There is an idiom from the the 1800’s: “hang out one’s shingle” which means to put out a sign saying you’re open for business. I suppose that was a sufficient way of doing things when the world was small and everyone you knew was right around you. Plus, there was much less competition back then, too. You had your town doctor, lawyer, barber, woodworker, etc.
That is not the world anymore. Now there is much more competition and you must stand out from the others that would take your business. You should always put your best foot forward (another idiom) to represent your business.
So why, why, why, do people make hard-drawn signs for their business? Specifically, I am referring to a sign I saw over the weekend that gave me the chills.
That’s not the only time I’ve seen something like that, but it’s the worst example of its kind. Now, aside from the spray paint stencil lettering that looks nothing like blood splatter, there’s the important information, like contact info. It’s written in tiny letters cramped along the bottom. How are you supposed to read that from your car?
Then there is the issue of legitimacy. If you can’t see it, the sign says they are “License”, complete with quotation marks. I don’t know if it’s worse that they don’t know that the correct term is “licensed” (which, btw, I followed a truck this morning that said “License and Insured”) or that they don’t know that putting things in quotes makes those things questionable. In either case, I don’t think I would trust their intelligence to supervise children.
But let’s recap the idea of hanging out your shingle. I’ve been involved in some business ventures. It’s not easy; I’m not cut out for it. But, I think if you’re going to go into business, you have an obligation to everyone to be professional. You know, that sign on the side of the road doesn’t only represent you, it represents all of your customers as well.
Let’s say you personally don’t have an issue sending your kid to a place whose signage suggests it is a house of horror. And if someone asks you for a recommendation, you say they have the sign out by the stop light down the road. That person’s impression of blood-sign marketing may be disgust, which then alters their opinion of you. As they say, you will be known by the company you keep. Always align yourself with reputable associations.
If you’re going to go into business, do it right, or please don’t do it at all.