Entrepreneurial Power Couple Shares Signs of Success
One of FASTSIGNS® franchisee Mark Glenn’s favorite quotes is from Steve Jobs, who said “Great things in business are not done by one person; they are done by a team of people.”
That is certainly true for FASTSIGNS International, which has grown to more than 600 locations around the world because of its outstanding franchisees and corporate employees. Two of the contributing franchisees are Mark and his wife Shawn, who have proven to be impressive leaders within the FASTSIGNS network and in the franchising industry as a whole.
The Glenns started out on the corporate side at FASTSIGNS International, with Mark serving as director of compliance and a business consultant for over 14 years, and Shawn working as a creative services manager for three years. They made the decision to become franchisees five years ago, and the entrepreneurial couple has excelled in every facet of the business.
In 2011, the Glenns acquired their first resale FASTSIGNS center in Carrollton, Texas, reaching their goal of $1 million in annual sales after just two years of owning the location. In 2014, they expanded the center by 1,500 square feet for more production and office space. Then, after much success in Carrollton, the couple announced expansion of their business in October 2015 by acquiring three existing Dallas-based FASTSIGNS locations, including the downtown Dallas center, the Oak Lawn center and the Market Center locations. As true innovators, the Glenns are always finding ways to provide their customers with a variety of comprehensive visual communications solutions and marketing services at all four of their locations.
Mark and Shawn Glenn attribute much of their aggressive business growth and noteworthy success in such a short period of time to three main factors: a dedicated team of employees, a passion for running their own business and a commitment to exceeding customer expectations.
Among their four locations, the Glenns employ a dedicated team of 25 employees. Mark says, “It’s our responsibility to communicate business goals, from having the right staff in place to empowering them to do their jobs with thorough training and the proper resources.”
Their robust staff includes sales managers, a field operations manager, production manager, and outside sales representatives. Mark supports the sales staff with strategy, pricing and sourcing vendors, as well as attending outside sales visits. “Mornings are a time in the center to meet with the team and talk about projects in progress, update sales forecasts and prioritize our work. My afternoons are spent mostly on the go, networking and attending meetings or conference calls,” he says.
Shawn adds, “We are fortunate to have such a capable group of professionals we can trust to go above and beyond for our customers. Mark and I both believe in the importance of holding people accountable, but staying out of their way and letting them do their jobs.”
The Glenns and their team definitely get the job done. They recently celebrated a big accomplishment when their customers nominated them for Business of the Year through their local Chamber of Commerce. For a relatively new business, winning the award was a major honor.
“Owning FASTSIGNS centers gives me the time and the financial opportunity to act as an entrepreneur. It is hard work, but the sense of ownership is very rewarding,” Mark says. “We are helping other businesses grow, and most companies need our services.”
The business is about solving business challenges and helping companies accomplish their visual communications goals. Using a highly skilled team of marketing and graphics experts, the Glenns and their store teams have the vision, experience and insight to create signs and graphic solutions that help businesses, organizations and events realize their full potential.
“We get to make our customers the hero,” says Shawn. “And with the brand awareness, operational support and training resources we receive from FASTSIGNS International, we are positioned to be the predominant visual communications leader in the market.”
Mark and Shawn Glenn have proven to be great for the brand and great to current and potential franchisees in the organization. In addition to attending all conventions and sales conferences and participating in marketing programs, the Glenns are always open to testing or early adoption of new programs, like décor upgrades or new POS systems. Mark also serves on the FASTSIGNS Franchise Advisory Council and helps as a mentor for other franchisees. Their love of what they do inspires others around them.
Their other love is their two young daughters and spending time together as a family. Mark and Shawn both place importance on fostering a work-life balance – a motivating factor for the couple’s outstanding performance over the past five years.
Above and Beyond
Gary Salomon, founder of FASTSIGNS International, famously said, “The universe rewards action.” The Glenns whole-heartedly agree. In addition to giving back to the Dallas community, they spend time fostering meaningful relationships with other business owners in Dallas and see it as a prime opportunity to increase the company’s brand awareness on a local level. Both are active in local organizations, such as their Chamber of Commerce and community business association, as well as a women’s business forum and the PTA.
Mark points out that business is about building relationships. He says, “We’re providing a product, but what we’re really delivering is an experience. Other companies may provide the same transaction, so where we can stand out is to deliver it with unmatched professionalism.”
Sometimes that means arriving at 4:30 a.m. for an install, or hand-delivering signs and going above and beyond to make a deadline. The Glenns believe in doing whatever it takes to meet and exceed expectations, and that’s a mentality they foster in their employees.
“I haven’t placed a single order since we bought the franchise,” Mark says. “Shawn and I work hard to create awareness in the community and attract business, but then we put it in the very capable hands of our team. They are the pillars in our organization.”
The Glenns have found success in goal-setting and incentives. When annual sales goals are reached, there have been cruises or trips to Las Vegas to reward their highest performer. “We set the goal high, but the key is to also make it attainable,” says Shawn. “We want to provide a challenge that is within reach.”
The Glenns agree that any challenge is within reach with the power of FASTSIGNS brand behind them. The FASTSIGNS franchise offers the opportunity to be the industry leader from day one with established operating systems and a highly successful franchise model. Strong strategic direction, proven processes and a leadership team dedicated to helping franchisees increase their sales and profitability is all part of the FASTSIGNS experience. Mark and Shawn Glenn are shining examples of this franchise promise in action.