Smart50 Awards 2018

26 Easy Signs

Revenue

$12.3 million

Growth

125.5%

Founders

Andy Fryer (35), Adam Parnell (35)

Head Office

New South Wales

Employees

61

Industry

Manufacturing, transport and logistics

Website

easysigns.com.au

Andy Fryer and Adam Parnell’s business operates in an industry which they say has been upended like no other in the past 20 years.

“Our industry was originally run by skilled tradesmen that had great talent in painting signage by hand. As computers and electronics improved, the industry was introduced to vinyl plotters that would cut text and shapes out of sheets of coloured adhesive vinyl. At this point people could purchase one of these and cut designs and stick them to shop windows and other panel signs,” they say.

The industry continued to evolve, and eventually, businesses had access to signs of quality greater than any skilled sign painter could produce, which is where Easy Signs does its dealings.

With a revenue of $12.3 million and growth of over 125% across a three-year period, it’s plain to see Easy Signs has benefited and thrived from the constantly changing industry. The business was founded in 2006 after the founders bought a small sign-printing factory which used to operate near a business they used to run.

“We thought this industry would be a great challenge for us that had a huge potential market if we could build a successful business. Being very passionate about technology and its application in business, we thought we could embrace the change where other businesses were falling behind,” they say.

However, in order to innovate, the company itself was the one who nearly fell behind, with the founders taking a risk part-way through the business’ life to convert it from being a ‘standard’ sign shop into a sign business with a super-fast online model.

At risk of going bankrupt if the process didn’t go smoothly, the founders cut their team in half and powered ahead, suffering from a lack of cashflow due to the clients they were dropping and the employee benefits they were required to pay out.

In the end it paid off, however, with Easy Signs now employing 61 workers and the business eyeing off future growth. With over 12 years of experience under their belts, the founders advise other business owners to always trust their gut instinct.

“Building a business from the ground up, you quickly pick up a feeling for things and if they are right or wrong. If something or someone doesn’t seem right, trust your gut and take action,” they say.

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