“Signs don’t cost money, they make money!” said Joanne Ruston, winner of Speedpro Canada’s Franchisee of the Decade.
Rushton says it in reference to what signs do for her customers, but it has been true for her franchise too.
With her team at Speedpro North in Calgary, Ruston’s franchise won the national Best Franchisee of the Year in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2017. Speedpro North also won the Al Crowe Memorial Cup for National Sales for 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.
Ruston was also recognized in the July 2009 Business in Calgary as one of the city’s “Leaders of Tomorrow.”
When asked how her franchise has been so successful in Calgary during a decade of economic downturn, Ruston believes it is her team’s customer focus.
“I think it is because we have trained our staff to act as sign consultants, not just order-takers,” said Ruston. “People often don’t know what they want when they come to us. We try to understand what they need, whether it is brand awareness, directions, or advertising their services.”
Many times, the Speedpro team is guiding the customer to the right sign solution, she adds.
“We don’t assume what the customer asks for initially is what they need or is the best solution. We ask a lot of questions,” Ruston said.
The franchise’s 107 five-star Google reviews suggest this approach results in happy customers.
Speedpro Canada’s criteria for choosing the Franchisee of the Decade include implementation of branding strategies, consistent marketing of the brand promise, team development, client survey scores, Google standing, community participation, and charity support.
“Speedpro North’s constant effort to develop our corporate brand in Calgary’s northeast has brought the franchise and our entire network success,” says Stuart Burns, president of Speedpro Canada, which has 48 franchises. “Calgary’s Speedpro North has developed hundreds of business relationships which associate Speedpro Signs as the source for exceptional service solutions.”
An avid networker and community supporter, Ruston says the franchise provides signage every year for the Kidney Foundation of Canada fundraisers and adopts an additional charity each year to assist as volunteers and with signage.
Her husband and the business’s production manager, Joe Yee, also mentors other Speedpro franchise owners to help their franchises grow and succeed, too.