Countrywide Signs was born from the splitting up of the national estate agent sign board erection and management franchise ‘Agency Signs‘. In fact Countrywide Signs still own the ‘Agency Signs’ brand.
|Tony boasts an impressive business background, with 12 years as managing director of his own security company as well as over 18 years as a Countrywide Signs franchisee. One of the original founders of the business and its managing director, he has a total of over 24 years' experience in franchising and leads the team building and supporting the Countrywide Signs network.|
Master Franchise Owner, Ireland
|John came to Countrywide Signs from 12 Years as Sales Director in the photographic industry. He began with 6 years as a Countrywide Signs Franchisee before becoming the National Sales Manager and subsequently taking on the role of Master Franchise Owner for Ireland.|
Countrywide Signs - Standards
The business was structured from the beginning to operate to ISO 9001 quality standards. This attitude towards lean systemisation combined with the industry’s leading online estate agent sign board management system and automated accounting systems has led to an incredibly efficient company.
British Franchise Association
One of the bfa's main roles is to help potential franchisees recognise the good franchises and the not-so-good, as well as to help businesses involved in franchising to secure their own position amongst the "good".
This work is not just a philanthropic exercise for reputable and responsible franchisors. It makes good commercial sense. The ability of franchisors to attract potential franchisees to invest in their systems depends crucially on their own reputation, and on the reputation of franchising in general.
It was for these reasons that in 1977 the major franchise companies in the UK decided to set up their own association. The British Franchise Association (bfa), was formed to act in the interests of the industry as a whole in assessing and accrediting franchising companies as those which meet its criteria for the structure of the franchise business, the terms of the contract between franchisor and franchisee, the testing of the system and its success as a franchise.
bfa Full Member
Full Members of the bfa are established franchised businesses, with a proven trading history and record in franchising they will have an established network of franchisees.
There is a real business up and running where end products and services are being sold successfully to customers. The franchise agreement is sound, and by joining the bfa the company has committed itself to develop the business in accordance with bfa industry standards.
The franchisor will be continuing to invest in support and development of their network.
There will be franchisees whose experience you can research before deciding to invest and the business will have been tested over a period of time and there will be evidence of its ability to establish a solid network.
Full Members of the bfa are prepared to have their reputation examined by the bfa.
ISO 9001 sets out the steps necessary to adopt a quality management system. It is designed to help organisations ensure they meet the needs and expectations of both customers and other interested parties, based on internationally recognised quality management principles set out by the International Standards Organisation (ISO).
At the heart of the standard is a quality policy and set of systems and principles that tie together business objectives, customer needs and your marketing plan. When this approach to quality is embedded across the business every employee understands how their actions create a better customer experience and processes are put in place to continually review and improve that customer experience.
ISO 9001 is what is known as a ‘generic standard’ – this means it can be applied to any organisation no matter its size or complexity.
ISO 9001 Principles
Each principle features ISO 9001 procedures which management can implement and the benefits derived from making these changes.
Qualified Franchise Professional
The Qualified Franchise Professional (QFP) is the only nationally recognised qualification specific to the franchising industry. It signifies a highly developed level of expertise and experience in franchising and a thorough understanding of its complexities, ethical standards and best practices.
Unlike membership of the bfa, the QFP is specific to an individual and not to a company. It’s a recognition of a personal level of commitment, time and continuous professional development by a member of the franchising community.
Encouraging Women Into Franchising
Encouraging Women Into Franchising's (EWIF) primary focus is to support women who are looking for a route into the franchise industry. EWIF's remit is threefold; to encourage women to consider buying a franchise, to encourage business women to franchise their existing operations and to help franchisors attract more women to their networks. EWIF is a not-for-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers, providing advice and guidance to anyone looking at trying to break into the franchise industry.
EWIF partner with other professionals in the franchise industry in order to offer the best guidance and support possible. Giving expert advice has enabled EWIF to partner many women with suitable franchisors and allowed them to build successful businesses. MPs such as Nicky Morgan, Minister for Women and Equalities, and Justin Tomlinson, Small Business Ambassador for the Conservative Party, have attended EWIF meetings. They also hold regular meetings in the House of Commons which allows them to lobby for changes in areas that affect their members and to spread the word about franchising and its benefits even further.
The NatWest/bfa franchise survey for 2013 revealed that women now account for 30% of franchisees in the UK which is a 2% increase since 2011. However, over the last two years, only 18% of new franchisees have been women which is a dramatic decrease since 2011 when 38% of new franchisees were female. Franchising can be a great move for women who are looking to take their career a step further or to have a career that fits in around their home life. EWIF are looking to change the face of the franchise sector so that women have a much larger presence than they do currently and to balance out the ratio of men to women in the franchise industry.
EWIF regional meetings are held around the UK on a regular basis to allow franchisors and prospective franchisees and franchisees to meet, network, discuss best practice and hear from a range of industry experts. EWIF also hold an annual awards ceremony, sponsored by NatWest, to recognise the achievements of women in franchising and to boost their position and give them more credibility in their industry.