Eventually, Sajjad picked up his father’s trade and after many years working within his family business, he struck out on his own.
“We are a custom business,” he said. “We do the manufacturing in-house with rushed, local service.”
He said business took a serious hit during the recession.
“We got hit pretty hard by the recession,” he said. “With most of our business clients suffering cut backs it was hard for them to justify a $60 plaque, and many went with the cheaper option, a $3 certificate.”
But even through the recession, he was able to maintain a strong customer base by sticking to his personal ethos of being more than just an impersonal, web-based national business like much of his competition.
“I have good reliable people working for me, especially in quality control,” he said. “And my clients know they’re not just coming to the company, they're coming to me to see me.”
Currently, Awards and Signs Express is generating about $400,000 to $500,000 per year in sales.
For other business owners looking to stand out from their competition, Sajjad said that the most important thing to remember is, “Do the right thing treat them with respect.”
“Get the job done with good quality, make sure your price is competitive, and sharpen your pencils so you know if they go elsewhere they won’t find a better deal,” he said.