Business to business – turning experience into an asset
With 25 locations throughout New Zealand, Speedy Signs is the country’s largest sign network. The brand’s formula for success has been shared with many franchisees over 20 plus years, many of whom have previously worked in unrelated industries. ‘It’s not about previous signage experience – it’s about management or sales experience,’ says Grant Archibald, Managing Director of Business Franchise Group. ‘If you can manage a team or a department, and are comfortable in front of people, you can run your own business with Speedy Signs.’
Brenton Stewart is proving that already, even though he’s just at the start of his Speedy Signs journey. With many years’ experience in small-to-medium retail and wholesale management, Brenton had a long-held ambition to own his own business. ‘In fact, I first approached Grant over 10 years ago, but the timing wasn’t right so my career took a different direction. But I always thought it was a great business so I finally took the plunge last year.’
Leaving an established career can sometimes cause jitters, ‘But when my friends heard I was buying a Speedy Signs franchise, they commented what a great reputation it had,’ says Brenton. ‘To be honest, there aren’t many franchises as well-established and well-respected as this one. The brand is very well known – I often get people saying, “Oh, I saw your van on the road.” Well, I haven’t even bought a van yet, but I’m delighted other franchisees are doing my advertising for me!’
Brenton completed the initial training course that all Speedy Signs franchisees do and was very impressed. ‘I had expected to learn about the operational side of generating sales and making signs, but it covered an awful lot more than that – business management, goal setting, planning – all the things you need to build a real business.’ Grant points out that having consistent training and consistent business systems throughout the franchise means that the franchisor is able to offer better support, ‘and helps franchisees share and apply knowledge for the benefit of all.’
Brenton opened his new West Auckland business last October and is enjoying, in his own words, ‘A huge change of life! It is both enormously challenging and enormously rewarding, and I’ve developed a passion for running to unwind. But I’m creating the business I’ve always wanted – I’m just glad I chose the Speedy Signs franchise rather than trying to do it all on my own!’
less taxing, more rewarding
Kevin Jones of New Plymouth has proved that. Kevin spent 30 years with the IRD and then Taranaki Rugby. ‘It was an exciting time as there were so many changes and challenges, but I’d always wanted to do something for myself and eventually I thought it was now or never.’
After investigating options, Kevin was drawn to Speedy Signs. ‘Not only is it a business-to-business franchise with pretty regular hours, but I have a very practical side and I love making things. My son Matt had worked as a signwriter after leaving school so we had his industry computer and practical skills readily available. He was the ideal first employee. Then my daughter, Wendy, returned from Australia and with my wife, Sheryl, too, we suddenly had a family business!’
Kevin conducted the thorough due diligence you’d expect from a tax man and, after consulting local business contacts, existing franchisees and a lawyer, concluded Speedy Signs was a solid opportunity. Kevin and Sheryl undertook the training course and opened their brand new store in October 2008: ‘Just two weeks before the crash,’ Kevin grimaces.
‘As you would expect, the first couple of years were hard work,’ he admits. ‘But even with the post-GFC challenges, we grew – thanks to an excellent system and terrific franchise support. After all, every business needs signage! We have continued to grow ever since and the last eight years have flown by. We now have a very solid business. Looking back, I sometimes think the only thing I really understood about business ownership before joining the franchise was accounts, but Speedy Signs has taught me so much about the other aspects – and especially about building a profitable business that has become a sizeable asset. As for working with family, well – we’re all still here and haven’t shot each other!’
two brands, same benefits
Speedy Signs and its sister franchise, EmbroidMe (which specialises in the supply of branded apparel and promotional products) have new and existing opportunities available in many parts of New Zealand. ‘Both brands offer a complete turn-key package with full training and support, and capital requirement may be as low as $100,000 with finance being available to qualified applicants,’ says Grant. ‘The business is not seasonal, there’s little money tied up in stock and both operate in genuine growth industries.
‘Brenton and Kevin’s experiences show just what good managers can achieve in a first-class system, whether in a larger town or a metropolitan city,’ says Grant. ‘Neither had previously owned a business, but they have learned how to run a highly-profitable enterprise and build an asset that can go on increasing in value.
‘If you’re interested in building your own future-proofed asset, contact us today.’
First published in Franchise NZ Magazine. (Revised 2020)