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How three men working in the sign industry in Los Angeles decided they could build better signs, and a better business model.
It's scary to launch a new venture in a potentially competitive market. But in 2016, Gevorg Hambardzumyan and two co-founders, Tigran Khachatryan and Ararat Sargsyan, opened Front Signs, which manufactures a variety of signage for businesses, from design consultations to 3D manufacturing.
“Our modern large format printers and cutting machines give us the opportunity to make quality signs of different shapes and designs," Hambardzumyan says.
The business prides itself on customer service as a differentiator, born out by scores of online reviews praising the effort the staff put in to ensuring order quality and customer satisfaction.
1. Why did you start your business?
Before founding Front Signs my two co-founders and I were already in this industry as employees in another sign making company. During this time we noticed an opportunity to start our own business as we were young men with energy and certain goals and trust for the future. We decided to take the risk and the good results in the short term inspired us to keep on working and never stop.
—Gevorg Hambardzumyan, CEO and co-founder, Front Signs
2. What sets your business apart from your competitors?
We had the vision to create our own business and we took the risk. We had the idea, yes, but it took us time to stand up and suggest our innovations and our own trends to the public. For that we worked hard, day and night. We took the complicated and impossible projects. Our success was solidified as our products met the deadline with the highest quality.
As we started to form our regular group of customers, we enlarged our production and technical team. We needed helping hands, people with the same mindset as us. It's important for us to believe in what we are doing and never go back to square one.
3. Tell us about a challenging client, and how you solved their issue.
Once we got a call in the evening, when all the Front Signs team members were home. The caller told us that he was participating in a trade show as a last-minute decision and he needed banners, decals and business flags for the next morning. He added that he had already called many other sign-making companies and we were his last hope. But it was urgent and very important for him. So we gathered all the designers and craftsmen together and started the production. Next morning the client got his signs, and since that day he spreads our name among his colleagues and friends.
4. What do businesses often do wrong when it comes to their signage?
The biggest mistake businesses make with their signage is not using them. Business owners often underestimate the power of signs as a part of their marketing strategy. Yet signs are a powerful tool to bringing more traffic to the business and drawing attention to it.
5. What would you want other business owners to know about starting a business?
1. One powerful idea: A thorough research of the field and gap analysis will empower you with the knowledge and leave space for creating a new and outstanding business vision. Of course, it will take time to come to that idea or implement it. Keep it simple, and remember that needed or loved product is the key to successful business. Be true to your business vision.
2. Financial capacity: Develop a financial strategy for the startup business and continuing reviewing your expenses, even if you already have a running business.
3. Marketing strategy: Advertising has one goal: to convince your target group that what you offer will help them get what they want. For marketing efficiency you need a business logo, website and business cards. Great ideas will sell and spread themselves. The more you work to explain it, the less it's going to work. Simplicity will sell better than a complicated bad idea.
4. Creative people: Collect well-educated and experienced individuals. Their professional knowledge of your industry will make it easier and faster for you to succeed. Find responsible individuals who are also thirsty for knowledge. Share the smallest details and specifications of your business with your team and let them suggest their own ideas on the growth of the business. Good luck!