Women rule at SIGNWAVE

Jun 21, 2016

Lifestyle friendly environment and outstanding business opportunity appeal to female franchisees.

As part of one of the world’s fastest-growing franchises, SIGNWAVE Australia is passionate about helping women develop leadership positions in franchising and build businesses.

SIGNWAVE’S ability to attract outstanding women and its lifestyle -friendly environment are contributing to its parent company’s record global results, top franchise rankings and prominent industry awards.

“Women are in every role in our global network, from signmakers to the CEO,” says SIGNWAVE General Manager, Linda Sultmann. “Their ability to solve problems, build relationships and be creative are perfect for the signage, graphics and visual communications industry.”

SIGNWAVE’s parent, FASTSIGNS International Inc., was the top ranked United States franchise in business services in the prestigious 2016 Franchise Business Review (FBR) Top 200 Franchises list and inducted into FBR’s Hall of Fame last year.

FASTSIGNS was the top ranked franchise on the Franchise Gator Top 100 list, which was developed to help prospective franchisees identify affordable franchise investments with strong growth potential.

These accolades followed FASTSIGNS’ record-breaking year. Global revenue in its latest financial year hit US$400 million for the first time and FASTSIGNS opened its 600th centre.

FASTSIGNS CEO and President, Catherine Monson, says this year could be the company’s best. “Robust franchise expansion will continue in 2016 domestically and in key international markets. Our company is experiencing high demand in franchise sales globally due to the rising worldwide need for visual communications and digital signage technology.”

Monson will be keynote speaker at the National Franchise Convention 2016 in Canberra in October (see breakout box, below, for details).

SIGWAVE in demand

SIGNWAVE has 16 franchises in Australia and numbers are set to grow as established print or signage operators recognise the benefits of converting their business to a SIGNWAVE franchise.

SIGNWAVE is targeting areas of strong demand in capital cities and several regional areas. “We have big growth plans,” says Sultmann. “Corporate demand for signage is rising and franchisees who join SIGNWAVE are benefiting from our business model of higher centre volumes and our high touch, individualised training and support.

Sultmann wants women to be a key part of SIGNWAVE’s success. “This is a great business for women. They do not need a background in visual communication. Our top-performing franchisees have come from very diverse backgrounds like sales, marketing, HR, IT and r general management. We look for people who can lead a team, build relationships, are creative and capable of delivering great results for clients.”

Sultmann says SIGNWAVE’s business-to-business model offers greater workplace flexibility. “Franchise owners can achieve a good work/life balance, reclaim their weekends, and have the lifestyle they choose without sacrificing profitability.”

Many companies promote the benefits of gender diversity and recognise an opportunity to attract female business owners, but few franchises have such a demonstrated commitment to women in leadership as SIGNWAVE and its parent company. “We have women who work in every role in the organisation, sign makers, to sales consultants, production staff, to installers, owners and to the CEO (Catherine Monson),” says Sultmann.

Inspiring turnaround

Monson is one of the most respected franchise CEOs in the United Sates. As the eldest of four children, she grew up working alongside her father in the family business and is passionate about franchising and small enterprise. She has described franchising as the “most effective business model to help people get into business for themselves”, and has three decades of franchising and digital printing experience.

Monson joined FASTSIGNS as its CEO in January 2009 during one of the worst recessions in US history. In a remarkable corporate turnaround, she restored a mature brand to market leadership in the signage industry and franchising sector, delivered record earnings growth, and successfully led the sale of FASTSIGNS from one private equity firm to another in 2014.

The franchising visionary told Franchising.com that FASTSIGNS can grow to 1,000 locations in 20 countries and have US$900 million in sales – more than double its current revenue. Australia, through SIGNWAVE, is an important part of FASTSIGNS’ growth ambitions.

Compelling investment

SIGNWAVE franchisees are not limited to traditional signage. They help companies of all sizes, across all industries, increase their business visibility through exhibits and displays, point of purchase collateral, digital signs, promotional products, interior décor and vehicle graphics.

Sultmann says: “Clients are crying out for a professional, knowledgeable and reliable supplier who can provide a one-stop-shop for their visual communication needs and deliver exceptional results. SIGNWAVE franchisees become trusted partners with their clients.”

The $5.8-billion Australian  printing industry of which signage is a part, still has solid long-term prospects as more companies recognise the benefits of strong brand visibility and digital signage. Out-of-home advertising is one of the fastest growing advertising segments and continues increase its share of total spending on advertising in Australia.  

“Digital signage technology is a strong area of growth worldwide and a strategic priority for SIGNWAVE,” says Sultmann. “We tend to  attract younger franchsiee candidates who think commercially and strategically and see the opportunity of our brand and its position in a transforming industry. ”

They are attracted to an award-winning global network and SIGNWAVE’s significant franchisee support: best-practice technology systems; comprehensive training and ongoing support and sales coaching; and a sophisticated marketing program to generate customer leads.

Dean Rowland, SIGNWAVE’s franchise development manager, says the group is heavily invested in franchisee success. “We are in the business of supporting franchisees first and then growing our network off the back of their success, and in markets where we know there is strong client demand for our service-based offering,” he says.

Rowland adds: “We are more interested in market-savvy expansion – more emphasis on developing a strategic amount of quality, volume operations than opening hundreds of centres anywhere and everywhere.”

SIGNWAVE last year employed two extra franchise support personnel to ensure all centres have access to the tools, resources and expertise required to achieve optimal results for franchisees and the company.

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“A SIGNWAVE franchise is a very sound commercial investment,” says Sultmann. “Franchisees are buying into a proven business model in one of the world’s most successful franchise systems, benefiting from rising demand in the visual communications industry, becoming part of a great brand and culture, and in an environment where women and men can enjoy their lifestyle and build a profitable business.”


FCA Conference U

Don’t miss your opportunity to hear FASTSIGNS’ CEO, Catherine Monson, at the National Franchise Convention 2016 in Canberra on October 9-11. The Franchise Council of Australia convention is the largest of its kind in this country and a must for those in the franchising industry.

Monson, a keynote speaker, is presenting on ‘Transforming and Re-energising a Mature Franchise Brand’. The noted public speaker will describe how she repositioned the FASTSIGNS brand, grew franchisee unit-level sales and profitability, improved franchisee support services and increased the number of FASTSIGNS locations through targeted franchise development.

Event information is available at www.franchise.org.au

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