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Signs and graphics franchiser in Norwich appoints first field-based team

Jonathan Bean, managing director of Signs Express in Norwich, who took the top job following a management buy-out. Picture: Steve Wright Photography

Jonathan Bean, managing director of Signs Express in Norwich, who took the top job following a management buy-out. Picture: Steve Wright Photography

Steve Wright Photography

A fast-growing national franchise which began in Norwich has launched a roving support team as it chases its target of becoming a £30m company.

Signs Express has taken on three new operations staff who will work remotely to manage its network of franchisees across the country.

Jonathan Bean, managing director at Signs Express, said bringing in a field-based team showed how the company wanted to interact with and support its 70 franchised production centres.

“The team, up to now, has been largely office-based with the ability to go out into the field but when we looked at how we wanted to offer support as a franchiser we were very mindful of the benefits of having someone in the field,” he said.

“There is a value in being able to see the franchisees, to meet the team and look at where they work.

“I also think you have better conversations with franchisees when you are face-to-face. That is something that has come back to me from staff and directors who spend a lot of time in the field.”

While most of their time will be spent on the road, meeting new franchisees and making support visits, the new operational team will visit Signs Express’ headquarters to provide training to new businesses in the network and for team meetings to review progress on its 2020 vision.

The five-year strategy had goals for the business to increase its franchisee network to 80 and grow group turnover to £30m, which Mr Bean said can be achieved through network expansion.

“The way and pace with which this business can grow will be largely directed by the team I have around me. 
“I need to know that they know where they are taking the business and how we are going to get there. I want to make sure these guys are empowered to carry out their roles,” he said.

Mr Bean, who took over as managing director following a management buy-out in late 2017, is keen to expand the support Signs Express can offer to its franchisees.

As well as the new operations staff the company also has two business development managers – its second is due to start work this month – to offer commercial support and a primarily field-based sales manager.

There are also plans to increase the marketing support offered to businesses in the network.

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