simplified since individual modules can be removed and replaced quickly without affecting other parts of the unit. After the modules are all attached, the display can be plugged in, turned on, and used immediately thanks to the onboard webOS controller, familiar handheld remote control and two integrated 9-watt speakers.

“No matter the location or situation, the 136-inch All-in-One DVLED display offers a complete solution for virtually every need while ensuring easy installation and familiar operation,” Smith said.

The captivating display operates at up to 500 nits of brightness and features a tiny 4.6mm bezel, a 1.56mm pixel pitch, and total resolution of 1920×1080. The display has a rated lifespan of 100,000 hours to half-brightness and comes with a three-year limited warranty. For those using the mobile cart, flexibility is maximized through a motorized height adjustment that enables quick positioning for sitting or standing audiences.

Owners and integrators can also add LG’s cloud-based ConnectedCare service (available for separate purchase), which remotely manages the status of displays in client workplaces for fault diagnosis and remote control services, enabling the stable operation of clients’ businesses. For simple screen sharing, LG offers the One:Quick USB dongle that plugs into any PC or laptop to provide a secure, reliable connection for presentations and media viewing.

—Press Release

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Mimaki Announces Global Innovation Days Event

Mimaki’s Global Innovation Days event takes place March 2-4, 2022.

Mimaki USA, a leading manufacturer of wide format inkjet printers and cutters, returns this year with Innovation Days, a global event designed to inspire and invigorate the printing industry. This second annual event will take place virtually from March 2-4, 2022.

Mimaki regional offices from around the world will participate in hosting a series of online events focused on evaluating the needs of print providers in their local markets, addressing solutions to overcome today’s challenges across sectors, and drive success within the industry.

During the three-day event, Mimaki will announce their 2022 fiscal year plans in addition unveiling new products.

After the success of last year’s event, Mimaki has continued to improve upon its online event platform, providing curated content that highlights and supports the success of partners and customers worldwide. Through this custom platform, visitors to Innovation Days will join live demonstrations featuring Mimaki’s newest products, gain access to special promotions, attend webinars, engage with industry experts, and draw inspiration from roundtable discussions.

The agenda and registration for Mimaki Innovation Days is now available, but please note that dates and times listed may not be local.

—Press Release

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FASTSIGNS’ Clint Ehlers Joins Board of Directors for International Franchise Association

The International Franchise Association (IFA; Washington) has elected Clint Ehlers, franchisee at FASTSIGNS of Willow Grove and FASTSIGNS of Cherry Grove, to join its board of directors. He will serve an initial term of three years.

Ehlers, a resident of Lower Gwynedd, PA, will join nine other new directors on the recently expanded board of the IFA, the franchising sector’s only global trade association.

“You have to be involved to affect change. Without the direct involvement and interference from members of the franchising community from franchisors to franchisees and the IFA, our industry would be merely a shell of its successful self,” said Ehlers. “The best protection I can offer my businesses is to have a voice at the table regarding policies affecting how I operate. Most people forget that Congress works for us, and they need to hear what is important to us, both at the state and federal level. A thriving business community is beneficial to all.”

Ehlers has been an active member of IFA’s Franchisee Forum for five years. At least three times, he has testified at legislative hearings at the Pennsylvania state capitol in Harrisburg, and he has also testified before the House Committee on Labor in Washington.

For more information, visit

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PRINTING United Alliance Opens the 2022 Premier PRINT Awards Program

Premier PRINT Awards.

PRINTING United Alliance, the most comprehensive member-based printing and graphic arts association in the U.S., announces that this year’s Premier PRINT Awards competition has officially opened.

Launched last year as a more streamlined program to showcase the best in print communications, the competition comprises the former SGIA Golden Image Award, Printing Impressions Gold Ink Award, Packaging Impressions Excellence Award, and Printing Industries of America “Benny” Award. Entries exemplify excellence in quality, creativity, and innovation across the printing industry.

The global competition is open to printers around the world through May 15, 2022, with a discount for current PRINTING United Alliance members.

This all-encompassing program highlights printing technology across market segments. Students are encouraged to participate, and entries are free for any PRINTING United Alliance educational institution member.

Highly qualified judges are selected by PRINTING United Alliance based on their respective experience, technical skills, and expertise in the industry.

The winners of each category will be automatically entered into their respective Best of Category Award, with those winners ultimately assessed for the Printed Product of the Year Award.

