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Category Archives: Statistics

Mustang Sign Group Achieves G7 Master Certification

Mustang Sign Group, a Sign Biz Member located in Kennewick, WA, has earned the G7 Master Qualification Seal demonstrating that the company uses the most modern technology, techniques, proofing, press controls and standards required to produce a close visual match from proof to print.

What is G7 Master Certification? Calibration of equipment and proofing systems is the instrumental piece to this system. The ‘G’ stands for the new calibrating Gray values and the ‘7’ is for the seven core colors in the ISO printing spectrum. (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Red, Green and Blue).  A Mustang Sign Group client can be confident that their new marketing campaign’s vibrant colors seen at multiple locations will look visually similar. And that means Mustang Sign Group can deliver any company’s images and brand consistent with the output from any other G7 Certified printer around the globe.

This certification is one of four that can be awarded by Idealliance®, a not-for-profit industry group dedicated to guiding print production best practices, specifications, and standards, worldwide. Mustang Sign Group joins a select group of print service providers who have successfully completed training, examination and qualification process of their print production processes, validating their capabilities to the highest level of global industry standards and specifications.

“Quality and reproducibility are important to our customers,” says Lauran Wang, Owner of Mustang Sign Group, “Our commitment to the G7 method is just one example of how we’re maximizing our performance, to the benefit of our customers. We look forward to the benefits that standardization brings to both our clients and organization.”

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G7 guarantees consistent and repeatable colors and images from proof to press, press to press and even facility to facility. Another Member of the Sign Biz Network, Linda Levitan, Co-Owner of SIgn-Age in Tampa, FL, presented a seminar at this years Sign Biz International Convention in Las Vegas. She detailed many of the benefits gained when her company became G7 Master Certified.

“We applaud Mustang Sign Group for utilizing the G7 Master Program to assure consistency and quality in their proofing, brand color management and print processes,” commented Steve Bonoff for Idealliance. “G7 Master Qualification demonstrates a level of control and expertise that places Mustang Sign Group at the top of their field. We applaud their leadership, commitment and support of the G7 Master Qualification Program.”

Teresa M. Young, President and CEO of Sign Biz, Inc., adds, “Lauran Wang has a remarkable ability to set a goal and execute on a plan to get there. Her vision has made Mustang Sign Group a renowned print service provider in just a few short years.”

About the Sign Biz Network

The Sign Biz Network was established by Sign Biz, Inc., a business development company specializing in the sign industry.  The Sign Biz corporation exists to provide independently-owned digital sign & graphics businesses with operational support and specialty services. Members of the Sign Biz Network span the globe, across 43 states and six countries, serving both national accounts and local businesses with cutting edge sign products and services.

About Mustang Signs

Mustang Sign Group is a design studio specializing in unique sign and print solutions for small businesses. Our team is made up of problem solvers and strategic thinkers dedicated to the success of both our clients and our agency. We are accessible, personable, honest and ready to help you build a visual foundation for your brand. We are here for one reason – to devote our time, talent, and energy to clients that understand the value of well-designed communications and the impact that is has on their bottom line. We become an extension of their team and bring projects from concept to completion, on budget and on time!

About Idealliance

Idealliance® – Where media creators and technology communities collaborate to craft best practices, advance standards, and certify people, processes, and systems to achieve the highest performance in creation, production and delivery of graphic communications.

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What 2016 Means for 2017

Busiest December in recent history caps a high-growth year. Plenty of evidence points to six strong trends leading into 2017, ranging from value building strategies to differentiation by design. A look back at some of 2016 highlights finishes with some valuable takeaways in this article.

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Onboarding in a Sign Shop

Onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to become effective organizational members and insiders.

Thus states the official definition developed by HR gurus, and published by Wikipedia.  Most people think of onboarding as a one day or one week event, that commences with the new hire’s first day on the job.  But step back a moment, and note that there is great cost to bringing on a new employee, and you have to get it right. So attracting the right hire is actually step one. And that begins with your company’s image, brand, and promise to clients.

So what do employees want? A new survey of more than 600 employees, conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management found 72% of employees rank “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels” to be the most important factor in job satisfaction.

The other factors in the top 5 are trust between employees and senior management (64%); benefits (63%), compensation/pay (61%); and job security (59%). As for the actual work itself? It ranked No. 11.

unengaged-employees2Knowing that your company culture and respectful treatment from management are top priorities, we can begin. Fact: 46% of people will fail within the first 18 months of a new job mainly because of poor culture fit.  Before you let that little voice in the back of your head argue that you don’t want to coddle employees or treat them with kid gloves, remember this: When you give good treatment, you are actually keeping your costs down.

