The design of a business
Vida en el Valle
(Published Tuesday, July 17th, 2012 03:26PM)
SACRAMENTO -- After designing and creating signs for more than 12 years at a variety of companies, Jorge Díaz thought it was time to go into business for himself.
"As an employee, I have always been in managing roles either as a supervisor or project manager so it got me into thinking one day that I could go into business for myself," said Díaz, a Sacramento native.
In 2008, he began reading several books about entrepreneurs. That year, he left a well-paying job in public works to open Impact Sign EFX with $3,000 he had saved.
"I needed to get my contractor's license, general liability insurance, obtain a bond and buy the necessary office equipment such as a fax machine, laptop, business phone and cards just to get started," said Díaz about his full-service sign company.
When he opened his business, challenges began to surface. Going into business was harder than he had imagined.
"It is impossible to get ahead without being proactive for the sake of your business," said Díaz. "It is so easy to get up in the morning and go sit on the couch and do nothing instead of heading over to the office to connect with your clients, make the phone calls and get the work they want done."
The requests he receives vary. Díaz produces signs made from vinyl graphics. He also makes banners, bronze and aluminum plaques, digital print graphics, interior and exterior signage.
To build his clientele, Díaz spent the first couple of months driving around the Sacramento area looking for signs that were too old, had letters missing or letters that would no longer light up. He would walk into the place of business, asked to speak to the storeowner and offered his services. Most times, he received calls back.
Making pit stops at businesses that could use a helping hand is something Díaz continues to do when things get slow, though he admits, work has been steady ever since he opened his business. There has been an incremental growth each year.
Díaz believes that when you produce great work at an affordable and reasonable price, you will always have a strong base of clientele to keep the business going, especially with high-end clients who are always needing new projects and work completed.
"Believe it or not, but the business of making signs is a very, very competitive one. That is why, a business owner has to take initiative and really reach out and communicate with his clients, otherwise his business will not be successful," said Díaz.
He believes customer service is a priority for any business.
"The best advice I have ever received from a successful business owner is to be very committed to my business and to do whatever it takes to get ahead. Eventually, I will see greater and greater profits," said Díaz.
Being a small business entrepreneur is not easy. He admits there are still days where he works 14 or 16 hours completing projects for clients, but he doesn't mind. In the future he plans to hire a few employees and expand his business and begin other ventures.
He is thankful to have had the help of the Sacramento Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for its help to small business people.
"I joined when I opened my business with the expectation and hope that the chamber would help me get oriented, and it has certainly paid off. I've attended mixers and have made connections with clients and I've attended workshops on how to steer my business in the right direction," said Díaz.
This year he was elected as a chamber board member. He hopes to encourage others to go into business and to help others who may be hesitant or have questions about starting their own business.
"I always tell people, do something that you know. If you have a hobby that is making money, do that, but always start a business in an industry that you know really well. Chances are -- you will be successful," said Díaz.