Starting a business takes a lot of commitment and dedication, even more so when venturing on your own means stepping away from an established and stable career. But Norm Lanier did not hesitate to step into a new role as founder and CEO of Lone Star Art. His confidence in his skills and belief in himself enabled him to pursue this career choice and succeed.
Prior to establishing Lone Star Art, Norm Lanier worked for prestigious companies like Compaq, Exxon, and HP. He worked as a graphic designer for these companies for several years. And while working full-time, he started building up e-commerce sites for other clients in his spare time. “Working as a graphic designer for these companies, sometimes there were periods of lean work. So I earned some extra income by doing work on the side. Eventually, the income I got from my side-hustles exceeded the income I earned working for a company. So I decided to leave and focus on my own business venture,” Lanier said.
Lone Star Art is the top online source for metal, wood, and other types of decorative signs for one’s home. Using his experience in graphic design, Norm Lanier would design unique signs and post them on the Lone Star Art online store. “Art and design have always been a huge part of my life, and making these decorative signs was a great step forward for me,” the CEO shared. When he started his company, he was the one designing every product he offered. Now, he has another graphic designer on his team. He works closely with them to create new designs every day. “I want the designs to pass my standards, even when I have someone else designing them,” Lanier explained.
With thousands of designs available at Lone Star Art, Norm Lanier knows that not every one of them will be popular. But despite having designs that do not sell as well as the others, Lanier does not mind. “I’m not afraid of having a few products that are duds. That’s just part of the business. Art is subjective, and my customers will naturally gravitate to some designs more than others.” To counter this, he creates avenues for communication with his customers. He decided to create a private VIP Facebook group so his customers can share feedback and he can learn more about what they wanted and what types of products they are looking for.
Some say that art is a difficult business to get into, but Norm Lanier seems to have no problems with the industry he chose. “So many artists make it 100% about them and not the customer. But I choose to go about it differently,” he said, “Honestly, I love the game. The constant hunt for new ideas keeps me excited about my business. I listen to the market, I study it carefully, then I make products that I know my audience is interested in.”
Now that Norm Lanier runs a company, his leadership skills and style have also developed more fully. “I’m not a micromanager. I make sure I hire good people who I can trust to make sound decisions. If they make a mistake, we figure out what went wrong and then learn from it. If there is a problem, we discuss it. I give my team clear direction, I know and trust they can get the job done, and I get out of their way. It’s as simple as that,” Norm Lanier shared.
Lone Star Art has been doing well ever since Norm Lanier started the company. Designing decorative signs as statement art pieces for the home has given Lanier a lucrative creative outlet. “It’s been nothing but an upward trajectory for me and my company. And we will only continue to expand our product line and market footprint.”
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