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Having worked in the aluminium stockholding industry for 28 years, Mark Kendall decided the time had come for a change in his career.
“Selling my aluminium stockholding business in 2007 was the catalyst for my career change,” explains Mark. “I had acquired a range of transferrable skills, like sales, marketing, people management, IT and so on; and my network of professional contacts in Southampton was really strong. I wanted a new challenge but still wanted to be my own boss.”
Mark hadn’t considered franchising as a route to achieve that goal until he visited a franchise exhibition to learn more.
“It was there I heard that the Signs Express franchise owner in Southampton was looking to emigrate and so the business was for sale,” says Mark.
“As we talked, the possibilities of the signs industry became clear to me. I realised that my breadth of contacts were a ready-made potential client base. People from all walks of life need signs. By applying the same skills, I could sell signs in the same way that I had previously sold metal.”
He explains how changing industries has worked for him: “My proven business management, sales and team leadership skills have laid the foundations for building a successful Signs Express centre; the team around me are the technical experts on the production side of things.”
Signs Express is the UK and Ireland’s leading signs and graphics franchise, established over 20 years ago with a network of more than 75 franchise owners.
“Being part of a franchise provides peace of mind as support is always available on all aspects of running a business. As well as head office, the franchise owner network provides plenty of first-hand experience to draw on.”
Mark says that the two most important skills for a franchise owner to possess are to be prepared to get in front of people to talk about your business and being good with people.
“My advice is: listen to people, let people manage themselves, make people feel important, and be reliable – direct these principles to both your customers and people within your team,” he adds.Having laid solid foundations for his Signs Express business, Mark has set himself a number of targets for the future.
“I am proud to have doubled the turnover of this centre within two years of having taken it on; though increasing business and becoming more profitable is always going to be a goal.
“I think Signs Express Southampton has built a reputation for excellence and quality. In 10 years time I’d like to be in new larger premises, have a bigger team and see people around me who have helped build this business up taking on more prominent roles.”
Written by Fraser McKay