In addition to announcing and celebrating winners at PRINTING United Expo and highlighting them on the official online showcase, winners will be featured in a special awards booklet, which will be distributed with the September issue of the PRINTING United Journal.

Newly appointed PRINTING United Alliance program manager and industry veteran Dawn Nye says, “Winning a Premier PRINT Award helps businesses solidify their reputation as a trustworthy brand that delivers. Additional benefits of becoming an award-winning business are improving employee morale and increasing visibility.

“Join me in the Premier PRINT Awards booth in October to vote for the People’s Choice Award from the winners of the Best of Categories, being presented at the end of the second day of PRINTING United Expo in Las Vegas. I am especially excited to see the lineup of OEM competitors in our newest Best in Print category.”

To submit entries online, visit the Premier PRINT Awards website and complete the entry form for each product entered. All entries must include work that was produced in 2021 (Jan. 1-Dec. 31). The deadline to receive entries is May 15, 2022.

—Press Release

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15 Tips for Running a Leaner Sign Operation

One of the defining features of the American business model is a relentless impulse to add more — more bells, more whistles, more choice, more services, more hours, more convenience, more product extensions, more … everything!

For a lot of business owners, one of the surprising lessons of the pandemic was they could get by just fine with less. Often, they had no choice but to cut down on business hours, shed staff, reduce advertising dollars and streamline operations. And they still made the same or even more money, only in a less stressful, hurried way.

Think about it and it most likely holds true in your own business experience. Throw yourself at every opportunity and you end up doing run-of-the-mill stuff, and poorly. The benefits of eliminating all but the essential things are clarity, focus and energy.

If you’re looking for a theme for 2022, perhaps “less is more” could be it. Certainly, the historical moment seems to call for it. In an essay published by Medium, writer and producer Julio Vincent Gambuto nicely sums up what’s at stake: “At no other time, ever in our lives, have we gotten the opportunity to see what would happen if the world simply stopped. [So] think deeply about what you want to put back into your life. This is our chance to define a new version of normal, a rare and truly sacred (yes, sacred) opportunity to … only bring back what works for us, what makes our lives richer, what makes our kids happier, what makes us truly proud. We get to Marie Kondo the sh*t out of it all.”

Here, we share ideas we’ve gleaned from sign professionals, industry consultants and our own reading to identify 15 areas where you could do a little less … but be so much more.


We’ve all heard about the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule that 20% of an activity produces 80% of the desired results. In a business setting, it suggests you should aim to spend 80% of your time on the 20% of activities responsible for delivering the bulk of your income. The hardest part for most is working out what not to do. “We used to offer wrap services for almost anything. If it could be wrapped we would do it, but that’s not always a good idea,” says Cathy Bacot, Wraps For Less (Orlando, FL). “There are certain things that bring in a profit and other things that waste precious time and resources and leave you flat. Over the past four years we have stopped offering wrap services for small items, motorcycles and chrome deletes to name a few. They are too time consuming for the price that you can charge and they often require repairs that lead to more loss of profit… Sometimes you just have to say, ‘we don’t offer that service,’ because it’s better to be honest up front and disappoint that one small customer than to take every job and end up wasting time and money.”


A similar logic applies to your daily to-do list. Either use a system that stores all your to-dos out of sight and out of mind (other than a handful you’re working on now) or toss it altogether. In Secrets of Productive People, Mark Forster argues for the latter. It’s still procrastination, he points out, to do a lot of pointless tasks just because it feels nice to cross them off the list, while the big, difficult thing — the one that matters — goes undone. Forster proposes a minimalist alternative: On a piece of paper, write down the five most important tasks you can think of. Then do them, in order, crossing them off as you go. (If you stop before completing one, add it again at the end.) Once the list is only two items long, add three more, to bring the total back to five. Then repeat. The point of this austere approach is that you’re regularly required to ask what really needs doing, since there are only five slots.


The Underachiever’s Manifesto doesn’t sound like a book you’d find on the shelves of the ambitious business owner looking forward to doing great things in 2022. But it should be. Written by Ray Bennett, it advocates a path to achievement based on the idea that you need to leave some slack in your life to be open to the serendipity of the world and its enormously complex web of interacting variables. And to give yourself the elbow room you need to excel. “As a small shop that attempts to provide it all, I have been in a constant struggle of trying to simplify what ‘it all’ can actually reasonably entail …” says Jake Zani, Rule Signs & Graphics (Randolph, VT). “What this has meant on a practical level is that my shop now exclusively prints our semi-permanent (2-5 year) vinyl graphics on two specific premium vinyls; our house auto vinyl, and our house production vinyl. Both are premium calendered, dry-apply vinyls and both pair with only a single laminate. Everything that our shop prints gets laminated period; this means our customers get a better quality product, but more importantly in the shop we have an easier-to-install product and a single installation procedure regardless of the vinyl project being prepped for. This makes every step of the job process easier; quoting can be reduced to a handful of simple formulas that can fit on a business card, scheduling and time estimating become much more reliably predictable, as does the actual installation procedure itself (and only one procedure is needed).”


