Awards a sure sign of busi­ness skill

Taranaki Daily News - - News - Stephanie Mitchell [email protected]

When Kevin Jones got on stage to ac­cept the award for best fran­chisee in New Zealand, his first words into the mi­cro­phone were ‘‘bloody hell’’.

His ex­cla­ma­tion was un­der­stand­able. His jour­ney to such lofty recog­ni­tion took more than 40 years.

Jones had al­ways wanted to own his own busi­ness but even af­ter 30 at the tax de­part­ment and eight years with the Taranaki Rugby Foot­ball Union he’d never built up the courage to take the plunge.

As he got older he thought ‘‘if I don’t do this now I’ll re­gret it’’. So he bought a Speedy Signs fran­chise.

Now the New Ply­mouth man and his wife Sh­eryl have been recog­nised for their busi­ness acu­men.

As well as win­ning 2018 West­pac New Zealand Supreme Fran­chisee of the Year award, they took home the Busi­ness Ser­vices Fran­chisee of the Year.

‘‘I thought ‘this is pretty cool’ and it’s al­ways a sur­prise be­cause you’re sit­ting there think­ing ‘you’re only a small pup in a small town’. The rest of the coun­try is do­ing stuff as well,’’ he said.

The awards recog­nise ex­cel­lence in busi­ness pro­cesses, vi­sion, val­ues and cul­ture and are in­de­pen­dently judged by the NZ Busi­ness Ex­cel­lence Foun­da­tion.

The re­cent awards aren’t the only tro­phies Jones has sit­ting on his man­tel­piece.

He is also the proud holder of the Kevin Jones award, a tro­phy Speedy Signs cre­ated last year for the store with the best re­gional sales.

It was named af­ter Jones as his store tends to come out on top.

‘‘It’s the Ran­furly Shield for the re­gional stores so any­one that tops my sales I have to go and present it to them. But the thing is, it’ll al­ways have my name on it,’’ he said.

He put their suc­cess at the re­cent awards down to hard work and fail­ure not be­ing an op­tion.

‘‘You ei­ther lose or you don’t lose and we chose not to lose. It hasn’t been plain sail­ing, you do what you have to do.

‘‘We of­ten get told ‘‘you’re the hard­est work­ing sign writer in town’’. We’re out week­ends, I’ll be up on a roof putting up sig­nage and a cus­tomer will be down on the ground shout­ing ‘hey what are you up to?’ and then they’re up on the roof too hav­ing a chat.’’

Two of Jones’ three chil­dren, Wendy and Matt, work along­side him at Speedy Signs and Matt was a large rea­son why he bought the fran­chise.

‘‘I saw this ad for Speedy Signs want­ing to open up a fran­chise in New Ply­mouth and my son had been a sign writer for three or four years when he left school and the ap­pren­tice­ship never worked out.

‘‘He went on and stud­ied this and that and was sit­ting around do­ing odd jobs and stuff, work­ing for friends, and I said ‘you’ve spent a lot of money on a de­gree how about we put it to use’?’’

The first few years run­ning the busi­ness were chal­leng­ing, more than Jones thought they would be. He’d spend his time go­ing door to door in search of clients, hand­ing out busi­ness cards.

Over time he has found work­ing for him­self to be re­ward­ing but said he still can’t say he’s his own boss.

‘‘I still have peo­ple boss­ing me around. That’s what fam­ily does."

PHO­TOS: ANDY JACK­SON/STUFF

Kevin Jones owns Speedy Signs New Ply­mouth but he said he can’t call him­self his own boss as some­one in the fam­ily will still be boss­ing him around, such as his wife Sh­eryl or his kids Wendy and Matt.

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