Technology Continues to Drive Market Growth
Technical innovation—equipment, software, and supplies—continues to drive this market forward, enabling franchisees to provide state-of-the art graphics and solutions for their customers. All of the franchisors are proactive, developing special programs and opportunities to help their franchisees grow and thrive.
“Although technological advancements have caused some challenges for the traditional sign industry, the innovations being presented by our vendors are opening doors for our franchisees,” said Palmer. “Technologies that were once unattainable, e.g. flatbed, grand-format, and dye-sublimation printers, are becoming more affordable and easily accessible. The addition of unique technologies allows our franchisees to expand into market segments that were once unserviceable.”
“Rapid changes in technology allow us to offer better products and services than we could have even imagined in the past,” said Tatem. “SIGNARAMA first found success by using cutting-edge industry software programs to provide a full range of sign and graphic services. That’s never truer than today, when we offer our customers many advances in the way that we print our products and even the way customers can purchase…whether it’s in one of our stores around the globe, or on our website where they can design and purchase a sign right online. Staying on top of technology innovations gives us a great advantage and many new opportunities to excel.
Taking Success to the Next Step
Sign franchisees need to tackle the “new normal” head on—just as their independent counterparts do. Through various business and education programs, franchisors are making sure their franchisees are not left to figure it out for themselves. Peer-to-peer networking and information exchange helps to strengthen individual locations while building the network as a whole.
“The biggest opportunity for sign franchise owners today applies across the board with most sign businesses, whether independent or franchise,” said White. “With this in mind, I do believe there are specific advantages sign franchise owners do have when it comes to growth opportunities. Our centers are part of a family of valuable experts and fellow business owners with a boundless training system and extensive trade knowledge, creating a dynamic combination of extensive local service and worldwide support. As a result, our owners are never left with the feeling of being ‘alone on an island’, so to speak. They receive an unparalleled level of support in every aspect of their business; and regardless of the situation they find themselves in, they can always find peers facing similar situations who they can collaborate with.”
Monson concurs. “Our franchise partners succeed in this environment by focusing both on operational excellence and bringing more and better solutions to their customers,” she added. “ We are working with our franchise partners to improve all areas of their business. In regards to operational excellence, we have programs and processes to help them be ‘brilliant with the basics’ in all areas of their operations. We are focused on constantly improving efficiency and minimizing complexity. There is also a focus on managing and improving margins as well as delivering exceptional customer service. Of course, in order to accomplish this, we need to help our franchise partners develop exceptional staff; the University of FASTSIGNS, our online learning management system, contains learning tracks for all positions within their organization.