Category Archives: Business Strategy

Open: The Most Iconic Sign in the World

Open Sign ANSThink about the sign that you have seen more times than any other. Initially the McDonald’s golden arches might come to mind, or a sign for a major gas station chain. But when you really get down to it, you have probably seen the classic neon “Open” sign many, many more times than you realize.
This famous communication tool graces the front window of countless markets, gas stations, bars, restaurants and beauty shops. Drive down a single block of a street, and you might see it half a dozen times. This sign is more than just ubiquitous, it is almost omnipresent, and for good reason – it is good for business.

History of the Neon Open Sign

Inventors have been working with glass tubes and glowing gases since the mid-19th century, but it was not until French inventor Georges Claude created the first neon lamp in 1905 that the technology really took off. Neon gas offered a number of advantages over previous technologies, and it was not long before amazed onlookers had dubbed the substance “liquid fire.”

Small business owners immediately saw the potential of neon. In the early years of the technology, a neon sign in the front window was an immediate way to stand out from the competition. Plus, because neon signs were relatively expensive back then, it was a way for a business to show off its success and its commitment to the future.

The use of neon signage really took off during the 1950s after beer makers found ways to lower the cost and increase the strength of the signs. That was not only good for beer makers, it was good for every business that understood the benefits of neon but couldn’t justify making the investment.

Surprisingly, it was not until the mid-1980s that the blue and red neon open sign we have such strong associations with was first invented. It is a matter of dispute which company first created the design, but it was an immediate hit. Wholesale buyers clubs like Costco and Sam’s began to offer the signs to their customers, many of which were small business owners, and they flew off the shelves.

The technology has come a long way since then. Neon signage has never been cheaper to buy and operate, or more durable and long-lasting than it is today. On top of that, there are now hundreds of design and color options to choose from. For a modest investment, business owners in a wide range of industries can get a piece of signage that will pay dividends for years to come.

If you are not using neon signs now, an open sign is a great place to start. This bright bold sign is easy to see day or night, and it communicates to everyone that walks or drives by that you are ready to do business. Put one in your front window, and you will see an immediate uptick in the number of people stopping in. The neon open sign is a 20th century invention that is still just as relevant in the 21st.

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Get Your Name Out There In 2014


Prevailing business wisdom says that if you are not growing, you are failing.  And while it is not necessary to double or triple the size of your business every year, it is important to take a proactive approach to attracting new customers.  With the new year ahead of us, now is the time to plan for the next 12 months.  How do you plan to bring in new customers, draw back returning customers, and increase recognition of your business?

Growing a business is not easy, but one aspect of expansion that can’t be ignored is marketing.  No matter how exceptional your products and services are, if potential customers do not know who you are, what you do, and where you are located, they will never step foot through the front door.  The good news is that marketing does not have to be a costly, time consuming, or confusing process.  There are simple steps you can take to get your name out there in 2014.  Use this simple guide to help you thrive in the coming months.

Name Recognition

The name of your business is one of its most distinctive features.  Make sure that your name is prominently displayed in a highly visible location.  This has two positive effects.  It helps create an identity for your business that sticks in the minds of customers and makes it easy for them to discuss with friends and family.  It also confirms to everyone that passes by the front of your location that this is a business, and it is open to the public.  This may seem simplistic, but imagine the consequences if people didn’t know the name of your company.


For many business, the nature of the services offered is not self evident.  This is especially true if a business offers services that go above and beyond.  Imagine, for instance, a gym that also offers tanning.  Potential customers know they can go there to workout, but they may be unaware of the tanning beds.  Make sure it is clear to both pedestrians and motorists what exactly it is that you do, even if it seems obvious.  Try to communicate your core services and most unique features in simple, direct language that can be immediately digested.


One of the most underrated marketing tools of all time is an Open/Closed sign.  People need to know when you are open, and, conversely, they will appreciate knowing when you are closed.  Make sure that it is easy for passersby to tell when you are available to do business.  Also, if you offer special hours like early morning opening times or 24 hour service, find a way to highlight this.