There is no middle ground here. This is one of the most important disciplines you can develop to ensure you stay focused on what’s important in your pursuit of a minimal — and sane — life. It helps to keep in mind that whenever you say “yes,” you’re also saying “no” to something else in regard to your objectives and goals. In life, every single thing involves trade-offs. Sometimes the tradeoff is from owning equipment to renting or leasing it. “We used to own a bucket truck,” says Willis Wood, RiNo Sign Works (Lakewood, CO). “After the truck continued to cost money to keep up, it was decided to sell it. Now we just rent the lifts we need for our installs and don’t have to worry about the upkeep on our own truck.” And sometimes a hard ‘no’ — with no middle ground — is the way to go. “Business cards! There is no money in business cards,” says Jennifer Boyd, Artsign Design (Boise, ID). “Can I get an Amen?”


A lot of sign companies love job folders or packets — the repositories for notes from every department they visit along their merry ways to job completion. But how often does someone find or remember something for the folder and have to look all over the company for it? Or worse, one goes missing? “For 18-plus years, you couldn’t convince me that our business was the type that could be paperless,” says Bob Chapa, Signarama Troy | Metro Detroit (Troy, MI). “We always rely on those printed proofs floating around the shop, right? How about the job packet with ‘all the necessary information?’ About two years ago … based on our volume spread across various departments, we finally bit the bullet overnight and went truly paperless. This required installing flatscreens in each department and organizing our workflow with substatuses through Corebridge (our sign software of choice). While that first week was tough … the truth is, we could never go back. Our sales team is now diligent in putting the correct information on work orders (since there are not any papers floating around with scribbled notes) and our production team does a great job of marking their work complete (since there are no job packets to move back up to the front office to show what they accomplished that day). I highly recommend shops of any size consider going paperless as a true way to move forward through subtraction.”


“Doing nothing isn’t an option.” Oh, yes, it is. And it’s often the best one, says Jason Fried, the co-founder of software company Basecamp in his co-authored (with David Heinemeier Hansson) anti “cult of work” manifesto It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work. “‘Nothing’ should always be on the table. Change makes things worse all the time. It’s easier to f*ck up something that’s working well than it is to genuinely improve it. But we commonly delude ourselves into thinking that more time, more investment, more attention is always going to win,” he writes. “Concentrating on what you are good at, enjoy and [are] most profitable at can be the best case scenario,” says Kristie Voty, Chautauqua Sign Co. (Falconer, NY). “We have had many opportunities to grow over the past 25 years. We have opted to stay small in terms of employees. I actually enjoy working on signs, building, designing, meeting with the customer, etc. Had we branched out to more employees, different types of signs and installation (of other shops’ signs) this industry would no longer be as enjoyable. If I keep things the way they are, I have no problem continuing for many years without suffering from being burnt out.”


One could understand if some sign companies look primarily or solely to automation in terms of production. Getting too many orders to continue bending channel letters by hand? Automate with a letter bender. But far more opportunities to automate tasks of all kinds exist in every sign company, no matter what they produce. “Much of our growth in the last 10 years is a result of addition via subtraction,” explains Cain Goettelman, FLS Banners (Sturgeon Bay, WI). “We have looked to automate repetitive steps in many places. Our order-management system allows the creation of macros. Customers can be sent automatic notifications based on their actions and order due dates. Orders can be moved to production stations automatically based on artwork approval and payment receipt. We have trained clients that place frequent orders for the same product to use customized setup templates. We learned to write scripts and create actions that automate production setup, drastically reducing prepress time. We created our own QR code inventory tracking system that works with Google Sheets. It allows a roll of substrate or a bottle of ink or another inventory item to be scanned and have the usage posted to a Google sheet. The sheet then tracks real-time inventory usage. The one thing these all have in common is reducing data entry and the need for repetitive tasks.”


