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Better Sign Shop Podcast

Author: Peter Kourounis, Michael Riley, and Bryant Gillespie

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Learn how to build a better sign and print shop from a few crusty sign guys who've made more mistakes than they care to admit. Conversations and advice on sales, marketing, pricing, growth, and more. Co-hosted by Peter Kourounis, Michael Riley, and Bryant Gillespie.
14 Episodes
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This is definitely the song that never ends 🐑. Right up there with pricing questions – "What sign shop management software are you using?" is asked weekly in every sign industry forum, Facebook group, and any other place sign folks gather. Shop management software is a foundational piece of running a successful sign shop and can truly help you scale, grow, and manage your shop. Listen as two sign shop management software nerds talk through our advice and recommendations for every shop owner.We cover:- Using generic tools like Trello, Airtable, and others as your shop management software- Using off the shelf sign and print shop management software- Estimate (http://www.estimatesoftware.com/)- Sign Tracker (https://www.sign-tracker.com/)- Cyrious (https://www.cyrious.com/products/control/)- shopVOX (https://www.shopvox.com/)- Corebridge (https://corebridge.net/)- Square Coil (Formerly V-Sign Software) (https://squarecoil.com/)- Must have advice for implementing sign and print shop management software---This episode sponsored by:GCI Digital ImagingYour large / grand format trade printing partnerOwner T.J. Bedacht and his team focus on providing customer service the old-school way. Check out Episode #9 to see for yourself.  So if you're looking for a wholesale print provider for banners, coroplast signs, vehicle wraps, and other digitally printed graphicsLearn more and place your first order at https://gci-digital.com---In this episode...------Ready to systemize and scale your shop?Start by creating your free account on the Better Sign Shop platform at https://my.bettersignshop.com/Are you a sign or print shop owner?Join the Better Sign Shop Community - our free Facebook group exclusively for shop owners and managers (https://www.facebook.com/groups/bettersignshopmastermind/)---Want to follow the crusty sign guys?Bryant from Better Sign Shop- Better Sign Shop Website: https://www.bettersignshop.com- Better Sign Shop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bettersignshop###Michael from Letterbox Sign Design- Letterbox Sign Design Website: https://www.letterboxsigndesign.com/- Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Letterboxsigndesign###Peter from Sign Shop Consulting- Sign Shop Consulting Website: https://www.signshopconsulting.com/---Interested in being a guest on the show? Have questions you'd like to hear us answer on the air?Email us at hey@bettersignshop.com
One of the questions that we get all the time is "How do I grow my shop?". It's usually followed by "in a small city or town". Not every sign maker lives in a large metro area with tons of opportunity for growth. In this episode, we're joined by Chris Fleniken of Real Graphics in Lufkin, Texas. Chris has built a small business empire by playing the long game. We cover: - How to grow your shop - The importance of diversifying your income streams- What role community plays in your success---This episode sponsored by:GCI Digital ImagingYour large / grand format trade printing partnerOwner T.J. Bedacht and his team focus on providing customer service the old-school way. Check out Episode #9 to see for yourself.  So if you're looking for a wholesale print provider for banners, coroplast signs, vehicle wraps, and other digitally printed graphicsLearn more and place your first order at https://gci-digital.com---In this episode...------Ready to systemize and scale your shop?Start by creating your free account on the Better Sign Shop platform at https://my.bettersignshop.com/Are you a sign or print shop owner?Join the Better Sign Shop Community - our free Facebook group exclusively for shop owners and managers (https://www.facebook.com/groups/bettersignshopmastermind/)---Want to follow the crusty sign guys?Bryant from Better Sign Shop- Better Sign Shop Website: https://www.bettersignshop.com- Better Sign Shop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bettersignshop###Michael from Letterbox Sign Design- Letterbox Sign Design Website: https://www.letterboxsigndesign.com/- Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Letterboxsigndesign###Peter from Sign Shop Consulting- Sign Shop Consulting Website: https://www.signshopconsulting.com/---Interested in being a guest on the show? Have questions you'd like to hear us answer on the air?Email us at hey@bettersignshop.com
