FASTSIGNS® Of Newark is part of a global franchise (FASTSIGNS®) and is owned and operated by husband and wife Denise and Robert Acquaye. They own 51%/49% respectively and they are WBE/MBE certified. The clients invested $350,000 of their lifetime savings into the business they started on October 28, 2011. FastSigns, is a global franchise, has been ranked as the #1 signage franchise according to Entrepreneur Magazine. FastSigns offers visibility strategies, project services and product solutions. Although the company started in 2011, they did not have any fiscal activity until January 2013 with gross sales of $253,000.00. By 2014 they had grossed approximately $400,0000. Despite everyday challenges of growing a family owned franchise small business, managing and retaining good employees they are projecting gross earnings of approximately $850,000 by end of 2018.
The company became NJSBDC at Rutgers-Newark center client in April 2012. From the start of their business FastSigns utilized the services of the Center to grow their company through sales increases of their business. The Company sought and received an assistance with various business problems such as how hire and expand their sales team; setting up human resource management systems; record keeping and business financial management; sales and marketing strategies; access to working capital, etc. Over the years, the Center has invested a total of 197hrs in counseling and training to help Denise and Robert grow their business in these various areas. One of the Center lead consultant, Carmen Morris worked with Denise and Robert on sales, marketing strategies, QuickBooks and sales force hiring and human capital management systems. The company currently has 5 full-time employees (including the 2 owners) and 1 part-timer.
In addition, Dr. Ndoro, the Center Director also helped them get in the Rutgers Business School/SBDC Student Experiential Learning Program. Using a problem solving approach, the Experiential Learning Program is designed for small businesses grossing over $300,000 to work with junior and senior undergraduate business students for a semester to solve their business problems with faculty supervision. FastSigns participated in the program in 2014 and the program assisted them with their online promotion, digital marketing, social media, website and marketing plan. The company owners have also participated in numerous NJSBDC at Rutgers-Newark events like the Open House and Business Bazaar/Expo networking events; various procurement and access to capital programs such as the Pitch for Capital and Pitch for Contracts events where they had the opportunity to pitch their business in front of lenders and buyers. For their business resourceful, job creation and steady sales growth as a result of the SBDC assistance, we proudly nominate FastSigns as NJSBDC at Rutgers-Newark Success Award Winner for 2018.