Interview with Cheryl Archer, Owner of SignWorks, Inc

by | Mar 14, 2024 | Business

Questions: Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.

Answer: See the copy from SignWorks: And Introduction or capabilities. We are a commercial sign company with an extensive network of more than 350 independently owned sign companies with an extensive network of wholesale suppliers. As the owner I was increasingly experiencing corporate layoffs and downsizing which made me more interested in pursuing franchise and business opportunities where I was no longer reliant on a corporate salary to provide for my family.

Questions: Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

Answer: I am a graduate of U. C. Berkeley and have a master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.

Questions: What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?

Answer: In 2008 I was increasingly experiencing corporate layoffs and downsizing which made me more interested in pursuing franchise and business opportunities, I was no longer interested in being reliant on a salary to provide for my family.

Questions: What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Answer: Be resourceful and resilient and make sure you can sustain your business without income for at least a year our two. It will take time to build a customer base.

Questions: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Answer: Resilience, the ability to try new things, and adequate financial resources.

Questions: How many hours do you work a day on average?

Answer: 8-10 and sometimes less now that my processes are more turnkey.

Questions: To what do you most attribute your success?

Answer: I’m not a quitter! Every set back makes me more resourceful!

Questions: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Answer: I go after larger accounts especially in government and construction where the projects are larger and not one off.

Questions: Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?

Answer: SBA 7A Program

Questions: What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

Answer: Tenacity and aiming on a sustainable business model.

Questions: Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

Answer: Retired!

Questions: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Answer: LOL. One with no competitors!

Questions: How important have good employees been to your success?

Answer: Initially this was critical but I now run a virtual company and hire subcontract labor which can be challenging.

Questions: How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?

Answer: I stay true to an idea unless it fails completely

Questions: What motivates you?

Answer: Money

Questions: What are your ideals?

Answer: Full retirement in 3-5 years

Questions: How do you generate new ideas?

Answer: Attending workshops, mastermind groups and signage specific education sessions.

Questions: How do you define success?

Answer: Not having to worry about money or bills. Knowing that I earn enough to manage small income dips and that I have the lifestyle I want.

Questions: How do you build a successful customer base?

Answer: Provide excellent and efficient customer service.

Questions: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

Answer: Not having to play mindless corporate politics!

Questions: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Answer: Finding a sustainable business model without the large post COVID overhead!

Questions: What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

Answer: Aversion to risk vs. personal freedom.

Questions: What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?

Answer: N/A… I opted for a virtual operation.

Questions: In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.

Answer: Independent

Questions: If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

Answer: Become a nuclear physicist or something unique with a less competitive and upper payscale, LOL.

Questions: How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

Answer: It has allowed me to care for my granddaughter by offering a flexible work schedule.

Questions: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?

Answer: I address fear with prayer and as a senior know that I failure is always followed by success.

Questions: How did you decide on the location for your business?

Answer: Signworld (the master owner organization) allows a selection based on proximate zip codes.

Questions: Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

Answer: Tenacity…quitting is not an option.

Questions: If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

Answer: Too many to name!

Questions: Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Answer: Oprah and many others…

Questions: What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)

Answer: I can read Danielle Steele ad nauseum for escapist reasons and most historical fiction.

Questions: What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?

Answer: Not being true to my own goals, ideals, and standards, e.g., making too many allowances for others.

Questions: How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?

Answer: Take responsibility for poor decision making and auto correct when possible.

Questions: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

Answer: Travel, reading, shopping, theater

Questions: What makes you happy?

Answer: Travel

Questions: What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

Answer: Bankruptcy in 2012 as a result of the 2008 economic collapse…business as usual did not work and I kept the bi=usiness afloat with personal retirement funds until they were almost exhausted.

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