Industry legend – Dan Antonelli of KickCharge Creative joins us to talk about his new book Branded Not Blanded and to discuss why you're playing with fire if you're not educating your sign shop's customers on the importance of design and branding.Make sure you pick up a copy of Dan's latest book – Branded Not Blanded – at https://www.kickcharge.com/books/---This episode sponsored by:GCI Digital ImagingYour large / grand format trade printing partnerOwner T.J. Bedacht and his team focus on providing customer service the old-school way. Check out Episode #9 to see for yourself.  So if you're looking for a wholesale print provider for banners, coroplast signs, vehicle wraps, and other digitally printed graphics Learn more and place your first order at https://gci-digital.com---In this episode...- -- ---Ready to systemize and scale your shop?Start by creating your free account on the Better Sign Shop platform at https://my.bettersignshop.com/Are you a sign or print shop owner?Join the Better Sign Shop Community - our free Facebook group exclusively for shop owners and managers (https://www.facebook.com/groups/bettersignshopmastermind/)---Want to follow the crusty sign guys?Bryant from Better Sign Shop- Better Sign Shop Website: https://www.bettersignshop.com- Better Sign Shop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bettersignshop###Michael from Letterbox Sign Design- Letterbox Sign Design Website: https://www.letterboxsigndesign.com/- Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Letterboxsigndesign###Peter from Sign Shop Consulting- Sign Shop Consulting Website: https://www.signshopconsulting.com/---Interested in being a guest on the show? Have questions you'd like to hear us answer on the air?Email us at hey@bettersignshop.com
Taylor Kraenzel of Vizion Signs (https://www.vizionsigns.com/) joins us to talk about what it's like to take over and modernize the family business while still trying to retain the craft and eye for artwork that they were known for. Taylor's grandfather started the shop way back in 1966. And they're still going strong. Just a heads up – this one runs a bit long but we had a blast. We cover a ton of great topics and we even get to flip the script a bit at the end.In this episode... Mike dies from laughter (01:45) Mike - the Sign Chimichanga - tries to give Bryant a nickname (02:40) Peter shares some big news about his future (09:56) Taylor shares his backstory (19:09) Taylor's takeaways from success in the real estate industry (26:16) Balancing the art focus and the commerical side (38:21) In a competitive market, how does Vizion stand out? (46:08) The profitability of the business (01:07:15) How to outsource installation (01:10:05) Is focusing on vehicle wraps a good avenue for growth? (01:28:20) Takeaways for Taylor (01:40:00) ---Ready to systemize and scale your shop?Start by creating your free account on the Better Sign Shop platform at https://my.bettersignshop.com/ Are you a sign or print shop owner?Join the Better Sign Shop Community - our free Facebook group exclusively for shop owners and managers (https://www.facebook.com/groups/bettersignshopmastermind/)---Want to follow the crusty sign guys?Bryant from Better Sign Shop Better Sign Shop Website: https://www.bettersignshop.com Better Sign Shop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bettersignshop Michael from Letterbox Sign Design Letterbox Sign Design Website: https://www.letterboxsigndesign.com/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Letterboxsigndesign Peter from Sign Shop ConsultingSign Shop Consulting Website: https://www.signshopconsulting.com/ ---Interested in being a guest on the show?Have questions you'd like to hear us answer on the air?Email us at hey@bettersignshop.com
