Cindy and Phil Bacon, Franchisees of FASTSIGNS
What advice do you have for someone considering investing in a franchise? When looking at a franchise, remember that the Franchisor can be one of your biggest assets. Do your due diligence and contact as many franchisees as possible. Even take several visits to existing centers of that franchise. See what the culture is at the centers and how they interact with the Franchisor. Invest in equipment. Do not get complacent about what equipment you have, but rather what consider what equipment would add capacity and time to the production day.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your career in franchising? The growth that we have had. To think about where we were when we started, and to look at our center now, is pretty amazing. But we are more proud that we have taken our employees with us. They have started families, bought houses, and have been able to purchase medical insurance. We like that we not only grew the business, but also a bunch of families. We are also proud to be in the top 5 centers in the world. There are a lot of good owners and operators that we admire. To think we can hang out with that group is pretty amazing.
What was your career path before you entered franchising? Cindy and I were working with my parents, Phil and Becky Bacon. My parents had always been in business for themselves. They also had several business and some were franchisees. In fact, they spied FASTSIGNS first. They decided to go a different path, but Cindy and I loved the idea of manufacturing our own product.
As a business owner, what has been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome? I would say it would have to be the recession of 2008 that tested us. It tested our resolve, our bank account and our confidence in ourselves and our ability. But we had just built our own freestanding building and kept pushing our sales and outside sales departments. We kept watching the bottom line , while still re-investing in newer, better, faster equipment. It paid off.
What do you like most about your franchise organization? Everything. They are responsive, and more than willing to help with any problem or idea that Cindy and I have. We probably call on them at least once a week with equipment or software questions. Under Catherine Monson, Cindy and I have seen this Franchise grow dramatically. We have more million dollar stores that we have ever had under any other leadership. Catherine gets it. She knows that it is not just about how much the store sells, but what are they putting in their pocket. That is the bigger issue. She is also in her franchisees' centers. She is calling on them face to face. Asking the hard questions then trying to see where she can help. She also has the most fabulous staff. When she took the helm, she had to clear out a bunch of folks that were not into her culture. She made it her own, then surrounded herself with great people.