We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. ~Herman Melville
The spirit of community is alive and well among Sign Bizzers. Whether it is the annual convention, dubbed The Reunion, or a call to action among all Members to support a baby's heart transplant or to provide support to a Member who survived floods and tornados, this worldwide organization is at its heart, a group with heart. We are clear that this type of open and supportive culture is rare, and it doesn't happen by accident. Simple guidelines, integrity in dealings, and partnership at every level - these are some of the pillars that make the magic happen. We are also clear that those who contribute the most, gain the most. In friendships, in education, and in all of the other intangibles that entrepreneurship promises.
It is an inspiration to be part of the daily exchanges between all Members of the Sign Biz Network. Whether the question is from a "newbie" or a seasoned Sign Bizzer, there is always a chorus of responses. This provides not only an immediate answer to improve business operations, it also provides a most important intangible - real support and connection to a community that knows who you are, and what you need.
Sign Biz provides updates to and maintains this private communication system - our IntraNetwork - with new members, new files, photos, and news. Members build a knowledge base within the IntraNetwork that is searchable by topic, or within files and departments.
Another way we connect virtually is through our social networking sites. Members are active in Facebook, and our Sign Biz page is a connecting point for these exchanges. Visit www.facebook.com/signbiz to see more. In addition, Sign Biz Members are stars in every way, and featured in videos on our YouTube site. From those who panel workshops, to those who star in commercial spots, we all enjoy seeing our "family" on screen! To see workshop clips, and Members in the spotlight, visit: www.youtube.com/signbiznetwork
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. ~George Bernard Shaw
Community is also about partnership. The team at Sign Biz, Inc. does not believe that the franchise format is healthy for the sign industry entrepreneur. It may be acceptable to those who are in those contractual arrangements, but for us, a mutual benefit contract has worked better, leading to more Million Dollar Shops per capita than any franchise chain. We at Sign Biz work hard to offer what Members want and need - this creates a win-win for all of us.
If you read a franchise contract carefully, you will see that the percentage paid every month to the franchisor by its franchisees is strictly for the use of a common name. According to the Woodrow Wilson Institute of Scholarly Research in Washington, DC, some industries merit a franchise format, i.e. when the name can bring business. The fast-food industry is such as case, where uniformity is key and consumer advertising is relevant.
Whereas a franchise organization will collect 6 to 8% of their business owners' gross sales each and every month, whether or not that business is operating in the black, Sign Biz Inc operates as the only full-service VAR for all of the industry's leading software and hardware suppliers. That means that by assisting our stores in channeling their profits back in to their local marketplace and their business, we can create the phenomenal success that leads to prolific sales of products and services. We call this the Sign Biz Merit System. (We offer a free business plan tutorial you can visit right now to learn how different business formats impact on business revenues - see the link at the bottom of the page. Warning: This is not for the faint-hearted!)
According to the same study mentioned above by the Woodrow Wilson Institute of Scholarly Research, 42% of franchise location close or are resold by the franchisor. In this way the franchisor does not have to include those resales in their total of "failed" locations. A franchisor that resells a failed location more than once is suspect for "churning"-- wherein the franchisor can be accused of having an interest only in gaining hefty franchise fees, transfer fees and training fees during the resale, rather than an interest in the ultimate success of a franchisee in that location.
Sign Biz Inc, a full-service business development company, provides the "Closer Look" document with this important information -much like the FDD of a franchisor. The following facts are important: Sign Biz Inc. has maintained an annualized rate of closure of less than one-half of one percent of its stores over the past 20 years. Sign Biz Inc. has never had a lawsuit filed against it by any of its Network Members.
"Why should we discount the loyalty and support of like minds in business, in other words, why should that pale in comparison to neighborly chats at the homefront? If one can put heart and integrity into the business arena, then the world is made a better place, for the clients who need the product, the employees who have a job, the shareholders and the partners who continue the cycle… Everyone in the Sign Biz organization holds themselves to a higher standard, remains accountable for their actions, and the quality of life and the lives of those we touch. " - Teresa M. Young, President, Sign Biz, Inc.
One cannot ignore the importance of cooperation, and a community of business people to connect with. In his book “The Loyalty Effect” Reichheld states that survival is only possible on the basis of the loyalty and trust built up in the circular relationship: partners-employees-customers-partners... A company needs to have responsible shareholders to maintain employees who trust in the shareholders' intentions to survive. It needs to have employees who will give a good service, who will lock in their customers' loyalty and generate a revenue flow that is sufficient to adequately reward capital.
"I really do appreciate and respect the Sign Biz organization. What you have put together truly is unique and participating in it at various levels of activity, has been the most pleasant and rewarding experience in my almost 50 years of working. I have been the recipient of good ideas, information and suggestions for years now, and I truly love the genuine levels of participation, sharing and inter-communication you have nurtured."
- Steve Dunn, Solano Signs, CA