Are you struggling with finding and keeping good employees? Learn what it really takes to onboard a new employee and how to keep valuable team members motivated and engaged.An old friend with an epic beard – Jeff Sherman – joins us for a conversation on employees and building a solid team. Jeff has 20+ years of sign industry experience and 10+ years of running operations at a fairly large shop.We cover a lot of topics related to building a killer team. You won't be disappointed.In this episode... Jeff's new nicknames for Mike (01:25) Origin of the sign shop Yoda (06:14) Jeff's sign industry backstory (08:45) The biggest struggle for shops nationwide (15:20) Building up your people (16:32) Developing employees takes time (23:40) To grow as a business and an owner... (32:00) Onboarding time (33:33) The standard for industry training (40:35) Don't just learn from mistakes... (51:40) How to keep employees long term (53:23) Give employees enough space to fail (59:18) What caused Jeff to leave his position (1:05:09) Follow the crusty sign guysBryant from Better Sign Shop Better Sign Shop Website: https://www.bettersignshop.com Better Sign Shop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bettersignshop Better Sign Shop Community for sign shop owners: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bettersignshopmastermind/ Michael from Letterbox Sign Design Letterbox Sign Design Website: https://www.letterboxsigndesign.com/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Letterboxsigndesign Peter from Sign Shop ConsultingSign Shop Consulting Website: https://www.signshopconsulting.com/ Interested in being a potential guest on the show? Have questions you'd like to hear us answer on the air?Email us at hey@bettersignshop.com
We hate buzzwords. And “customer experience” is one that everyone one the internet seems to SHOUT about as a key driver for growth. But once you wade through all the gimmicks and hype, it is a very important concept to apply in your shop.Tj Bedacht from grand format trade printer GCI Digital Imaging – talk about customer experience and coming through for customers day in and day out.//////////////////////////////////////In this episode...-//////////////////////////////////////Links from the EpisodeGCI Digital Websitehttp://www.gci-digital.com?ref=bettersignshopThat Rusty Bus Facebook Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/thatrustybus///////////////////////////////////////Follow the crusty sign guysBryant from Better Sign Shop- Better Sign Shop Website: https://www.bettersignshop.com- Better Sign Shop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bettersignshop- Better Sign Shop Community for sign shop owners: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bettersignshopmastermind/Michael from Letterbox Sign Design- Letterbox Sign Design Website: https://www.letterboxsigndesign.com/- Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LetterboxsigndesignPeter from Sign Shop Consulting- Sign Shop Consulting Website: https://www.signshopconsulting.com/Have questions you'd like to hear us answer on the air? Email us at hey@bettersignshop.comInterested in being a potential guest on the show? Fill out our guest form at https://airtable.com/shrXZebg0Ou7u5ovU
How did your shop survive COVID? If you're like a lot of shop owners, the answer might be "just barely". But would your business survive yet another disaster after making it through COVID? Listen in as shop owner - Mike Davis - and ops manager - Scott Dean - from Hilltop Signs & Graphics in Maryland tell their story of business survival. This was a killer interview with lots of great takeaways on how to survive (and even thrive) in hard times – which we may be facing yet again if you listen to the news.In this episode... All the emotions (02:37) Was COVID a recession? (07:13) Are we entering (or already in) a recession (10:01) Peter's COVID strategy (14:41) Introducing Mike and Scott (20:31)  Mike's story Hilltop Signs and Graphics (24:14) Who is Scott? (33:42) How did Hilltop survive COVID? (39:20) Disaster strikes again (47:03) Follow the crusty sign guysBryant from Better Sign Shop Better Sign Shop Website: https://www.bettersignshop.com Better Sign Shop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bettersignshop Better Sign Shop Community for sign shop owners: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bettersignshopmastermind/ Michael from Letterbox Sign Design Letterbox Sign Design Website: https://www.letterboxsigndesign.com/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Letterboxsigndesign Peter from Sign Shop ConsultingSign Shop Consulting Website: https://www.signshopconsulting.com/ Have questions you'd like to hear us answer on the air? Email us at hey@bettersignshop.comInterested in being a potential guest on the show? Fill out our guest form at https://airtable.com/shrXZebg0Ou7u5ovU
When To Invest In Your Shop

