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Sean Tomlin

Finding FOCUS!

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Via our article written for GraphicsPro Magazine Feb 15, 2022.

One Sign Shop’s Journey to Finding a Focus

Sean Tomlin, Designer Wraps & Signs, says “I wanted to do it all, but I soon realized I couldn’t.”

 

As some of you may already know, it’s difficult to be the one-stop shop for everyone. Hence the old saying “Jack of all trades, master of none.” Stop trying to make everyone happy by being all things to all people — that’ll be your road to failure.

How can you physically (and fairly) split 100% of your focus/time on more than one thing at a time? Just saying that out loud makes no sense, and in my opinion, multitasking is a myth. How can one actually and efficiently multitask? It’s just not possible. If I’m working on Project A and Project B simultaneously, which one gets the most focus? You’re task-switching, not multitasking, and there’s a big difference.

Even computers that “multitask” are sacrificing memory and CPU power to do more than one task at the same time. Instead, focus on one task/project at a time; complete it and move to the next task, and so on. Keep a list; check things off as you complete them.

Focus is a superpower

The ability to focus on the most important task at hand is the superpower of high achievers and very successful people. I’m not saying I’m there. I struggle with this day-to-day; the whirlwinds of daily life always seem to get in the way. Whether it be phone calls, emails, walk-ins, questions, putting out fires, and so on, if we create an environment that allows that to happen, guess what? It will continue to happen.

So, what can we do to change or control our whirlwind?

First, close your door! No more open-door policy. I know you want to be “open and available” to your employees, but when do you have time to do your own work? When do you have time to focus on what you should be doing? What are you the best at? When do you make time to run your sign company, and not be run by your company? When do you make time to work on your business? I’m not just talking about tasks only here; I’m talking about the deeper, more important “direction of your company” stuff.

  • Pro tip: Check out “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” — it’s a great read.

Choosing a focus for Designer Wraps & Signs

A quick personal story. Back in 2006, when I started Designer Wraps, I wanted to offer all things to everyone. I wasn’t very clear on what I wanted to do. I wanted to make signs, banners, and stickers; I wanted to letter trucks, wrap cars, and do PPF and tint. I wanted to do it all, but I soon realized I couldn’t. So I began to focus without actually making a strategic plan to do so.

I said to myself, “I don’t want to make signs; I only want to wrap cars. Actually, I only want to wrap race cars and exotic vehicles.” And so, that’s what I did. We began to create a name for ourselves in that space, and by 2008-2010, we had a pretty decent following for just that — race car liveries and exotic vehicle wraps (color changes and chrome wraps). That was our focus.

Then, fast-forward a couple of years later. I realized that color change wraps were not what I wanted to do, and it wasn’t making sense financially. The residual income for us was in commercial graphics, specifically fleet wraps. So I began to change our focus to that market. We were offering commercial wraps all along; we just weren’t promoting them too heavily on social media. When we did, the responses were rather unexciting and didn’t get a lot of likes. Well, guess what? Likes don’t pay the bills (unless you’re an influencer).

Commercial wraps, color changes, race cars, interior wraps, signs, and banners. I thought to myself, “Nope, still not doing enough.” I wanted more. So in 2015, I acquired a commercial printing and apparel business. I thought, “Man, so many of our customers also need apparel and business cards and brochures for their businesses, so we should be offering those to them as well. We’ll be a one-stop shop for them.”

The idea is wonderful. It makes so much sense. For some companies out there, it does. I believe they are doing it successfully. For our company and myself, something was being sacrificed out of the three divisions: wraps, printing, or apparel. Only one got all of my attention at a time, and for a while there, it was rather chaotic.

It wasn’t until a few years later that I finally realized something had to go. So I began to sell off the divisions that didn’t fit our end goal. We said goodbye to offset printing first, then about two years later, we eliminated our apparel division, which included screen printing and dye-sublimation. Since doing so, we have not looked back. Although some were upset due to convenience, most of our customers understood and are now serviced better than ever on their vehicle graphics needs.

Today, we are a commercial vinyl wrapping company specializing in fleet graphics, corporate interior branding, and signage. Focusing on what we do best has allowed us to develop systems that have made us more efficient and further grow in those markets.

Source article: https://graphics-pro.com/feature/one-sign-shops-journey-to-finding-a-focus/

 

 

Top Tips for Running Your Sign or Wrap Shop in 2022

By Services

Sean Tomlin, Designer Wraps, poses some important questions and encourages shops to “inspect what you expect” in Graphics PRO Magazine

So it’s 2022; now what? Did you plan out your “new year” last year? If not, it’s not too late to start. I’m going to propose different questions here with the hopes of provoking some thoughts that you may have otherwise not have considered. So, here are some things to think about when planning your year.

