I have to admit that I work with some of the best people on the planet—and I’m not just talking about the ones who are a part of the WFI team, either. I’m talking about the owners and the presidents of digital graphics and sign shops that I have the privilege to talk to, report about, and be inspired by each and every day.
This year for the Top Shops Report, in addition to asking them key questions about their businesses, I asked these industry leaders to share with me the best advice they had ever received during their careers. I wanted to share some of their responses with you because I think it’s all right on point. I think you’ll agree.
“Be deadly serious about your work, but never take yourself seriously.”—Mike Berman, CEO, Coloredge
“People buy from people they know and trust. This has been my mantra for 15 years and I don’t see changing it anytime soon.”—Shane Beard, president, FastSigns of Naperville, IL
“Don’t focus on profits. Focus on making your clients and employees happy. When decisions are made based on the immediate impact to the bottom line, we lose sight of the bigger picture.”—Jason Cardonick, owner, Big Mountain Imaging
“When I started my company my uncle told me three things. 1 – Send out your payroll and avoid tax problems. They can be business killers. 2 – Rent your furniture for the first year. You won’t know if you like it until you try it. (I hated it.) 3 – Don’t bring any partners. Any decisions must be made by consensus and fighting for control is a major distraction. It was all true and kept us alive.”—Kevin M. O’Hea, owner, Academy Reprographics
“Control your debt. Don’t buy it if you can’t pay for it or you don’t need it. Secondly, never mistake activity for achievement.”—John A. Davis, CEO, Alabama Graphics
“Identify, nurture, and ‘live’ your company core values. They are the blueprint to how your company operates and are indispensable for hiring, firing, and reviewing employees, suppliers, and customers. If your core values don’t align, your business philosophy and working environment never will either.”—Tom Truna, owner, Big Ink Display Graphics
“Above all other things, be honest. Your customers will thank you for it and appreciate the ability to trust you in the future.”—Mark W. Shocker, owner, The Composing Room
“The best advice I ever received was given to me by my father. He said, ‘Son, if you want to be successful in business, surround yourself with talented people.’ I believe that is the reason for our success.”—Gary Schellerer, VP Operations, Signs by Tomorrow of Bloomingdale, IL
“I always liked a quote from Winston Churchill, ‘If you are going through hell, keep going.’”—Michael Duggal, CEO, Duggal
“Everything you need to know about managing the business can be learned from The Godfather.”—Joe Thompson, president, Berry & Homer