Something that designing men have discovered is that a visual communications business fits their artistic sensibilities. That was the case for Michael Martini, a very successful corporate executive and chief bread-winner for his four kids – ages 6,8,11, and 12 – and for his wife, a woman who works hard at home to maintain the good life in Tennessee. Michael, with a degree in Industrial Engineering and 27 years at a Fortune 500 company leading business segments, was a man that began to sense he was more than a cog in a machine. He kept seeing something more engaging outside the corporate box.
“I’ve always had a passion for good color, great logos and design. It started as simply appreciation for the power of images,” he explained. So early in 2014, Michael set out on a journey of exploration but kept his day job. He began exploring options, and discovered the sign industry’s depth, complexity and versatility. This was a business that could harness the vision that was beginning to take shape in Michael’s mind. The image of a business that served up graphics without limitations.
Immediately, like so many other would-be entrepreneurs, he recognized that he did not want to simply “wing it.” There is no guidebook, no map or set of instructions for any man or woman who one day wakes up, literally and figuratively, and wants to take on the challenge of business ownership. That is why research plays such a large role – especially early on – in the quest for a new business, and a model to follow.
In time, Michael found a solid partner with three decades of experience and the structure he envisioned for his business. He found Sign Biz, Inc. After extensive due diligence, a few months into his journey to entrepreneurship, he signed on the dotted line and boarded what would be a six month roller coaster ride of site selection, name selection, logo development, business plan tweaking and site build-out planning.
Years of strong managerial acumen came to bear, and as the weeks progressed, Michael brought his vision to life – ImageLife – a shining example of what a visual communications business can be. As he picked out colors for the walls of his new lease site, strenuously examining the pallets and using a Sherwin Williams online color rendering utility, his sense of purpose clarified. Image Life would be an extraordinary sign business, offering high-impact and even rare images for any wall, any surface, and any floor. The shop began to take shape as Michael trusted in his vision and direction. He attacked his mission statement with the same sense of purpose, until there was clarity. He knew he was in this business “because images impact life!”
His business opened officially in February of 2015, and his Grand Opening Celebration took place on April 1st. Since opening, the journey has continued to be rewarding. Michael won “Best in Show” in the Ace of Space competition judged in Las Vegas, NV at the Sign Biz International Convention just two months ago. See his winning entry here on YouTube for some true inspiration.
The authentic life of an entrepreneur is one that fulfills and challenges Michael, allowing him to build on his business experience while at the same time giving him the chance to celebrate what it means to let true colors shine through. Michael Martini can be reached at ImageLife Signs and Graphics, 921 8th Ave South, Nashville, TN. Phone: 615-970-6200.