Women in franchising

Wednesday 8th March 2017

Signs Express is passionate about encouraging women into franchising as it can be a fantastic opportunity that allows you to run a business for yourself, but not by yourself.

In honour of International Women’s Day, we caught up with Tina Surface, franchisee of Signs Express (Basildon).

What did you do before Signs Express?

I was a professional golfer before becoming a franchisee with Signs Express. In 2002 my husband Tony and I opened Signs Express (Basildon) and the centre has grown substantially over the years. We expanded into new premises in 2014 and I want to keep expanding the business.

Signs Express (Basildon)

What attracted you to a franchise?

I’ve always been driven and had the ambition to start my own business but wasn’t sure of how to do it and what route to go down. It was at this stage that Tony and I came across franchising. By joining an established franchise, with a proven business model, I was offered the tools and knowledge we needed but is still very much our own business.

What made you chose Signs Express?

After doing a fair amount of research in to the different types of franchises available we decided on Signs Express because we felt it would fit into our lifestyle, budget and work alongside our family life. I’ve had four children since opening the centre and have found that being a franchisee has allowed me flexible working hours thanks to the fantastic team we have in place.

How did you raise the funding required?

We already had the working capital required in savings and secured the rest via a bank loan which we paid back in our first year of trading.

Tina & Tony Surface accepting an award from Craig Brown, MD of Signs Express

What training and support did you receive?

We initially attended a 4-week training course at the franchise support centre in Norwich. We learnt about signs, marketing, sales and general businesses management, everything we needed to hit the ground running.

The support didn’t stop after we opened, we work with the dedicated UK team on all aspects of the business, from marketing to growth strategies. It’s one of the major benefits of joining an established franchise, as is being able to connect with other franchisees within the Signs Express network of 65 centres.

Did you attend any women in business events prior to becoming a franchisee?

I used to attend networking events that were focused on women in business quite regularly when we first opened. For any woman considering franchising, there is a great deal of support available throughout the UK.

Do you have any advice for women considering a franchise?

You should pick a franchise which you are interested in as well as something that will suit your lifestyle and fulfil your ambitions. For me, franchising has given me the chance to become a business owner, but still have the kind of family lifestyle we’ve always wanted. If I was given the choice whether I’d do this again, my answer would be absolutely.

Contact our franchise recruitment team today to find out about our current franchise opportunities.