Why? Pay Attention: Thirty case studies taken from the 11 most-relevant research papers on the costs of employee turnover demonstrate that it costs businesses 100% – 300% of a worker’s salary to replace that worker. For businesses that experience high levels of turnover, this can add up to represent significant costs!  If, heaven forbid, you have five turnovers in one year, you just cost your business one entire team’s salaries for the year!

Now that we have your attention, let’s talk onboarding.  Fact: New employees are 69% more likely to stay more than three years if they’ve experienced a well-structured onboarding program.

new-hireYou have a workstation set up, a business card order form with title checked off, a pile of HR paperwork to be completed, and a tour of your shop and parking lot instructions. You’re ready for your new hire’s first day, right?  Um, not so fast.

That list of prep items is actually going to cover about an hour and a half.  So then what? Assign the New Employee Handbook as required reading for the rest of the day?   Lame. At least that is what your new hire may be thinking!  If you plan on maximizing the beneficial outcomes for your company as well as for this eager beaver you will see every day, you need to think in terms of a month of orientation. Yes, that is what our own schedule for new sign business owners presents, in a clearly laid out calendar covering four weeks of OTJ training.

Here are some examples for the first day:

  • Workstation prepared, phone, file drawer, clean chair, bulletin board and trash bin
  • Welcome gift – a great mug, a tape measure/ note pad / all in one, a welcome to the team signed by everyone else.
  • Scheduled meeting with all employees, to break the ice
  • Employment paperwork completed, position description reiterated, paydays, the week ahead
  • Tour of each piece of the business, how it fits together
  • Informal lunch with manager or bring in pizza for everyone and hold the informal meet and greet then.
  • Some downtime that first day
  • End of day Q&A, check in with the new hire for lingering questions, etc.

A simple plan of action for the weeks ahead will help you avoid assigning “busy work” to the new team member. We’ve all been there: Knowing that the newbie is not ready to “go it alone” we assign a safe task that will eat up some time until we can get to the next piece of training.

Many companies have a 90-day introductory period during which new employees are under assessment for their fit with the company, and their job performance. Though you likely intend to provide the feedback at the end of the 90-day period, it is wise to give 30-day and 60-day evaluations along the way. In addition, informal feedback daily is extremely important.

One of our new business owners – a first-time entrepreneur – explained the impact a new hire has on the existing team. He noted that it is not a new member of an existing team, but rather a new team that is created. Brand new. If you think of it this way, you can recognize the signs of the team being formed over that 90-day period, and you can help to guide its development.

Those reactions ranged from nervous, to insecure, to downright ill.

man-73339_640At the 2014 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition, the founders of Baudville spoke with many attendees about what it feels like to be a newbie. Those reactions ranged from nervous, to insecure, to downright ill. According to the stats, by the time your new employee has made it to the six-month mark, they have likely determined if they will stay long-term or not. So what you do beyond the 90-day mark matters.

Here’s the kicker: Retention rates for employees who are mentored are 72% higher than for those who are not mentored.

Hopefully this has given you a fresh perspective on the great onboarding process, and how this system can become a true representation of a great company culture. Spend a couple of days focusing your energy on developing a good strategy for new hires, and gain returns from this effort for years to come. sign-shop-team-members

We thank Sign Biz Members who contributed their experiences, and photo credits to Mustang Signs and SIGNWorks of Montery. We credit Roberta Chinsky Matuson for her insights published in Recognation. Roberta is known globally as The Talent Maximizer, and is the President of Matuson Consulting. www.matusonconsulting.com

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Corporate Insecurity? The Golden Handshake May Offer a Silver Lining

During the mass layoffs in 2001-2002, thousands of corporate and factory workers were in panic and fear of losing their jobs. But for self-employed business owners, it was just a matter of tightening the belt. Someone self-employed has built some “muscle” to weather income fluctuations. In fact, someone with a “regular” job may have had less income security than a successful self-employed professional. Entrepreneurs are better prepared for a recession, because they know what it takes to give their revenue a boost.

corporaterefugeeThe Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in April that both the unemployment rate (5.4 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (8.5 million) were essentially unchanged. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.8 percentage point and 1.1 million, respectively. Contrast this to 2009, when the overall unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent of the labor force in June, the highest since 1982, when the rate peaked at 10.8 percent.

