FASTSIGNSⓇ - When the Going Gets Tough...

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FASTSIGNS International Inc.

In the UK
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FASTSIGNSⓇ – When the Going Gets Tough…

In the immortal words of Billy Ocean, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. When a problem arises, as a franchisee, you need to know exactly who is in your corner and what support you’ll receive.

On 23rd March 2020, FASTSIGNSⓇ franchisees found out exactly the kind of support their franchisor was able to implement, to help them weather the oncoming Covid-19 storm.

With the unpredictable circumstances, it would have been understandable for FASTSIGNS, as the franchisor, to hang back and get a ‘lay of the land’ as the situation unfurled. Alternatively, FASTSIGNS International’s CEO, Catherine Monson decided to act proactively.

Considering world events prior to March 2020, FASTSIGNS had already commissioned a document advising franchisees on best practices for weathering a recession. Although this document was not planned for released, until required, it was provided to all 700+ franchisees, accompanied by a strong dose of Catherine’s personal positive mental attitude, adopting the Zig Ziglar quote as a mantra for the network: ‘Expect the best, prepare for the worst and capitalise on what comes.’

To do this, virtually overnight, the FASTSIGNS resource site was launched as a hub for emerging information, which all franchisees could access, globally. Catherine hosted weekly international conference calls to keep the network abreast of global changes, share best practice and recognise the efforts of franchisees who were being proactive.

In the UK, the dedicated UK support team focused on in country information, setting up a ‘local’ weekly conference call and a Taskforce of five franchisees was launched to spear head initiatives. Within two weeks, the Taskforce had recognised the need to pivot and had implemented:

  • A set of standard infection control signage – easily replicable by each centre and allowed customers to be compliant with covid regulations.
  • An ecommerce site – removing barriers to purchase and sidestepping FASTSIGNS usual consultative selling process, although this remained available if a business required bespoke covid signage.
  • An intensive marketing programme – to raise awareness of FASTSIGNS capabilities available to businesses navigating the pandemic.

The UK support team worked with each franchisee to understand their individual situations, preparing cash flow forecasts, managing resources, assessing staffing costs, advising on furlough opportunities and created individual action plans for centres, enabling them to obtain the financial support that would become available. For each centre three scenarios were worked up, which focused on the potential good, better, best outcomes, helping franchisees to be aware and informed whatever the eventual outcome.

All of this felt reactive in March 2020, however it created a solid blueprint for Lockdown 2.0 in November and Lockdown 3.0 in January 2021 and has meant that despite the challenges of the global pandemic, the FASTSIGNS franchisees have still been able to thrive and not just survive. Whilst it’s still an uncomfortable time for businesses owners, FASTSIGNS franchisees have benefited from the support provided by the franchisor in helping them navigate the pandemic with a modicum of confidence, highlighting that whilst they are in business for themselves, they certainly are not by themselves.

Whilst no one can predict the future, and we hope that the trading environment will return to some form of normality soon, for franchisees it’s positive to know that, if and when, the proverbial hits, you’ve got the might of a franchisor, who is prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder with you, no matter how heavy the storm.

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