When To Invest In Your Shop

2022-09-2701:08:27

Michael, Peter, and Bryant are back with more answers to listener questions. They cover... When should you invest in your shop?  How do I handle a client that's NOT happy with their vehicle wrap even though they approved the proof ? What should my markups on materials be? In this episode, we discuss... Mike's panic about his upcoming wedding (01:59) Diving into when to invest in your shop (06:57) Peter's reason why he bought his first printer (09:21) Should you buy a new piece of equipment if you don't have time to learn how to use it (15:50) Why training is as important as any equipment you buy (20:10) Other types of investment into your team (27:51) The importance of simply paying your team well (31:15) How to handle un-happy customers (35:27) The situation is never black and white (39:15) Handling the situation (43:37) What to set your material markups at (51:40) Links from the episode Topaz Labs (for enhancing pixelated images) https://www.topazlabs.com/ Wrap Institute (for video courses on wrapping vehicles) https://wrapinstitute.com/ Follow the crusty sign guysBryant from Better Sign Shop Better Sign Shop Website: https://www.bettersignshop.com Better Sign Shop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bettersignshop  Better Sign Shop Community for sign shop owners: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bettersignshopmastermind/ Michael from Letterbox Sign Design Letterbox Sign Design Website: https://www.letterboxsigndesign.com/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Letterboxsigndesign Peter from Sign Shop Consulting Sign Shop Consulting Website: https://www.signshopconsulting.com/ Have questions you'd like to hear us answer on the air?Email us at hey@bettersignshop.comInterested in being a potential guest on the show?Fill out our guest form at https://airtable.com/shrXZebg0Ou7u5ovU
Michael and Bryant discuss the benefits of outsourcing and the lessons they learned. The guys are joined by guest Jeremy Siegers from Sharp Mill Graphics. Jeremy recently completely transformed his entire business by ditching his shop and letting his production staff go to work 100% remotely. He's changed his business to fit his ideal lifestyle.In this episode, we discuss... Mike's nutty catalytic converter story (01:10) Post Malone and Country Singers (04:54) Mike's take on outsourcing (6:00) How much outsourcing the guys did in their shops (9:14) Why not to buy that new equipment (11:56) Don't underestimate the maintenance and service (16:45) What you should outsource (21:52) Outsourcing overflow is OK (23:50) Intro to Jeremy and Sharp Mill (26:30) The tipping point for Jeremy (38:00)  How Jeremy is vetting vendors (48:15) Rapid fire takeaways (57:00) Links from the episode Sharp Mill Graphics (https://sharpmill.com)Follow the crusty sign guysBryant from Better Sign Shop Better Sign Shop Website: https://www.bettersignshop.com Better Sign Shop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bettersignshop  Better Sign Shop Community for sign shop owners: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bettersignshopmastermind/ Michael from Letterbox Sign Design Letterbox Sign Design Website: https://www.letterboxsigndesign.com/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Letterboxsigndesign Peter from Sign Shop Consulting Sign Shop Consulting Website: https://www.signshopconsulting.com/ Have questions you'd like to hear us answer on the air?Email us at hey@bettersignshop.comInterested in being a potential guest on the show?Fill out our guest form at https://airtable.com/shrXZebg0Ou7u5ovU
Instead of riffing on a single topic, we answer three important questions from podcast listeners. If you're a shop owner, you've got answers to these at some point – so listen in and see if you agree with our recommendations.1. How do you address minimum orders and how to handle the walk-ins requesting $50 lettering/signs? Also how minimums might apply to large accounts that frequently request small orders in between larger orders?2. How much should you be paying yourself as the owner of a sign shop3. How can I get new leads for my sign company? What’s worked well for you all?In this episode, we discuss... How to address minimum orders (09:13) The importance of qualifying customers (13:05) Locking the doors and going appointment only (14:46) Walk-in customers get shown the door for $50 (16:37) 'Shop minimums' creating poor experiences for customers (19:21) How to use a minimum order amount to upsell (22:28) What to do when large accounts need small orders (29:07) The difference between a large account vs a good account (33:53) How much should you be paying yourself? (35:08) Are you a key employee as well as an owner? (38:17) Importance of having financial experts on your team (42:07) How can I get new leads for my shop? (43:37) Who's your customer (46:34) Using pay-per-click ads (49:04) Don't ignore face-to-face marketing (51:13) Rapid-fire takeaways (57:01) Links from the episode Sign Shop Talk Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/signshoptalk) Better Sign Shop Mastermind (https://www.bettersignshop.com/sign-shop-mastermind) Follow the crusty sign guysBryant from Better Sign Shop Better Sign Shop Website: https://www.bettersignshop.com Better Sign Shop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bettersignshop  Better Sign Shop Community for sign shop owners: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bettersignshopmastermind/ Michael from Letterbox Sign Design Letterbox Sign Design Website: https://www.letterboxsigndesign.com/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Letterboxsigndesign Peter from Sign Shop Consulting Sign Shop Consulting Website: https://www.signshopconsulting.com/ Have questions you'd like to hear us answer on the air?Email us at hey@bettersignshop.comInterested in being a potential guest on the show?Fill out our guest form at https://airtable.com/shrXZebg0Ou7u5ovU
Stop Fumbling The Handoff

