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Navigating the Recession as a Sign maker

Here we go on the Recession Roller Coaster

Recession - it has to be the most dreaded word in business. Visions of struggles and hardship are front of mind. Add to it the last two years of uncertainty and stress, it makes for many sleepless nights. However, the sign industry usually can weather such an economic storm. It isn’t necessarily recession proof, but it is a business that can benefit from hard times, providing one can pivot when needed. During the last economic downturn in 2008, the sign industry came back faster than other sectors.

Silver lining is likely you’ve made shifts during the pandemic & learned quickly to adapt. Plastic partitions and social distances signage instantly became in demand. Those who saw these opportunities did exceptionally well. This economic turn down will have the same opportunities, you need to have the right mindset and be ready to meet client needs. Know you will make it through another business challenge and set out a plan to get through the next 12 to 18 months. Here are a few tips.


A recession effects everyone. Everyone! Do not go through this alone. Find other business owners you can talk to. Tales of good and bad days will give you insight and encouragement right when you need it most. There is no shame in sharing the hardships you are experiencing. We’ve all been there and here we are again. Experienced businesspeople will be helpful to guide you through this since they’ve likely gone through this all before, several times. These people love times like this and are likely building business based on opportunities they have the experience to look for. These people will help expose you to business opportunities you may not be privileged to sitting at home worrying by yourself.

Pivot one more time

During changing times, you will likely also see your client base change and with that the products you create. Signage is a staple in any business and plays an important role. During the pandemic, e-commerce grew at an exponential rate since we were all forced to buy online. Now that retail has reopened studies show retail vendors are increasing spending on advertising for both their bricks & mortar locations as well as their e-commerce venues. This will likely be in the form of soft signage applications as well as programmable digital options so clients can also easily ebb & flow through these trying times. Listen to your clients needs and pair them with solutions tailored to their budget. Educate them on the cost increases across the board, due to supply chain shortages & other inflationary costs. Other commercial & industrial sectors are likely to grow as well, causing need for additional signage solutions. Be smart & be ready.

Mind the Money

Managing cash flow, inventory and spending is vital. Having at least two months’ worth of business expenses in the bank at all times is the best idea. This will provide peace of mind. Manage receivables and payables to maintain the cash flow needed to assure your expenses are covered is also very important. Reality is some will go out of business, and you will be left with a loss should you extend terms to another who is buying a going out of business banner & wanting 30 days to pay. Just because a client paid on time before, doesn’t mean they can now if they are in a sector facing a slowdown.

Be smart when spending money on marketing. Maximize economical strategies such as social media and email campaigns to connect with your existing and new customers. Make sure your messaging is reassuring that you understand the financial struggle they are facing and that you are there to help.

We all knew hard times were coming and most of us were already prepared to adapt from what we learned from the pandemic. Don’t let fear take over and keep to the mindset that you will not just survive but thrive. If there is one key take away from it all, remember what got you learned, what you did, & the advice you got that got you through. When the next recession hits, be ready to be that business person that pays it forward, helping those facing the same challenges. Your pearls of wisdom may save a business going through the same perils you are about to endure.

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