10 Steps to Follow for a Successful Sign/Print Shop

Dec 28, 2020

We know the hard work that goes into running a sign or print shop. Maybe you’ve had your shop for a while and have just never had the results you want, or maybe you’re still trying to figure out how to get started. Running a successful print shop isn’t easy, but it is possible when you follow the right advice. At shopVOX, we understand what it takes to get your print or sign shop to achieve your goals. These are steps you should take for running your print shop, but they can also be applied to most businesses.

Here are your ten steps to follow for a successful print shop.

Make a Business Map

The first step in your journey to creating a successful print shop should be to create a business map for your company. You can’t get very far without a plan, so mapping out how you want your business to work and what you intend on achieving is essential. Plenty of people can have a great idea for a business that has a lot of potential, but without an actual plan, this isn’t likely to go anywhere. It might be easy to create some short-term plans, but this also needs to include your long-term plans and goals for the business. 

Success requires you to have a lot of focus, so you can’t achieve this without a clear plan as to how you’ll get there. For example, think of what you need to do to get ahead of the competition, what type of employees you’ll need, and what challenges you’ll need to face. This is also important because it will help keep everyone on your team on the same page, so everyone understands what needs to be done and what they’re working towards. By creating a business map, you’ll have something to go off of long into the future when making decisions for your business.

Have Enough Working Capital

Having a business map is important for any sign shop, but you also need access to funds that will allow you to get your work done. Most of us understand how important it is on a personal level to have some money set aside in case of an emergency. This is something you also need to do if you run any sort of business. If you’re a newer sign shop, you might not have much capital on your own yet. New shops will also likely have many investments to make, like office space, advertising, print shop software like shopVOX, and equipment that can add up to be a lot. Your business should always have a way of getting access to funds that will cover whatever costs you end up having.

Create a To-Do List for Tomorrow

Some people underestimate the power of a to-do list. You might think you know all the work that needs to get done each day, so a to-do list might not seem necessary. However, this doesn’t always work the way we had planned and you can easily forget important tasks. You can have so many things going on in a day that you need to keep track of. At the end of each day, you should always make a list of everything you want to accomplish the next day, even the little things. The order you do your tasks is also important, so keep this in mind when organizing your to-do list for the next day. Try and get all of your routine tasks and housekeeping finished early in the morning, and leave the afternoon for your more difficult or time-consuming tasks. You should also keep something to take notes on, like a notepad or your phone, all the time in case you think of anything you’ll need to do later. In fact, in one of the features in shopVOX, you can create a task list that helps keep you and your team on track.

Take Care of Your Employees

Of course, your business is only as good as the people who work there. If you want to have a successful print shop, you need to be sure you have all the right people. During the interviewing process, you should feel confident that this person is the right fit for your company. You need the right talent and people who align well with your values, which can sometimes be hard to come by. If you want to land these types of workers who can help you achieve your goals, you need to give them reasons to want to work for you. Treating your employees right may seem like it just means compensating them the amount they deserve, and while that’s important, it’s not the only way of creating a good work environment. You also need to be emotionally invested in your employees so they can clearly see that you care about them. When your employees enjoy working for your company, you’ll end up getting much better results.

Always Be Evolving

Things can change pretty quickly today, and what worked a few years ago for a company might not matter at all now. This happens to many successful companies – they do great for a while but eventually go under because things changed and they didn’t adjust. Being successful at one point doesn’t guarantee anything for the future. New technologies can come out that change how things work, and people begin looking for new products that match the current trends. This is especially true for the signage and print industry. It’s easy to get used to how you do things and continue to do them how you like, but don’t expect this attitude to get you anywhere. If you want to be successful, you need to be constantly looking for ways to improve. You should plan to make some changes to your business and reinvent yourself along the way going forward, although you might not know what that will entail yet. Stay up-to-date with new technologies and trends, and take feedback seriously to implement changes. Looking for more ways to grow and evolve will help give your business a competitive edge.

Set Goals and Have Meetings

If you’ve worked on creating a business map or have started to look into it, you already know some of the importance of setting goals. You’ll have a lot of goals for each area of your business, but one especially important part of this is your financial goals. Set a large goal for your business, like how much money you need to bring in for the entire year, and from there, see how much money that will be by week and month and what kind of work you need to complete to make it happen. 

It’s not enough to just set goals and expect everyone to keep up with them. Once you understand what your goals are for the company, you need to work on achieving them. To do this, you’ll need to start holding weekly meetings to ensure that your team understands these goals and is working to meet them. You see where everyone is at in reaching these goals and find out if some team members could use a little extra help getting there. If everyone isn’t on the same page and not where they need to be, you’ll never reach the goals you set.

Follow the 9 Steps of Shop Order Taking

Many of these steps can be applied to most businesses, but this one is specific to sign and print shops. At shopVOX, we’ve found nine steps that all sign and print shops should be taking for organized and efficient shop order taking. Following these steps will help you become a more successful sign shop. These are steps that you should take to complete every order you get, even when they’re completely different orders. If you treat different orders in different ways, you’re going to make things far more complicated than they need to be. This can lead to things getting forgotten about or risking something going wrong with the finished project, which your customers won’t be happy about. Check out how we recommend handling shop order taking to make sure all of your orders run smoothly.

Invest in Marketing Your Business

You’ll end up investing in a lot to help your business take off, and one of the most important investments you’ll make is marketing. You can’t become successful without good marketing, so this is something you should always be doing, no matter if you’re just starting your business or you’re already well-established. Today, all businesses should invest in digital marketing. Everyone is online and will be searching for the help they need, and this will help you get seen. If you’re able to, you can hire in-house help for digital marketing or outsource it to an agency. Marketing also goes beyond digital marketing and more traditional forms like print and commercials – you also need to be involved in your community.

Strive for Operational Excellence


In general, operational excellence can mean a few different things that will grow your business, like learning new things that can help you expand. However, for this step, we mean physically setting up your shop for operational excellence. Some might not be aware of how the set up of their workspace can affect their productivity. If your workspace doesn’t flow properly, it could be taking up a lot of time from your employees. When things aren’t organized, and you don’t put a lot of thought into where things are in your shop, you’re going to have people wasting time looking for things and going back and forth to get what they need. What tools and equipment you have in your shop might also be hurting productivity. Things like outdated, slow computers can waste a huge amount of time. This doesn’t only apply to where your team works. The front of your shop also needs to be designed in a way that will help your customers make decisions. When customers come in, they should easily find examples of your work and other resources that can help, including team members who are readily available to work with them.

Always Have Fun at What You Do

The last step might seem easy, but it’s extremely important. The best companies are the ones that are filled with people who love what they do and enjoy getting to do it. Work will obviously always be hard work, but it should also be fun. If you don’t enjoy what you do, it will show in your work, and you’ll eventually get burnt out. Without a positive attitude, you’ll never really be successful. Working in this industry requires you to be creative every day, and not everyone gets this opportunity at work. Having fun can look a little different for everyone, but sign shop owners can implement a culture that everyone loves. This will keep everyone passionate about what they do, so they look forward to coming to work each day.

28 / 12 / 2020
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