I DON’T have to be in my sign shop to make money
I DON’T have to be in my sign shop to sell!
I DON’T have to be in my sign shop to service my clients!
I am writing this from the comfort of a cool little coffee house in New York City. The noise from the street filters into the room and the smell of fresh brewed coffee moves through the air… very nice. Here’s the thing, I am not from New York nor do I live anywhere nearby. I am actually from Ohio and I am only here in the Big Apple to check out a potential graphics project.
Even though I am pretty far from my sign shop I have no worries at all that things are not getting done. I have my laptop here in front of me and I have already checked my e-mails, knocked off a little revised sketch for some channel letters and sent off a series of specs for an electrical cabinet. To cover my employees, I have placed two calls back to the shop on my iPhone to clarify instructions for a vehicle wrap happening today. In short, all seems to be moving smoothly in my absence.
THIS is how I like things to run!
A while back, I began to challenge the necessity of actually being in the office to keep things running. I found myself questioning the standard workflow and exploring alternatives. In the age we live, with broadband internet access, powerful laptops, smart phones and a plethora of remote access tools available, I figured that we should be able to apply this technology to a sign company. I am happy to report that this is exactly the case. I have compiled a list of things that can help you achieve the same (or greater) level of freedom from your sign company.
1. GoToMyPC.com – this incredible, web based, service allows me to easily remote control computers from anywhere that I have internet access. It literally brings up my computers desktop (I actually have multiple computers set-up) and I can work on my shop computer as if I was sitting right at my desk.
2. E-Mail – using e-mail in general is useful. Using e-mail I can look at new projects, communicate with my clients, respond to requests, provide information / quotes / drawings etc. In sort, training all of your clients to communicate with you almost exclusively with e-mail can significantly increase your potential mobility. You will increase your freedom even more if you have an e-mail capable cell phone that can receive forwarded messages.
3. Cell Phone – I personally use the new iPhone which has proven to be much better solution than my Blackberry 7100i. While I could receive e-mails on the Blackberry (and respond) I was unable to actually see any attachments. The iPhone solved this problem and I can easily see pictures, Excel documents, PDFs and Word files that have been sent by customers or vendors. The iPhone also allows me to carry around art/design samples, picture of projects and even videos of sign installations or the ISA’s sign resource information.
4. Systems – Having effective systems working in your sign company can make (or break) any freedom of time that you might want. It is vital that you have systems in place to run your marketing, your sales process, your project communication and your contact with your clients. I have posted several Free E-Tools on TheSignExpert.com website that I use in my own shop to ensure things are moving along. Feel free to use these resources in your own sign shop and enjoy!