The look of marketing is just as important as the message.  You can promote recognition and set yourself apart from other businesses by adopting a few basic branding strategies.  Pick signature colors for your business and highlight them in your marketing messages.  If you have a logo or slogan, display it on the front of your building so that it sticks in the minds of customers.  Make your business unique by injecting some humor into normally dry communications.  All of these are simple ways to stand out from the crowd.

As you may have noticed, all of these marketing objectives can be accomplished with the right signage.  The signs you put up are a major asset, and they are one of the first things that potential customers notice.  If you need to update your signage, go with bright, bold, energy efficient neon signs.  They communicate your message 24 hours a day, are impossible to miss, and they can be customized to meet the exact needs of your business.  A small investment in neon signage now will help you grow your business all day, every day, all year long.

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Prepare Your Signage For Winter Weather

The winter months present unique challenges for small businesses. The weather becomes colder, which limits the amount of foot traffic passing outside. Grey days and snowy weather can make it difficult for customers to find you. Many people also change their schedule when the days get shorter, and they want to spend their nights at home.

If you run a businesses, it is important that your signage changes with the season. For instance, restaurant owners don’t need a sign advertising patio seating when it is 20 degrees outside. Conversely, that same restaurant may want to put out a sign advertising hot soups or holiday meals. Customers are looking for different things in the winter than at any other time of year.

winter-neon-signsIf you want to make the most of your holiday signage this winter, plan ahead. Look at the signs you have up now, and think about how well they will function once it starts getting cold. Use these simple tips to have the most impact.

Think About Visibility

How well can your signs be seen in the winter? Imagine, for instance, that your business uses a folding sign with a chalkboard on it to advertise daily specials. This works in the summer when people are out walking or driving with the windows down, but in the winter when car windows are crusted over with ice and people are staying indoors, the visibility of that sign plummets.

Switching from conventional printed signage to neon signage can help you get noticed. Neon signs are bright and colorful, and they are highly visible even in poor weather. The warm glow of a neon sign is also inviting on a cold, gloomy day. Decide what your customers most need to know, and then use neon signage to keep them informed.

Holiday Hours

With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all coming in quick succession, most businesses are forced to adapt to a new schedule. If you plan to be open on Christmas day, or to open extra early on Black Friday, make sure that all your customers know. At the very least, you need to have a highly visible Open/Closed sign in your front window so that customers both new and old know when to stop in.

Winter Products

It only makes sense that people purchase different things during cold months than during warm months. If you have a sign out advertising a sale on swimsuits, it is probably time to take it down. Make sure that your signage relates to the products people most want to buy. Hardware stores should advertise that they have ice melt, coffee shops should brag about their hot chocolate, and clothing stores should offer specials on hats and gloves. Customers are more likely to stop in if they know you sell what they most want to buy.

One final consideration is the maintenance of your signs during the winter months. That is one of the major advantages of neon signage. Unlike most other signs, neon signs stay inside your business, so they are largely immune to the effects of cold temperatures and winter storms. That means that an investment in a neon sign will last longer than almost any other kind of signage. If you want to grow you business this winter, make sure you have the right signs, and make sure they are neon.


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Help Your Business Stand Out This Holiday Season

The holidays present both opportunities and challenges for local businesses. There is often an influx of customers, but businesses have to contend with unusual schedules, bad weather, and sometimes frazzled shoppers. Business owners also have to deal with stiff competition for the limited holiday shopping dollars that people have to spend.

One of the most reliable ways to make things easy on your business, and your customers, is to have clear, informative signage. This also helps you stand out from the competition. In order to make the most of the holiday shopping season, use the following kinds of neon signs.


The first thing that customers will want to know is whether or not you are open. With many businesses closing down on Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and around New Year’s, it can be hard for customers to adapt to holiday hours. Make sure that if you are open, you have a bright, colorful, highly visible neon sign advertising that fact.

