Finding himself at a career crossroads in 2007, which also coincided with his 50th birthday, David Riddell seized on the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy and launch his own FASTSIGNS franchise.
Having started his career working for blue chip oil company, Esso, specialising in operations and human resources, David Riddell developed a successful career in the corporate world. By his mid-forties, he was established as a director in a large organisation, operating in the Geotextile industry.
The company David had been working for undertook a restructuring programme, prompting him to take the proactive decision to elect for voluntary redundancy. “Having been working at director level, I had been involved in much of the strategic planning for the business,” explains David. “I knew what it took to run a corporate enterprise and I knew I could do it for myself.”
David took voluntary redundancy and decided to become his own boss. He began researching the business opportunities available to him, including franchising. “I was attracted to franchising because of the start-up and ongoing support that I would receive,” explains David. “When I attended the Franchise Exhibition in Manchester, I was open to possibilities regarding the industry my business would operate in.”
It was at this exhibition that David was first introduced to the signage industry and the FASTSIGNS franchise. Following his initial introduction, FASTSIGNS captivated David’s imagination, believing the business-to-business aspect of the franchise opportunity would complement his previous work history and skill set.
David’s decision to invest came from FASTSIGNS’ credibility in business, “I found the UK support team to be sincere and knowledgeable,” states David. “These people weren’t just offering a franchise service, they actually knew how to run the business. I was convinced I could launch my own business with their support; it was an opportunity I couldn’t afford to miss!”
In September 2007, David opened the doors of his new FASTSIGNS centre for business. Operating from a small building made up of little rooms which were suited to the sign-making operation of the day. Since then, the demand for vehicle graphics and the development of digital printing, prompted David to relocate his business.
In 2017, following 10 years of sustainable growth, FASTSIGNS Gloucester had outgrown its initial premises and sought a new, fit for purpose location. With the support of the FASTSIGNS UK support team, they found a suitable unit. It includes an open plan production area and mezzanine level for office space. This provides them with more scope for on-site production and has future-proofed the business for years to come.
Over the past ten years, David has successfully built a strong family business, that his wife, Carolyn and daughter, Laura both work in. David has also cultivated a core production team that have been with the centre, since day one!
The familial aspect of the centre team developed over time. When the centre launched, Carolyn had been in full time employment and took the decision to remain in her role. Initially, the FASTSIGNS support team helped David to recruit a customer service representative (CSR) to manage front of house and customer relations. When this employee choose to move on, Carolyn joined the business. Of Carolyn’s role, David comments, “She organises us and focuses on the business administration, allowing Laura and I to concentrate on generating sales enquiries, visiting customers and preparing the proposals for the work they require.”
When daughter, Laura joined the business in 2014, she took on new ways of marketing the business, harnessing the power of social media. She also pushed lead generation in a new direction by joining a local business networking group. Her attendance benefitted FASTSIGNS Gloucester by generating more awareness and new business opportunities for the centre.
Each member of the Riddell family takes great pride in their contribution to the business and take responsibility for their area. With support of the FASTSIGNS support team and their core production team, their family-run business continues thrive.
In spite of having 10 years’ experience of running a strong business, David remains modest about their success, “We are still growing, we still have goals that we are aiming to achieve,” he explains. “There are FASTSIGNS businesses within the network that inspire me because of what they have accomplished. The relocation to a larger premises has given us the platform to take our next step towards our future aspirations, we know we have more to accomplish.”