Business Signage Basics

Business.com / Marketing Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

First impressions count. Whether it's a beautifully carved, gold-leaf "Bed and Breakfast" shingle or a fast-changing ...

First impressions count. Whether it's a beautifully carved, gold-leaf "Bed and Breakfast" shingle or a fast-changing electronic display, a sign is one of the best forms of advertising for your small business.

  1. A sign tells the public that your business exists.
  2. A sign helps "brand" your company.
  3. A sign attracts and guides your customers.

Choose the best location for your sign

Are you placing your sign in a lobby or in a window, mounting it on your building, attaching it to tall posts to be viewed by traffic or affixing it to a bench at a bus stop?
Small Business Administration and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Find a sign company

There's a wide variety of signs and the companies that specialize in them. Full-service sign companies will design, install and even get permits for you.
this checklist from the Signage Foundation for Communication Excellence.

Figure out how much your sign should cost

Your business sign is a key part of your marketing strategy, so include the costs in your business plan. You can spend $10 for a simple "We're Open" sign at the local hardware store or $30,000 to have "Ye Olde Inne" chiseled into a granite monument. You can pay cash, finance or lease a business sign. Expect to put down a 20-50% deposit when ordering a sign.
SBA give you advice on calculating return on investment for signs.

Put up a billboard

If you've got the room on your roof or your property, these giant messages can grab the attention of your potential customers as they whiz by on the highway.

Light up with neon

Fun and flashy, these signs call attention to your business 24/7.

Get LED for flexibility

Most signs are static – the message stays the same. On an LED (light-emitting diode) digital display sign, content can be changed quickly and easily. New technology makes them affordable for even small businesses.

Hang up a banner

Cheap and easy, a banner hung on your building can be an entry-level brand builder or an effective announcement of a sale or other special event.
  • Signs can qualify as an asset when applying for a business loan. And many sign companies have arrangements with leasing companies.
  • Most towns and cities have codes restricting the size, height and location of signs. A reputable sign manufacturer will know your town's regulations.
  • Maintain your sign. Shabby signs are like unkempt people. Remember, first impressions count.

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