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Columbus Entrepreneurs' Podcast is primarily for members of the Columbus, Ohio chapter of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO). Our members include business owners with a majority ownership in companies with at least $1 million in revenue. The stories are inspiring and focus on core principles of EO, including speaking from experience instead of advice giving, building peer learning experiences, and focusing on the top and bottom 5% of our lives. EO is a global organization that offers many benefits and learning opportunities. If you would like to learn more about EO, please visit

Sep 19, 2017

Jim has a unique entrepreneurial experience moving from one family business to another. After growing up in one family business, he left and started on a new venture that would eventually turn into a first generation family business. In this episode, Jim talks about his work with Advance Sign Group, working with his immediate family, and how EO helped to shape some of his business decisions as he was getting his new company on track.


Key Takeaways:

[1:15] Jim shares his lifeline: Growing up, Jim had a good understanding of work ethic, and seeing how transformative the food service industry business was. After college, he went into the manufacturing side of the family business and was involved in several departments.

[5:07] He had worked in the business for about 20 years when he realized that he really had an entrepreneurial spirit that he needed to explore (outside of the food service industry). While dabbling in other ventures, he secured Advanced Sign Group in April of 2001, which was a little more in his wheelhouse as a full manufacturing business.

[9:29] Advanced Sign Group became a family business when Jim’s wife joined to help with the business operations while Jim focused on sales and building new relationships. When their son graduated from college, he came on in sales and wrote a business plan and they’ve set him up to eventually take over the business. Since their son got involved, they have quadrupled their size.

[13:17] It was a process to make Advanced Signs a family business. When Jim’s wife joined the business, her talent was in project management. While Jim was more focused on gathering customers, pitching sales, and company maintenance, his wife served as the relationship manager for the account once the sale was made. It was very good teaming at the beginning.

[16:33] When their son first came to him with the business plan, he wasn’t sure if it was out of desperation or genuine desire for being in the family business. As they grew their family business, it developed a little differently than when he was joining his family business. It’s truly a first-generation family business.

[22:10] When Jim joined EO, his forum gave him an outlet that served as an advisory board as he worked on the business. EO was a tremendous help, especially when he first gotted started.

[25:57] What do the next stages look like for Jim and his wife? They are in the middle of a ten-year plan, and they’ve been looking internally as individuals to see what drives and inspires them. Jim and his wife plan to travel, and they’ve also been deciding what kind of parents they want to be for their married children, and their future grandchildren. Jim has been talking with his own mom about how they want to shape this.

[32:05] In regards to the business, they will be able to be present for the future due to successor and management team they have. They have also been implementing the EOS system. Over the last three years, they’ve been building up their personnel and management team to get the right people in place.

[36:00] Sharing stories can serve as a release valve. When people are on the other side, it’s nice to see that they made it work. And if you’re in the middle of something, it can be helpful to share your story so you can garner some discussions around it. By sharing some of his story, Jim was able to solidify his stance on investing in risk for a reward.

[47:34] This podcast is a great opportunity for people to share their stories, especially being able to put a story to the people you may meet at social events.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Columbus Chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization

Advance Sign Group