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Entrepreneur Profile , Oscar Tejedo

BY ANDREW SCHWEIZER

Oscar Tejedo, vice president of Industrial and Architectural Sign Production Inc., a sign fabrication company in South County, has been in the sign industry for more than 20 years. Starting from scratch, Tejedo and his wife, Rosa, have turned their nine-person business into a $750,000 a year enterprise.


VITALS

Name: Oscar Tejedo.

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Title: Vice president.

Company: Industrial and Architectural Sign Production Inc.

Company address: 1440 Harding Ave., National City.

Company phone: (619) 474-0210.

Founded: August 2001.

Prior business experience: I had been in the sign industry since 1985. I started doing films and negatives and silk screening, and then was promoted to master printer and production manager, then I was promoted to sales (Spanish), plans and specs estimator, project manager, and now have my own business.

Average hours worked weekly: 55.

Source of startup capital: $25,000 loan from my mother.

2007 revenue: $727,967.

2006 revenue: $452,483.

Number of employees: Nine.

Web site: www.iaSignProduction.com.


BACKGROUND

Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico.

Education: Degree from Lazaro Cardenas High School in Tijuana; degree in production art from Platt College in San Diego.

Age: 43.

Current residence: National City.

Family: Daughter, Nicole, 3; son, Jovan, 16; and wife, Rosa, 35.

Hobbies: I enjoy being an active member of my church, and I enjoy spending time with my kids and wife.


JUDGMENT CALLS

Reason for getting into business: I knew we could make more money having our own business and after so many years of experience I had no choice other than starting my own (I was afraid).

How I plan to grow the business: Keeping good company values and applying them to our customers: quality, honesty and trust.

Biggest plus of business ownership: You’re able to manage your time as you like and financially it is a plus.

Biggest drawback: Not being able to find someone to help me in the estimating department. This can help us grow faster.

Biggest business strength: Having most of the equipment and staff in-house to fabricate signs.

Biggest business weakness: When customers don’t have time to schedule their signs and it becomes a rush project, which requires more supervision and effort.

Biggest risk: Investing all the money and buying all of the equipment to fabricate (signs) in-house.

Smartest business decision: Involving my wife in the business and getting the California contractor licenses.

Biggest business mistake: For a couple of years I depended only on one company to get jobs and did not try to promote my business to more companies.

Toughest career decision: To become self-employed.

Biggest ongoing challenge: Satisfying the different needs of all my clients as well as designers and architects.

The most important part of my business: Every single part is important in this business , my customers, the staff and the equipment. Without these the business doesn’t exist.

My business works best when: When everything is coordinated properly.

Best way to stay competitive: Offering the customer diverse forms of signs and solutions that will exceed expectations.

How I measure success: When customers tell us how happy they are with their signs. That is the whole point to having a business, satisfying the customers.


GOALS

Goals yet to be achieved: To promote Americans with Disabilities Act signage, such as ADA-required exits and restroom signs with Braille on the Web so customers can purchase on the Internet; to buy a building to fit our needs and to get a good benefits package to my employees.

My five-year plan: To reach $5 million in sales.

I would sell my business only if: I don’t see any reason yet to sell the business.

Guiding principles I will continue to follow: Quality and trust.

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