Stop Fumbling The Handoff

2022-08-0101:01:31

Most mistakes in a sign or print shop are made during the handoffs. When a job is handed from sales to design, from design to production, from production to install. It's important that you manage the handoff well in order to ensure things are completed on time and customers stay happy.In this episode, we discuss... Peter has a crisis over Disney's power bill (02:30) Mike's fixer upper (04:28) Mike's football knowledge (09:35) Where do most breakdowns happen (11:54) It's all about communication (14:20) Fast Signs sing-along (15:44) Importance of meetings once per week (17:15) Using tools like Slack to communicate internally (21:16) Bryant gives his favorite email / team communication tool (26:57) What are some symptoms of poor handoffs (34:11) Blame the sales team (38:58) Don't blame the sales team (43:20) Job shadowing as a way to improve teamwork (52:00) The meat and potatoes (54:50) Rapid fire takeaways (59:59) Links from the episode Slack - team group chat tool the guys discussed (https://slack.com/) Missive - Bryant's recommendation for a shared inbox tool (https://missiveapp.com/?ref_id=E9E18DBF7CBA) Many Requests - Mike's recommendation for managing client submitted design jobs (http://manyrequests.com/) Jim Justice Memes (https://giphy.com/search/jim-justice) Money Pit - 80s movie with Tom Hanks and Shelley Long (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091541/) Mike's home remodeling blog (https://oursomedayhouse.squarespace.com/) Follow the crusty sign guysBryant from Better Sign Shop Better Sign Shop Website: https://www.bettersignshop.com Better Sign Shop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bettersignshop  Better Sign Shop Community for sign shop owners: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bettersignshopmastermind/ Michael from Letterbox Sign Design Letterbox Sign Design Website: https://www.letterboxsigndesign.com/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Letterboxsigndesign Peter from Sign Shop Consulting Sign Shop Consulting Website: https://www.signshopconsulting.com/ Have questions you'd like to hear us answer on the air?Email us at hey@bettersignshop.comInterested in being a potential guest on the show?Fill out our guest form at https://airtable.com/shrXZebg0Ou7u5ovU
Growing Pains

Growing Pains

2022-07-2001:18:53

Are you experiencing growing pains in your shop? Things starting to fall through the cracks? Listen in as the guys discuss the challenges of managing a growing shop. Luc Michaud, co-owner of Signtek Industries (http://signtek.ca/) in Prince George, British Columbia – joins us to talk about some of their own experiences with 25% growth year over year since 2012.In this episode, we discuss... Turning away money (08:05) Abandoning your vision you first had for your shop (09:59) The growth of Luc's company (19:44) Signtek's major roadblocks (21:09) The breakout of Signtek's current staff (24:56) Luc's growth strategy for the company (27:49) The bottlenecks of smaller jobs vs larger jobs (36:10) The benefits of systems-based shops and franchises like Fast Signs (43:37) All the different funny business names in Canada (54:23) The technician vs business owner personalities (55:37) Why Peter ACTUALLY got into the sign business (01:07:59) Why Luc is excited about the future of his shop (01:11:27) Links from the episode Pablo Torres's book - Visual Identity (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B2HK724X/) FastSigns (https://www.fsfastsigns.com/own-a-fastsigns/) Better Sign Shop Mastermind (https://www.bettersignshop.com/sign-shop-mastermind) Follow the crusty sign guysBryant from Better Sign Shop Better Sign Shop Website: https://www.bettersignshop.com Better Sign Shop Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bettersignshop  Better Sign Shop Community for sign shop owners: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bettersignshopmastermind/ Michael from Letterbox Sign Design Letterbox Sign Design Website: https://www.letterboxsigndesign.com/ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Letterboxsigndesign Peter from Sign Shop Consulting Sign Shop Consulting Website: https://www.signshopconsulting.com/ Have questions you'd like to hear us answer on the air?Email us at hey@bettersignshop.comInterested in being a potential guest on the show?Fill out our guest form at https://airtable.com/shrXZebg0Ou7u5ovU
Michael, Peter, and Bryant debate where to spend your time and money when working on your marketing. Learn some of their favorite ideas for marketing your sign shop.
Pricing Problems

Pricing Problems

2022-06-1050:16

The inaugural episode of the podcast – Peter, Michael, and Bryant discuss the biggest problem they've seen in the industry – pricing yourself too cheap. Learn how to know if you're pricing yourself short, how to respond to customers who question your pricing, and more.
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