Fastsigns global chief executive officer, Catherine Monson, re-opens the expanded Manchester centre
“I’m thrilled to be in the UK, it’s been just over a year since I’ve had time to be here and visit with our franchisees—it’s my favourite thing to do,” says Catherine Monson.
She continues: “Our centre in Manchester has doubled the size of their location and I am here in the UK for the ribbon cutting ceremony. What Richard Wedgewood [managing director of Fastsigns Manchester] has done is really followed the Fastsigns model.
“This involves being focused on pro-active business development and hiring pro-active outside salespeople who are calling on customers and sharing with them smart business building ideas. Richard was the first in the UK to hire an outside salesperson and now he has four.”
Monson has a wealth of knowledge in the industry, having started in franchising in the print industry in 1980, spending 28 years building up three different brands.
In late 2008, the private equity firm that owns Fastsigns reached out to
me because they felt that I would be a strong CEO to take over as the
founder was retiring. So, I’ve been in signage and visual graphics since
January 2009, but there’s huge similarities between signage and
Monson explains: “In late 2008, the private equity firm that owns Fastsigns reached out to me because they felt that I would be a strong CEO to take over as the founder was retiring. So, I’ve been in signage and visual graphics since January 2009, but there’s huge similarities between signage and printing.”
During Monson’s time with Fastsigns, the company has seen tremendous growth. She says: “I’m coming up to my eight-year anniversary and during that time, we’ve grown the Fastsigns network from about 530 locations in 6 countries to 640 in 9 countries. We are very focused on having that kind of growth here in the UK.
“We hired a new managing director in 2015 and we are thrilled with him. He sold four new franchises so we’re doing a great job of increasing the number of Fastsigns’. The plan for next year is to sell eight new franchises and I’m confident we’re going to exceed that and expect we will double the size of the Fastsigns network in the UK by the end of 2018.”
Monson sees a bright future for Fastsigns: “We are outperforming all of our franchise sign competitors not only in the UK but also in the US. We measure that in lots of different ways, certainly we’re selling and opening more locations, we have the highest average unit turnover, and we have the highest percentage sales growth.
“It’s been a very successful 2016, which will be the fourth year in a row that it will be a record for the company in every single metric, and we’re expecting the same for 2017.”
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