How We Learn to Lead

On the heels of the Black Book's debut, Robin Donovan encourages sign companies to become resources.

Welcome to the inaugural Signs of the Times Black Book. This special edition represents a new resource for the sign industry: infographics depicting industry-by-industry construction growth that will drive new signmaking business; a verified list of manufacturers and distributors ready to assist you; and our annual equipment and supplies directory.

As so much information moves online, we recognize the continued value of information-dense, verified listings; resources that you can reach for again and again.

While we’re here, have you thought about making your sign company a resource? We know you’re busy with the day-to-day, but, listen… this is something you should be doing. I don’t mean giving services away for free or letting folks know you’re around “if they ever need anything.”

Being a resource means offering your expertise as an inbound sales strategy. It could mean speaking at a design conference, attending regional sign shows, networking at SGIA or the ISA Sign Expo or even offering your services as a mentor. It might look like opening your shop up to kids from a local technical high school.

Such activities establish you as a leader in your field, and not in appearance alone. The prep work you’ll do to figure out how to present, how to advise or how to lead a tour will solidify your knowledge. In other words, industry leaders don’t just appear. They grow into these roles through their own actions.

So, don’t wait for the right moment. Look for ways to give back. Seek help when you need it, within and outside the sign industry. Are you connected with small business owners in your area? Check the chamber of commerce and even, and you might find yourself referring customers back and forth with other fabricators and service providers.

If you need help finding people to connect with, connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. We often use these tools to find new companies, request interviews and discover new sign projects for upcoming features. Or visit us at to share your questions and advice on the forums.

Signs of the Times March 2019

Digital Edition

Enhance your Signs of the Times reading experience by exploring our interactive digital edition. Receive it in your inbox by subscribing online.

Recent Articles