The following article originally appeared on the Small Business Administration website in February 2001, but it was subsequently removed.
“Why should I have a sign?” is often asked by business owners. The answer will vary depending on your business type and format. In a highly impulse-oriented business, good signage can be the difference between success or failure. The profile of your trade area also impacts your signage needs. Good signage can increase a business’ opportunity for success.
Signs are the most affordable means of advertising for many businesses, and most businesses — new or not — don’t have a dollar to waste. The United States Small Business Administration Bulletin Number 101 on signage for businesses says, “…signs are the most effective, yet least expensive form of advertising for the small business.” What’s more, signs are always on the job for you, advertising 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
This section introduces the term “on-premise” sign, and presents information that supports why a business must have an on-premise sign for optimum success. So, what is an “on-premise” sign, and why the focus on that particular type? An on-premise sign is:
“A communication device whose message and design relates to a business, an event, goods, profession or service being conducted, sold or offered on the same property as where the sign is erected.”
Simple enough, and there are dozens of examples of the many types of on-premise signs in our “Types of Signs” and “Sign Gallery” sections. Before you go to either section, however, we recommend you complete this section by following these next links to review additional information that helps answer the question “Why Should I Have a Sign?
Compelling Reasons for an On-Premise Sign
Visit the case studies that illustrate different reasons for effective signage.
Signs are considered “speech” and, in the United States, are legally protected as such. To help you understand the legal aspects of signage, as well as their protection under the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, we’ve developed the “Legal Considerations” section. We mention this briefly here and alert you that — as a business asset — your sign can have certain protections under law.