Sign & Digital Graphics

December '19

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12 • December 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S Vince DiCecco is a business training and development consultant and owner of the Acworth, Georgia-based business, Your Personal Business Trainer, Inc. He has been sculpting his sales, marketing and training techniques since 1979, and he has shared innovative and practical ideas on business management excellence for two Fortune 200 companies, the U.S. Coast Guard, and in seminars at many sign and digital graphics trade shows. Since 2003, YPBT has been serving small- to mid-sized companies in their efforts to strive for sustained growth and market dominance. Contact him via email at vince@ypbt.com or visit his company website, www.ypbt.com I n the mid-1960s, Frank W. Abagnale Jr. launched a five-year fraud and forgery career that was depicted in the 2002 hit movie Catch Me if You Can. At the age of 16, but with a much older-looking appearance, he ran away from home and chose four respected professions to impersonate—doctor, lawyer, col- lege professor and airline pilot—in order to con his away around the world. Do you remember when air travel was thrilling and reserved for the well-to-do? Perhaps you, too, were one of the many B Y V I N C E D I C E C C O Make it Your Business who tried unsuccessfully to gain legitimate employment in the airline industry for the perks of free travel to enchanting, far-off destinations, and the admiration of your peers on becoming a dashing, courageous pilot or sexy, high-spirited flight attendant? What ever happened to this once-lucrative industry with its rich history, appeal and high customer demand? In a nutshell, it lost its roots and common sense. The same could easily hap- pen to the sign and graphics industry unless we learn from the fatal mistakes the aviation industry has made. Let's taxi down the runway, shall we? Five Deadly Sins Not unlike the airlines, our industry—the digital side, in particular—was blessed with a promising infancy, rapid initial growth and market acceptance, and rock-solid revenue from a clientele that couldn't have too many signs. Sure, there were differences. Relative to the cost of starting up a new airline, it didn't take much toil or seed money to get into the sign busi- ness—perhaps buying a franchise, several pieces of equipment, the know-how to create a sign and a storefront shop in an easily accessible location chosen for its untapped market potential. I dare say there isn't a single airline that can claim those humble beginnings. But, in the case of most every airline— still breathing or now bankrupt—they've committed the five deadly sins of business ownership—from time to time, and many times over. Ponder these mortal missteps: 1) Because business is booming, allowing expenses to escalate out of control; 2) Denying employees a stake in the success of the enterprise by cutting back on benefits or shutting them out of partial ownership; 3) Taking their best customers for granted while chasing low-profit, unappre- ciative clients; 4) In tough times, dropping prices in order to stimulate business; and 5) Becoming legends in their own minds and acting like the business is bulletproof. Are you guilty of any of these? Be hon- est, you've thought about one or two of them or, perhaps, started to head down that rocky road over the years, haven't you? RUNNING THE BUSINESS How NOT to Run Your Business As business models go, most airlines set poor examples but offer valuable lessons

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