To succeed in billboards you have to 1) really understand the business, and be an expert in the niche you are in 2) make small, acheivable goals that are very concrete and can be measured 3) be scientific in what you do – don’t bounce around from market to market or product to product. When I got in the business, my goal was to build one sign. That was it. When I got to one, I changed the goal to 3. At 3 I changed to 10. And I focused on one finite niche – serving areas outside of the metroplex with billboards at a reasonable price. I never ventured “inside” of the big city until I had already established myself in the periphery, as the risk was much larger there and most of the time you could only grow through acquisitions. That’s really the same business model that Walmart used.
You need to put a primary focus on what the advertisers need and want. They’re the boss. You need to get inside their heads and understand what type of outdoor they want and what they can afford to pay. One relevation I’ve had over the years is that much of the current outdoor industry has the system backwards – the outdoor companies are only thinking about themselves, with the advertiers grudgingly going along with it. There’s always opportunity for people who can build a better mousetrap – and there are many niches that offer this kind of opportunity.