Many business owners and managers fall into the category known as “overfunctioners.” Faced with a challenge — an employee who is not doing a task properly or a request for help — they immediately jump in and do it themselves. It’s an approach that is not only tiring but reinforces the expectant or helpless behavior of customers and staff. Don’t assume that because someone else wants something done, it needs doing, says the law professor Elizabeth F. Emens in her book The Art of Life Admin. Learn to use strategic delay (some things sort themselves out), and train employees to recognize when a version of “Google it yourself!” is the answer to their question. Such an approach means potentially letting small bad things happen and tolerating the resulting anxiety. To quote the psychologist Carin Rubenstein, overfunctioners need a new motto: “Be less than you can be!”


Working fewer days and hours is obviously great for families, friendships, hobbies and the human spirit. But the most interesting implication of recent research is that it appears to be good for productivity and work quality, too. The brain needs rest to operate well. Meanwhile, fixed shorter hours provide a useful sense of constraint: knowing you’ve got to squeeze everything into fewer hours seems to improve efficiency overall. In 2016’s Deep Work, Cal Newport advocates this approach via “fixed-schedule productivity” — that is, setting certain periods for intense important work during a day, applying a short transition period or ritual to mark the end of the workday and then completely stopping at, say, 5 p.m.


According to Matthew May, author of The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything, at the heart of every challenge or business decision lie three tough choices: What to pursue versus what to ignore; what to leave in versus what to leave out; and what to do versus what not to do. “I have discovered that if you focus on the second half of each choice — what to ignore, what to leave out, what not to do — the decision becomes exponentially simpler. The key is to remove the extraneous stuff — anything obviously excessive, confusing, wasteful, hard to use or ugly,” he writes. “This is the art of subtraction: when you remove just the right thing in just the right way, something great is bound to happen.” Cathy Bacot from Wraps For Less agrees: “We do not offer wrap services [any longer] for things we know will start to peel or fail in a short amount of time … We are busy enough now to have the luxury to pick and choose what we want to do and we don’t feel the need to bring in every job that crosses our entrance anymore.”


The best employees may not be replaceable, but they don’t necessarily need to be either. Outsourcing can save money on benefits and training, as well as provide access to a larger talent pool for specialized skill sets. “A key employee decided to leave our business,” says John Miller, Signs by Autografix (Branford, CT). “I was concerned about this loss and found it extremely difficult to hire the right replacement. In the interim we outsourced his work. It soon became clear that doing that was a fine solution, which lowered our payroll and related expenses and eliminated the problem.”



Be willing to fire customers who are a drain on your resources, says Anthony K. Tjan. Writing in the Harvard Business Review he recommends regularly subtracting the least valuable 5% of your customer base. “It is a fallacy that you need to keep all your customers because many of the small customers will become large ones,” he says, recommending you look at your data to see if that has really occurred. What you are more likely to find, he argues, is a stubbornly consistent 5% of your customers who buy in small volumes and require higher maintenance as a cohort than other groups. “Sometimes you have to take a look at your customers and what they are costing you,” says Mallory Lynn from Signarama Brighton in lovely Brighton, CO. “We had a customer that would order very small vinyl items pretty frequently for suite signs. Since they were a very large company they had special requests on how everything was billed and how they wanted the invoices labeled. Needless to say, it became a very convoluted process. After working with them for years we decided it was best for the business to break up. Even though we were terrified of losing the account, it freed us up to bring in new business that helped us reach our growth goals that following year. Sometimes cutting the dead weight can be terrifying, but what opportunities are out there waiting for you?”


Use half as many words and they’ll hit twice as hard. Every writer knows it. Salespeople need to learn it. When you talk too much you come across as anxious and nervous or defensive and combative. “Selling is a transfer of confidence. The seller must transfer his or her confidence in the product to the buyer. When you babble, you don’t sound confident,” says Roy H. Williams, author of the bestselling Wizard of Ads. “Always answer questions as asked. This means that you should focus your energies on providing the simplest answer in the fewest words. If your customer wants to know more, they’ll ask you a follow-up question.”


Meetings have a bad rap as a time trap — often justified. According to studies, executives find at least half of meetings unproductive. But if you’re a business owner or manager, you’re probably already thinking of reasons why you couldn’t do without them. Perhaps then you can strive for fewer and better. Here’s the key question for distinguishing a worthwhile meeting from a worthless one: Is it a “status-report” meeting, designed for employees to tell each other things? If so, it’s probably better handled via email or the bulletin board in the backroom. That leaves a minority of “good” meetings, whose value lies in the coming together of minds, for example, such as a well-run brainstorming session.