As the economic nosedive was occurs, self-employed professionals don’t waste any time. They vigorously promoted their services, expanded their network of contacts, created more sources of income, and invested in new courses. See Business Survey here.

With each recession, many professionals want to become independent, but may be too scared and have no idea where to start. We offer the guideposts. ~ Teresa M Young, President of Sign Biz, Inc.

How important are small businesses to the U.S. economy?
Small firms:
Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
Employ about half of all private sector employees.
Pay 43 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
Have generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years.

We meet people like this every day – smart, hard-working professionals with years of experience, who are either too tired of working for another company, want to make more money, or want to take control of their own future,” explains Young. “They are, often “corporate refugees” — forced out on their own.”

These challenges have created opportunities for some, as they are forced to look outside the normal channels for their future careers. In this search, if they stumble upon the sign industry, they have an “aha” moment,” says Young.

“They look around, and suddenly notice a rich and diverse industry that appears boundless. If they want a solid and streamlined start to becoming a world-class visual communications company, we are the only business development company offering that. And, we have worked with these transplanted corporate executives for nearly three decades, and understand the personal nature of such a career change.”

signsofcrossroadYoung saw the need for educating and supporting such professionals as they researched enterprises and start-up opportunities. She launched a comprehensive corporate website back in 1994, and included a business plan tutorial. Today, the FTC, the Small Business Administration, and the Dept. of Commerce all report statistics about business success and failure rates. What is pointed out by these reports is how very little the public knows about why companies succeed, and why they fail. The Sign Biz website now features multiple studies and resources to education budding entrepreneurs.

“Unlike school, where training is measured at most in years, a career can be measured in decades. There is no equivalent to a college catalog listing required, recommended, and elective courses. Most people aren’t assigned a mentor, the working world equivalent of a college adviser. Very few people have a mentor who will promote and package their work for them. That’s where we can help. Sign Biz exists to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with knowledgeable business training, support and promotional opportunities for growing a business of their own,” she adds.

Sign Biz offers a full-service business development program for individuals entering the sign industry as entrepreneurs. The award winning program contributes to the unmatched success rate of their chain of sign companies. The education curriculum totals three weeks, and is complemented by a minimum of one week of home study, and a week of In-Store Training, plus more than 17 proprietary manuals and all equipment and extensive support services in perpetuity. For further information call (949) 234-0408 or (800) 633-5580.

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Selecting The Right Shop Location

It has long been stated that “location, location, location” is vital to the success of many – if not most – businesses. This is equally true for a professional sign shop that is newly established or in early growth phases, in particular, for those that offer digital print and cut vinyl products as a mainstay. Outgrowing the space? There’s research for that, too.

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Sign Biz® Network Achieves Highest Per Capita Revenue

(Dana Point, CA)– 2014 marks another year of record-breaking sales by Member of the Sign Biz Network – topping all chains as reported in Wide-Format Imaging’s 2014 SIGN FRANCHISE REVIEW. Looking back on the 25th annual Sign Biz Network Convention, it is easy to see the progress made by these full-service sign businesses over the past several years.

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Adam Wolf is Sign Biz® Sales Consultant Of The Year

(Orlando, FL)– The Sales Consultant of the Year Awards (SCOYAs), the country’s only nationwide competition celebrating the accomplishments of the Sign Biz Network’s most successful digital sign consultants, has just announced this year’s award winner for sales achieved in the calendar year of 2011. As part of “Cue the Future”, this year’s International Convention for the Sign Biz Network, hosted in Orlando, Florida, the SCOYA was presented at a gala ceremony and party held at the Doubletree Resort by Hilton on International Drive, and attended by more than 140 business owners and industry dignitaries.

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Review of Sign Industry Sustainability

(Dana Point, CA)– Sign Biz, Inc.’s President and CEO, Teresa M. Young, founder of the largest non-franchise sign chain in the US, was a featured contributor to Sign Builder Illustrated magazine’s coverage of sustainability in the sign industry. Young was dubbed “trend-caster” since her 2008 keynote address for the Sign Biz annual convention, “Road Signs of the Global Economy – Shift Happens” in which she predicted four “macro trends” that will increase demand for the fast-growing, green-conscious digital sign company, and reshape the way businesses and workers communicate and collaborate worldwide.

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