What did you learn last year?

Is there anything you did last year that, if done differently, you could/would do better this year?

  • Pro tip: Track mistakes, misprints, waste, etc., in a spreadsheet and compare it month-to-month/year-to-year. You can’t change what you don’t know.

Financials

Is all of your end-of-year booking cleaned up and ready to give to your accountant? How did your sales compare to the year before? What are your financial goals for 2022? How do you plan on accomplishing them?

  • Pro tip: It’s easy when you’re using good software like QuickBooks or Freshbooks (not to be confused with estimating/invoicing, job-tracking software like shopVOX or CoreBridge).

How’s your org chart?

Are all the right “butts” in the right seats? Does everyone know what they are accountable for? How do they know? Who is tracking it?

  • Pro tip: I know the market is tough right now, but try to focus on hiring people that align with your core values first, not just on emotion and a “good interview.” Remember to train, set expectations, and measure results! You’ve got to inspect what you expect in all areas of your business.

What about systems?

Is your process simple and easy to understand by your customers AND your employees? If not, what can you do this week to make it so?

  • Pro tip: Write out your process step-by-step on a whiteboard or paper. Start with a heading for each step or icon. Look at it and try to run through it with a fresh set of eyes. Make any adjustments needed here, then start adding the sub-components that make each “gear” turn as efficiently as possible, so the “machine” runs as smoothly as it can.

Organization (as-in not disorganized) 

How does your showroom look? Is it cluttered? Does it need updating? What about material samples? How’s your conference room look? Is it branded? Is it set up for Zoom calls with customers? How’s your production room/space look? Need better material storage/handling? How’s your fab and installation look? Better lighting? Tools? Equipment?

  • Pro tip: Sometimes, a simple, fresh coat of paint goes a long way, or a nice new wall wrap to spice things up. You may also consider a floor scrubber to control dirt and dust in your production/install areas.

Let’s talk expansion

Are you prepared to grow? Are your budgets done? Will you be buying any new equipment this year? If so, what? When? How will you pay for it (cash, lease, finance)? Do you have enough space; the personnel to run the equipment? What about new markets? Is this the year to start looking outside of your current base? Or is your niche just right?

  • Pro tip: You don’t want to grow a broken business. Make certain all of your “ducks are in a row,” your systems are bulletproof, your people are trained and accountable, and your financials are solid enough for growth. Remember, you’ve got to inspect what you expect!

Marketing

Is your marketing plan ready for 2022? Have you thought about social media? Don’t forget about LinkedIn. Are you using all the platforms as efficiently as you can? Is your messaging the same across all platforms? How do potential customers reach you on those platforms? Is your CRM in place? How does your website look? Is it mobile-friendly? Stats show that over 80% of today’s traffic is from mobile devices. It may be time to update and upgrade your site. Otherwise, it may not be the most user-friendly on a mobile device.

What do you mean you don’t have a website? No, you can’t use Facebook or Yellow Pages as your website.

  • Pro tip: Use Wix if you have to, but make sure it’s your unique domain name and not wix.com/yourcompany1. Hire a professional. Stop trying to do it all yourself. Either outsource or, if it’s in your budget, hire a part-time or full-time person in-house to handle this along with your other marketing efforts.

Sales

As billionaire Mark Cuban always says, “Sales fixes everything!” Be experts at selling because those are the companies that win, as opposed to the companies that may be great at what they do, but they don’t know how to sell. What does your sales process look like? It should be part of your system mentioned earlier. Are your salespeople adequately trained? Are they asking the right questions and explaining clear expectations? Back to marketing — how do you get your leads? How are you tracking the leads? Is your CRM in place and being used properly?

  • Pro tip: Be sure to present what makes you unique and different at the forefront of your sales and marketing process.

Business success

This could be an article all to itself. Are your goals set? Are you an owner? If so, are you working on your business, not in your business? Are all of your staff members on the same page as your leadership team? Is your vision clear to the entire organization?

  • Pro tip: Print out a large poster or vinyl lettering of your core values on a very visible wall in your shop (or in the breakroom). Track successes and wins and celebrate them (and your employees) publicly during your staff meetings.

Personal success

What books are you reading right now? What books are next?

