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Signs Work 24/7, All Year Round

September 25, 2011

Business owners can draw business acuity from a wide variety of sources.

Business Tips Article
Peggy Rosser
ASU-SBDC Rural Business Manager


SAN ANGELO, Texas — Business owners can draw business acuity from a wide variety of sources. I recently heard a song on an “oldies” station which rekindled my interest in business signs: “Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind “

The artist, Five Man Electrical Band, wrote the song in the early ’70s during the hippie days. Nonetheless, it spurred my thinking about the importance of business signage!

I’ve purchased business signs, wooden and lighted signs. I still remember looking out through the windows of our business, over the parking lot, at the new lighted sign we had just erected. I was thinking, “I could have bought a good used car for the same amount of money!” The difference was that a used car would not advertise my business every hour of every day of every year! The sign beckons shoppers to stop, and it reminds the passer-by that you are there. When someone new moves to the area, it introduces your business to them.

As a business owner, you want people to stop into your business and make purchases. “Your on-premise signage can be a business’ single most important advertising vehicle” said R. James Claus in an article titled, “SIGNS: Showcasing your Business on the Street.” A sign brings customers to your business.

Supporting that theory, the Institute of Transportation Engineers performed research on the percentage of stops attributable to motorists for whom the business site was not their primary destination. Shopping centers smaller than 100,000 square feet pulled in a 35 percent Impulse-Stop percentage, while the shopping centers larger than 400,000 had a rate of 30 percent. Service stations, convenience stores and fast food restaurants Impulse-Stop percentage varies at 40 percent, 40 percent and 45 percent, respectfully.

“And because the stops are not planned, it is unlikely such stops would be made without optimum communication to the street by the sample businesses,” Claus said. Businesses rely on impulse visits and purchases to maintain profitability.

Perhaps it is time for you to take a new look at how your business is communicating to the street? Check it out! Simply get into your car and drive up and down the street where your business is. Does your sign “pop”? Can you separate it from among the competing signs? If you didn’t know the name of your business, would you be able to read the sign from the street?

A new, big, red and white sign has been erected in San Angelo, and it only has two words on it. I know I have piqued the curiosity of some, while others are saying the business name because there is no mistaking the clarity of this sign! Given time, you, too, will see it!

If you discover your sign needs some updating, don’t fall victim to what appears to be the current practice of putting a busy background behind your business name. While the background and lettering look great close up on the lit display of a computer screen, it will not look the same when you place it on top of a pole 15 to 20 feet in the air.

Before you put your name on that dotted line for your new sign, I challenge you to try something. Have the proposed sign printed on paper. Using a large format printer, you can reproduce the sign and temporarily tape it to your old sign. Now drive up and down the street and see if it looks like you had planned. Are the letters large enough to read clearly? Does the background conflict with the lettering? Do the sign colors complement each other?

Many changes can and should be made until the sign you purchase is easily read and reflects the image you planned. Only then should you sign the paperwork for your new sign and extend an invitation to those driving by to stop and shop with you.

“Business Tips” was written by Peggy Hodges Rosser, rural business development specialist and certified business adviser IV of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. Contact her at


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