The steady growth of the international FASTSIGNS franchise over the last 35 years, even during periods of economic crisis, is the perfect example of just how resilient a strong franchise can be.

Deciding to strike out on your own and take control of your career is never an easy step to take, however, as the UK continues to navigate the current Coronavirus pandemic, and the aftereffects of the lockdown, this ‘step’, could become a viable career option for many.

A staggering 60% of new businesses fail in their first three years, but these risks can be hugely reduced when you join a franchise, like FASTSIGNS. Franchising offers a tried and tested business model which has stood the test of time, so when you launch a business for yourself, you are not alone.

Since FASTSIGNS’ launched its first franchise in 1985, the devastating recessions of the early 90s and late 2000s have marred the economic landscape. However, those difficult times proved to be defining moments for FASTSIGNS, as their successful model emerged an attractive prospect for anyone seeking an exciting, new opportunity. FASTSIGNS has grown to more than 700 centres, operating in nine countries and is confident about its ability to adapt and respond to the challenges of the current economic landscape.

A perfect example being the franchisee of FASTSIGNS Manchester, Richard Wedgwood who launched his centre in 2009, after opting for voluntary redundancy during the recession. Richard was intrigued by the franchise business model and took time out, to consider his options for launching his own business. After undertaking thorough due diligence, he recognised the opportunity that FASTSIGNS offered.

“I was ready to do something which would allow me to establish my own future.”, Richard explained. “I saw a consistent opportunity in signage, there is always a demand for it. Whether it is lead by seasonality, helping businesses brand or communicate with their customers, product launches, events or directions, signage is a requirement. The technology and equipment needed to open the centre was also a huge draw for me. Even though my background was in sales, I knew through the proper training and building the correct team around me, I would excel in a FASTSIGNS franchise.”

The years following the recession were hard for everyone, but Richard’s franchise not only survived, it went on to become one of the top five UK centres for sales turnover. “Recessions are a challenge for any business – new or established.”, Richard continues. “However, they also present a great opportunity – provided you are and remain vigilant, proactive and willing to adapt to change.”

Adaptability is the heart of FASTSIGNS’ success over the years, Richard explains: “What was clear from the last recession was how businesses were slow in their response: proactivity is the key. Having started up during, and survived the 2009 recession, what I learnt then, is helping me position my business now. We’ve learnt to pivot, aligning our products and services to help customers through the daunting task of reopening their businesses – manufacturing new products ourselves to support them: hygiene screens being a perfect example.”

FASTSIGNS product offering has helped Richard to ‘pivot’ when required. The franchise’s unique selling point is delivered by its comprehensive solution offering. Customers are not provided with a one size fits all signage service, each customer’s project is bespoke and designed to fit their unique set of circumstances. To achieve this, a robust network of supplier partners are utilised to help FASTSIGNS centres deliver comprehensive solutions that are tailored specifically for the customers, meeting their needs as they arise.

A great deal of FASTSIGNS’ strength comes from not only what they offer franchisees, but from what the network offers each other. “One of the greatest positives of FASTSIGNS is the power of the network in sharing best practice and working collaboratively”, agrees Richard. “In particular, learning what others have successfully introduced to their markets, either driven by specific customer requests or by proactive product development. I can take those ideas and run with those which I think my customers want, whilst sharing my own.”

This collective strength and expertise has played a major part in positioning FASTSIGNS as a global industry leader. A partnership with FASTSIGNS allows franchisees to access all the resources, tools and expertise they need to build their own successful and profitable business. Even during times of crisis or economic uncertainty, FASTSIGNS will always rise to the challenge, supporting its franchisees with decades of professional experience and support.

As Richard says, “A lot of success comes from mindset and outlook. We are fortunate to have, in FASTSIGNS, a franchisor who actively promotes, educates and encourages the network to spend time ‘sharpening the saw’ as business owners.  Running a business can be lonely, but, with the benefit of a supportive franchisor, there is always an opportunity to share the load. Psychologically, as well as practically, with franchisor and fellow franchisees working together to become stronger and better every day – sharing ideas, best practice and, at times, just lifting each other’s spirits.”

Are you ready to take control and turn crisis into opportunity? Take the next step in shaping your own future with all the security of the FASTSIGNS franchise.