  • Pro tip: Be sure to always take time for yourself to continue learning each day. You’re never too old to learn something new, the minute you think you already know everything is when you stop growing. I always try to better myself every day. I want to be a better person, a smarter person than I was yesterday. Ask yourself, what can I do today to make my tomorrow better?

It’s hard to think of everything when planning out the year ahead, but you can start by asking yourself some questions. Add those questions to a spreadsheet or list, then do your best to answer them honestly with your leadership team. As you think of new questions to ask yourself, add them to the list, then use the same list of questions for the following year. Rinse and repeat.

3 Reasons Business Cards are Still Important

By Services

In today’s digital age, you’re probably thinking “Why do I need a business card?” Nearly everything we do in business and communication is done digitally. However, that doesn’t mean a business card doesn’t still hold strong to the test of time.

So why are business cards still important?

1. They are an introduction to your brand
Sure, you can email potential leads from your smart phone or send a quick test message to a contact so they can store your contact information. But what does that do for your brand? A business card is your first introduction to your brand. It not only has all your contact information, but it is a sneak peek into your company. It reveals the aesthetic of your organization and possibly even your motto.

2. They are fast and professional
Business cards are also fast. Have you ever randomly met someone that turned into a potential client or sales lead? Maybe it was at a networking event or at the airport. Regardless of where it was at, handing them a business card is much less aggressive and professional than asking them for their number or fidgeting to get your phone out.

3. They make you stand out
Speaking of handing them out faster than typing in all the details in your phone….
A business card helps diversify you and your company (yep it kind of circles back to the branding). A number and email address can get lost in a sea of cell phone contacts, but a business card can stand out. A lot can go into making your business card completely unique to you and your company. We’re talking colors, textures, paper weight, shapes.

Ready to diversify your brand and stand out? Contact us today and learn how we can help build your reputable brand, starting with the business card.

Designer_Wraps_storefronts

4 Benefits of Storefront Window Graphics

By Services

In a sea of strip malls, small town shopping districts, and mom and pop shops, it can be difficult to make your company stand out. Owning a business means you need sales to thrive. And to do that, you need to attract customers to walk into your store to see all the amazing products and services you have to offer. But that’s the tricky part, getting them to actually enter into the store. That’s where window graphics come in to save this business dilemma. Window graphics offer many benefits to companies, and here are 4 of them.

1. Increase Foot Traffic
Installing custom eye popping graphics will make your storefront visually appealing and will attract customers into your business. Window graphics are completely customizable and can be catered to your specific organization. Which takes us to our next benefit…

2. Flexibility
Window graphics are perfect for the non-committal…or those that like to change things up from time to time. Storefront graphics can be changed as many times you want, when you want. Having a sale that you want to advertise? Put it on your windows. New product that you want to promote? Advertise it on your windows. The possibilities are endless and you can change your window graphics by season, product, or feature sale.

3. Affordable
Because of their non-permanent nature, window graphics are extremely affordable and can be easily tossed into your advertising campaign without breaking the bank. And because of the flexibility mentioned above, your storefront graphics can be modified with each marketing campaign you plan to implement.

4. Practical
You’re already paying for the store space. So, it only makes sense to utilize your pre-existing resources. Get the most bang for your buck and maximize your advertising reach by using what you already have.

Ready to reap the benefits of storefront window graphics? Contact us today and begin to maximize your advertising potential.

Rose Chrome Porsche Panamera

By Services

Shipped up to us from Florida, we changed the color of this Porsche Panamera S from plain ‘ol white, to nice and bright Rose Chrome! The rose was custom made in-house at Designer Wraps. This and so many other things is what makes Designer Wraps Different. Come experience the Designer Wraps Difference today!

Got a special project or show vehicle? Let us know how we can help!

Ford Raptor Color Change

By Services

We had fun restyling this plain white (but not a plain) Ford Raptor. This truck is supercharged and puts our over 800hp and sounds just as crazy. We wrapped the entire truck including inside the door jams, the bed and bed cover.

After applying an Arlon Matte Blue Aluminum base color, we overlayed Avery SWF Satin Black with Avery SWF Midnight Sand Matte Metallic as an additional accent color. The results are pure off-roading sickness (in a good way of course). Enjoy the photos . . .

Ferrari FF with an Artistic Touch

By Services

This month we finished a beautiful Ferrari FF with a custom creative artistic touch. This car features a fully wrapped body in gloss black to protect the original paint, with satin black shapes to accent the car. We also added silver pin-striping to further the accentuate the car’s shaping.

The graphic shapes were made by a using a combination of plotted films along with Knifeless Tape to be sure a knife did not touch the rather large investment and cut its paint.

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