Holiday Hours

Just because Christmas is a major holiday doesn’t mean that commerce shuts down entirely. There are many people that are looking for goods and services on Christmas Day, or in the days immediately surrounding it. If you plan to be open on Christmas, or have special hours for the day after Christmas, use a neon sign to let everyone know. Restaurants especially can attract a lot of business by letting people know they are open Christmas Day.

Holiday Specials

People are always looking for deals around the holidays. If you want to offer special pricing or incentives, make sure people know about it. A butcher shop might have a deal on Christmas hams, or a dry cleaner might offer discounts for cleaning Santa suits. You can attract new and enthusiastic customers if you use neon signage to proudly display your holiday generosity.

Multicultural Holiday Appeal

Most associate the holidays with Christmas, but many people celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other seasonal holidays. If you offer supplies to facilitate these celebrations, or you simply want to show your support for everyone’s traditions, make it known with signs. A neon sign of a menorah or Kwanzaa candles can show new customer demographics that you are excited about their holidays too. Even customers who celebrate Christmas will appreciate that you have so much respect for this special time of the year.

Holiday Greetings

Sometimes the most effective holiday signs simply offer a warm greeting to everyone that passes by. A sign wishing people a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” shows customers that you are in the holiday spirit and hoping everyone has a festive time. The best way to deliver this message is with a neon sign. Neon signs grab attention, standing out when it is nighttime, snowing, or your windows are fogged over, and they are an affordable signage option. Make the investment in a custom neon sign this season, and you can use it over and over again for years to come.


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How to Make Your Small Business Stand Out in the Crowd

4440501893_5da6e636c9_oMarketing is more important for small businesses than it has ever been before. As larger outlets have begun offering many of the same services and product offerings that small businesses have built their reputation on, the level of competition in the marketplace is intense. That is why it is crucial to take steps to attract new customers and keep old ones.

Luckily, there are a number of low cost marketing strategies that have proven themselves to be effective. These range from classic tactics like effective signage, to newer 21st century customer outreach approaches based online. If you want your small business to get noticed and thrive, even in a tough economy, make an investment in one or all of these marketing strategies.

Loyalty Programs

Many small businesses have relied on some sort of loyalty program to encourage customers to come back over and over again. For instance, a sandwich shop might offer customers a free meal after they have purchased 10 sandwiches. Strategies like this are both exciting for the customer, and cost effective for the business. If you do institute a loyalty program, make sure that everyone who comes through the door knows about it, and make it as easy as possible to participate.


Never underestimate the power of a discount. Shoppers are always looking for a value, and the right coupon can attract streams of new business. You can opt to print out paper coupons and distribute them through the mail or local media, or you can choose to participate in online coupon programs like Groupon or Living Social. Make sure that the deal you offer is appealing enough to entice customers, but not so generous that it erases your profits.


If you have a relationship with other small businesses near you, or in complementary industries, find a way to combine your marketing efforts. You can use the other business as a way to distribute advertising about what you do, or to offer joint discounts. The key is to identify the businesses that your potential customers are likely to frequent, and to create an arrangement that is mutually beneficial for both businesses.


A custom neon sign one of the oldest marketing strategies for a good reason. Customers need to know who you are, what you do, and why you do it better than the competition. The right neon sign or led sign is a way to communicate all this crucial information to anyone who passes by the front of your business. A simple open sign, closed sign, or one that lists your operating hours can bring in a surprising amount of business. There are lots of techniques for creating effective signage, but neon signs have shown themselves to be unmissable. They are bright, colorful, and they communicate something about your business day or night.

Marketing your small business does not have to be a challenge as long as you approach the task thoughtfully. Identify your target customers, and then figure out what is appealing about your business. Creativity goes a lot farther than a big budget, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. If you give potential customers a compelling reason to visit your business, they will be excited about walking through the front door.

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