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Four ways signs and graphics businesses can help drive recovery

Strategies to help support local businesses amid the COVID-19 recovery.

July 7, 2020  By Mike Cline

The closely connected ecosystem of a local business community is never more evident than during economic challenges. Small businesses need to stand together and find ways to support their neighbours. As restrictions lift and businesses begin to reopen and rebuild, local signs and graphics businesses will have a vital role to play in our national recovery.

With that in mind, I want to share some of the strategies we’ve seen being used by our franchise owners and other independent signs businesses across the country. Here are four ways signs and graphics businesses can keep driving recovery in Canada:

Be a goodwill partner with your local business community

It’s no secret that the economic impact of COVID-19 has been vast. Businesses are struggling to pay bills and employees. But even in the middle of these challenges, a local business community survives and thrives together. It might make sense to donate expertise, products or services as a gesture of goodwill to the broader community as part of your recovery readiness. You may be able to leverage tactics that are specific to your local market that neighbouring businesses are finding useful. This kind of giveback shows the values of your business, and it’s a gesture of goodwill that your community will remember long after the current crisis is over.

Prioritize current customers with expert guidance

The reality is that some of your best customers may be unable to buy right now or spend what they typically would. Use this time to strengthen your ties by offering sound advice. Business relationships are built on trust, dependability and fairness. The payout may come a little later than you would like, but it is more likely to manifest in long-term loyalty. The makeup of many businesses’ marketing and allocation of marketing dollars is likely to evolve in the coming months. Be a resource that can adjust, and you will maintain the value you can provide.

Seek out local partnerships

A network of like-minded professionals is invaluable during times of crisis. Many independent signs and graphics companies felt isolated during the beginning of the pandemic and may still feel the strain of going it alone. Our franchise owners have a network to depend on, and independent owners can create their own support systems, made up of professionals in the visual arts as well as other small business owners. Sharing best practices, troubleshooting issues, figuring out together how to best access government resources – these are just a few ways signs businesses can use local partnerships to continue powering one another’s economic recovery. Now is the time to come together as an industry, so we can all thrive together.

Look to the future

There may never be a true “return to normal” in how we conduct business face-to-face. Now is the time to make sure the platforms and technologies you use make doing business with your company as easy – and contact-less – as possible. Do you offer online ordering? There is no time like the present to make your business more valuable by removing barriers to working with you. Diversifying your services to enable cross-selling, like adding promotional or branded visual products, will also allow you to deliver more solutions to your existing and prospective clients.

These are just a few strategies we’ve seen our franchise owners employing during the last several months. There are many other ways for your signs and graphics business to support local businesses that are specific to your community. Together, our industry can be a driver of economic recovery. As the saying goes (and it remains true no matter how many times we hear it): We’re all in this together.


Mike Cline is Vice President of Franchise Development at Alliance Franchise Brands. He works with independent print and sign businesses interested in accessing the many benefits of franchise network participation. He can be contacted by phone at 800-445-5172 or by email at

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