Taking on the business was always the long-term goal for the three work colleagues and friends, Alan White, Jose and Melanie Martinez. With over 75 years’ experience in the sign industry between them, finally being able to take hold of the reins for themselves was an amazing feeling as Melanie explains.
“We have always loved what we do and it was never in question that when the time was right, we would take the business on for ourselves. Although we know this business inside out, we were under no illusion that the transition from employees to owners would involve a steep learning curve and one which must be taken seriously. Over the first few months it was essential that it was business as usual with production running smoothly whilst in the background we went back to basics on every aspect of the business putting in place the foundations needed to ensure we had a successful first year with a structured plan in place.
This was the ideal time to utilise the resources at hand and wealth of knowledge that comes with being part of such an internationally successful organisation such as FASTSIGNS. Along with the support we had from FASTSIGNS International we also tapped into the local business connections we had built up.
Using the contacts we have made over many years of networking locally has been invaluable, there was always a friendly face willing to give advice and guidance for any question we had.
Logistically we are blessed and being positioned on Manor Royal in the heart of the Gatwick Diamond has certainly been a huge benefit to us. Crawley is a fantastic place to have a business, the support and encouragement we have received over the past year has been quite overwhelming. The power of being in a town with such strong connections in the business community is something we are extremely grateful for.
Another huge benefit to us has been that as an established business we are lucky to have longevity within our team and our customer database. As well as Jose, Alan and myself having worked within Fastsigns for over 22 years, Murat our sign writer has been with us for 21 years and has been a superstar with the wealth of knowledge he brings to the business.
We also have extremely loyal customers too, some of whom have been with us our full 25 years trading and many more clocking up a couple of decades. This level of commitment from our team and customers speaks volumes about who we are as a business and that loyalty is something we would never take for granted.
When we put our business plan together we had some very clear objectives in mind. At the top of this was to grow the business by 50% over the first two years, invest in new equipment, to take on a new member of staff and increase new business by 20%.
A year in we could not be prouder of our achievements. We took on Isobel who is a welcome addition to the team as key account manager and has proved a huge asset to us already excelling in her role. We have invested in a new wide format printer which has increased output and efficiency as well as streamlining production, and new business has grown by 35%. However the highlight of our year has to be winning an award at the FASTSIGNS UK convention for ‘Sales Improvement of the Year’. This recognition of a 40% growth was the icing on the cake for us.
We consider ourselves extremely lucky to be able to do a job we love and are grateful for all the support we have received from our customers, friends and family over the last year. We are feeling positive having exceeded our expectations in our first year and are excited to see what 2020 has in store for us.
As well as their core signage such as Facias, Banners, Exhibition Graphics, Illuminated Signs and Vehicle Graphics, Fastsigns provide many other products such as Digital Signage, Stationery, Bespoke Items, Wall Graphics, Totems and much more.
For anyone wishing to know more about what Fastsigns can offer please pop in at Unit 2 Bank Precinct, Gatwick Road, Crawley, RH10 9RF, call them on 01293 520776 or visit www.fastsigns.com/854