Meet Our Franchisees
Achi Atanda, FASTSIGNS Leicester
Building a strong family business, from a strong foundation
Achi Atanda was looking for a long-term business venture which would motivate and interest all the family. The family-focus of the FASTSIGNS franchise offered exactly what they were looking for.
When Achi Atanda’s family started looking for a business venture they could work together within, she had reached a point in her teaching career where she wanted to be around her own children more. “I come from an educational background, which I went into because I had a passion for working with children and helping to influence their futures. I had reached a point where I wanted to spend more time with my own children. As they were getting older and pursuing their own interests, I felt our family time was diminishing. When my son suggested to my husband and I, about starting a family business, I was open to the idea – if we could all agree on something together.”
In the Spring of 2018, her oldest son, who was studying for his GCSE examinations at the time, came across the FASTSIGNS franchise opportunity. The design and creative elements of the brand satisfied Achi’s son’s interest, who then presented the franchise offering to his parents. Achi and her husband, were in turn impressed by FASTSIGNS business model; offering a business-to-business management opportunity, supporting businesses with high-quality, high-impact signage solutions. Even better, there was a territory available in Leicester, where the family are based.
Achi explains, “we saw the purchase of our business as a foundation for our children’s future. It was important that whatever we did, we needed to pique their interest and get them excited for our business, so when the time is right for them, they can join us in operating it. As a family, we like the range of FASTSIGNS products and enjoy the future focus that the business has. Digital signs, augmented reality and interactivity is a great pull for myself but more so my children. They are from a generation that is so au fait with technology, these types of signage solutions are not only great for customers, they also intrigue my youngsters. Even the more traditional signs like building signs, vehicle graphics, window, wall, door and floor graphics are also created with cutting edge technology, so we see the signage industry as a very dynamic and exciting sector to own and operate a business in.”
Whilst her children are completing their educations, Achi operates the centre herself with a team of sales and production staff. Not having had any experience in the signage industry, didn’t hold Achi back from investing in their new FASTSIGNS business, although she recognised the need for training.
Commenting on her FASTSIGNS training experience, Achi states, “I felt as though I needed the FASTSIGNS training more than anyone else! I had no knowledge of signage, whatsoever! When we went to Dallas, last year, to do the training, I found my skills lay in the day-to-day management of the business. You can have all the skills in the world, but you need someone in the business who has an eye for the details behind the scenes.” With this knowledge, Achi worked with the UK support team to employ staff who would compliment her skill set and filled the required skills gap.
Based on their extensive knowledge, FASTSIGNS supported Achi as she started setting up her centre, and preparing for the opening, including providing her with access to the FASTSIGNS tools, equipment, and resources. “I received so much help from the FASTSIGNS UK support team, so felt as though I knew what I was doing. FASTSIGNS provided me with step-by-step guidelines of what I needed when I first opened, including the kind of people to employ and the best way to attract new customers.”
Having opened her FASTSIGNS Centre a little over a year ago, Achi has found it to be a steep learning curve as it is a world away from her previous teaching roles. “Although there have been some challenges, it has been extremely rewarding running my own FASTSIGNS centre. I love meeting people from different backgrounds. understanding their signage requirements and creating a diverse range of signs for them. Along the way, we have regularly exceeded customers’ expectations. Most customers think they just want a sign, but as the signage experts and through FASTSIGNS consultative selling training, we listen to their challenges and devise signage solutions that more than deliver on their requirements. Another thing that I enjoy is that no two days or two customers are the same. One of our customers owns a fairground, so we never know what to expect from his calls. It’s always great to visit the fair and look around knowing you have contributed to the fun of the fair people take delight in.”
Of the family business she has started, Achi says, “My husband and children are not yet working with me! I have a great staff team who are supporting me in the meantime. I am honoured to be the one to bring to life the future of our family dream when my eldest son finishes his A-Levels, who knows what the future holds for FASTSIGNS Leicester!”