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New Merchant Member

Fred Weiss

Merchant Member
Lets welcome Jon Aston of Marketing Partners as our newest Merchant Member. Jon offers strategic market planning services to sign companies interested in growing their businesses.

Welcome Jon.


New Member
I saw this yesterday with one reply, being busy I didn't check it, but seeing Jon as the one reply I figured he was the new merchant. Anyway, I got my big saturday sign commitments met yesterday, so at 6:30 on a Sunday, I can honestly say I have some free time to cruise the net. (before my big Sunday sign commitments)

Some of you may have seen me mention my work with Jon before, but since he is now a sponsor, I think a more complete testimonial is appropriate.

Jon was a member of 4edgetalk when I began posting there in 2000 or 2001. He was employed by ND Graphics a large sign supply company serving most, if not all, of Canada. :Canada 2: Jon was a big fan of Gerber equipment & products & participated in that forum with discussions related to his knowledge of Gerber equipment & products, as well as all other equipment & products, & the extensive second hand experience of small signshop owners based on the hundreds of small (& large) signshop owners that made up the customer base with whom he worked.

Anyway, Jon & I sparred over semantics & viewpoints & enjoyed the various other meaningless banter that fills in the gaps between the helpful exchange of information that I'd like to think we were both known for. I aquired a respect for Jon's knowledge of our industry as well as a sense of friendship like I sense with many friends here, so when Jon announced his departure from ND Graphics to persue "marketing", his true career path of choice that had been sidelined for awhile... I called to ask him if his knowledge of our industry might make him a valuable source of marketing advice for me, despite the 7,000 miles between us.

Anyway, that was some time in 2004. Jon offered to do an interview with me & then work up some kind of proposal that would outline the sort of objectives that he identified as a realistic blend of what steps I seemed to be trying to take, what steps seemed to be appropriate to take, & what steps he felt qualified to help me take.

I agreed to invest in some of Jon's knowledge. (I think I was one of his first clients. I remember when he showed me the logo he came up with once he settled on the name Marketing Partners) I also recall that the proposal was written up like we would have an ongoing "partnership" of sorts & I was unsure of the likelyhood of my seeing the value in ongoing marketing consultation, so I suggested that I just sign on to learn some stuff, & then go forward on my own with the new education of marketing under my belt.

That was around September of 2004, & after 18 months of continued business together, I have just signed on for a more formal level of ongoing marketing consultation based on the value of his services. (In fact I think he used my money to buy this merchant status... it was US dollars wasn't it Fred? :unclesam: )

I mentioned to Jon last month that my particular way of looking at some thing or some issue has a lot to do with how I feel about it. I mentioned to him that I realized I had often felt that I was not making good use of his marketing skills because he could give me 10 good ideas faster then I could implement one idea. In 18 months, there were a lot more then 9 good ideas that have not been implemented & this made me question if I was investing wisely...

...BUT when I decided that Jon was my "business consultant"... I was already sold on the value of continuing, & increasing, the level investment in his services. He agreed that his definition of what he has to offer has shifted in that direction with other clients, so my money is on him being my "business development AND marketing consultant".

OK, I'll wrap this up for anyone still reading. For over 9 years now, I have been a sole proprietor with occassional part time help from my wife, or her daughter, but untill hiring a full time employee a year ago, 95% of my day, I worked alone. I've also made ALL the decisions alone & carried the responsability for success or failure in each project, & the busines as a whole... alone!

Just like Signs101 can help the quest for knowledge, as well as the camaraderie of "talking shop" with knowledgable sign industry professionals... I have experienced valuable insights just from having Jon as another knowledgable business professional to ask for opinions & to throw ideas around & to receive a valuable & objective 2nd opinion from.

Jon has counseled me on preparing for talks at my executives association, discussed marketing considerations for my booth at the auto show, and preparing a talk for acceptance of my entrepreneur of the year award last year.

Also after his help identifying my growth objectives, & logistical considerations relating to the impact of an employee on my workflow & the division of labor, Jon helped me prepare for interviewing 2 employee prospects last year, as well as conducting a second interview with the guy I hired. I quickly capitalized on the extra manpower by investing in new equipment & had Jon there to be a soundboard as I struggled with the combined risk of another mouth to feed & the expense of over $50K in equipment, media & office renovations to accomodate the changes.

I have seen impressive growth in the last 18 months & while my employee, my new technology, & my own ambitious drive all share in the credit for this growth, Jon played an important role in those other pieces of the puzzle, as well as being another cornerstone of that puzzle himself.

I won't say I couldn't have done it without him... & I'm not completely sure I wouldn't have done it without his help... but I will say that based on the ROI (return on investment) it wouldn't have made sense to do without his business expertise when, like a good sign, it makes me more money then it costs me.

Arlo Kalon 2.0

New Member
I totally share Doug's opinion of Jon's marketing business. Heck, just the proposal outline he sent me was one of the most impressive business contacts I've ever had! In fact, it was so professionally prepared that it is part of a business plan package I'm using to seek expansion funding. I'm basing my future growth on what I BELIEVE Jon will do for me!


New Member
I have to agree with Doug and Arlo. We recently started working with Jon and we have gained much insight as to what our business can be and how it can enhance our lives. It is an exciting experience!
Hey Jon :U Rock:

Jon Aston

New Member

I just read that, Mike.

Just be glad I don't charge by the word. :biggrin:

Seriously, though, thanks again.
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