Simplifying your life, subtracting the extraneous or finding the elegant solution to a problem can be difficult and at times dispiriting because they imply that no, you can’t have it all, you can’t do everything you want in life or business. But this shouldn’t be dispiriting. In fact, it’s liberating, says Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. Knowing you can’t possibly get everything done spares you the anxiety of trying to figure out how you could. To spend time or effort on anything is, by definition, to choose not to spend that time or effort on an infinite number of alternatives. Declining to do something that seems worthwhile — say, learning how to trade stocks — is a reaffirmation that doing the best job for your current customer matters more.

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SpeedPro Picks a Winner for Hollywood Casino Project

Pennsylvania-based large-format print business SpeedPro used Drytac ViziPrint Illuminate translucent matte PET film to create a series of eye-catching window graphics to help patrons at the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse celebrate the New Year.

Pennsylvania-based large-format print business SpeedPro used Drytac ViziPrint Illuminate translucent matte PET film to create a series of eye-catching window graphics to help patrons at the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse celebrate the New Year.

The brief for the project was to produce graphics that would stand out on the large windows overlooking the horse racing track at the famous venue—which first opened in August 1972 and is also home to a leading casino—but not obstruct the view of the racing action.

The project was picked up by a local print company, Triangle Press, which then reached out to SpeedPro to take on production due to its expertise in large-format print and graphics work.

SpeedPro quickly identified Drytac ViziPrint Illuminate, purchased through Digital Color Ink, as the best product for the job, owing to the fact that the film is not only translucent, but also delivers an unrivalled window graphics experience during the daytime and at night.

The graphics printed flawlessly on SpeedPro’s EFI Pro 16h LED UV hybrid machine and were installed at the venue in just one day.

Pennsylvania-based large-format print business SpeedPro used Drytac ViziPrint Illuminate translucent matte PET film to create a series of eye-catching window graphics to help patrons at the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse celebrate the New Year.

“Our contact at Triangle Press, Tammy Shelley, wanted to use a material that could be easily installed, performed well both in the light and dark, and was suitable for use on windows,” SpeedPro President Dave Higgins said. “The client was also worried about blocking the view out of the large windows, so we had to ensure that the material we selected satisfied their demands.

“For these reasons, Drytac ViziPrint Illuminate was deemed the ideal solution for the job. The film met all the criteria and looked outstanding when printed. The client absolutely loved it.

“I am hoping that due to the quality of the product, the brightness of the print and the ease of install, they will start doing these projects on a more regular basis.”

—Press Release

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NCCCO Foundation CEO Announces Retirement

Graham Brent, CEO of the NCCCO Foundation, will retire in July after twenty-six years’ service to NCCCO.

Graham Brent, Chief Executive Officer of the NCCCO Foundation, will retire July 29, 2022, bringing to a close a twenty-six-year career with the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO).

Brent has led the NCCCO Foundation since 2019 when he stepped down after 23 years as CEO of the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators.

In that time, the Foundation has achieved industry-wide recognition for its ground-breaking studies on crane operator evaluation and virtual reality, its authoritative accreditation and operator certification reference directories, and its advocacy for the crane and rigging industries in outreach to youth and veterans.

The Foundation also hosts the annual Industry Forum on Personnel Qualifications which last year attracted almost 500 registrations from safety and health professionals from across the country, a five-fold increase from just two years ago.

“While we are sorry to see Brent go,” said NCCCO Foundation President J. Chris Ryan, “we are very proud of the sound footing he has established for the Foundation. We are confident that the organization is poised to capitalize on the progress made to date and that it will continue to impact the industry with its safety-driven mission.”

“The last twenty-six years have been extraordinary in so many ways,” said Brent. “I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served NCCCO during that time, the last three years as CEO of the NCCCO Foundation. I look forward to working with the NCCCO and Foundation Boards and staff to achieve a smooth and seamless transition to new leadership.”

A search for Brent’s successor has been initiated by the non-profit organization. “We are looking for a highly self-motivated individual,” said NCCCO President Tim Watters, “who is in complete alignment with, and has demonstrated commitment to, the stated mission of the NCCCO Foundation in advocating for personnel safety and education, and facilitating access by youth, military personnel, and underserved communities to the crane and rigging and associated industries.”

Interested parties may seek further information from and send expressions of interest to Thom Sicklesteel, CEO, NCCCO.

—Press Release

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