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Lee Eaton, owner of Signs Express (Manchester) was put forward for the British Franchise Association's (BFA) B2B Franchisee of the Year Award and has made it to the final!

Established in 1997, Lee and his father built the business up from scratch, creating the solid foundations that Lee has been able to exploit since he took full ownership in 2012. The centre has grown into one of the largest franchises in the network boasting a workforce of 17 skilled people and ambitions to recruit two more team members soon. The centre's success has led to 25% growth and an increase in operating profits. Lee differentiated his business from the competition by installing a stringent production process, including a time-frame for quote finalisation, a rigorous approval process, a quality management system and a work-in-progress communication system. This ensures that the centre sets high standards from the outset and consequently has one of the highest quote-to-order ratios in the network. Lee expressed his elation at the recognition of his team's hard work by the BFA: 'It is great to have our dedication acknowledged and to be announced as a finalist in this year's BFA B2B Franchisee of the Year Award. 'This year I have striven to broaden our horizons and fine-tuned our production and customer service processes, as well as developing existing client relationships and creating firm bonds with them. In turn, this has led to further work, as well as seven new major clients coming to us for our expertise.' The exciting announcement of getting through to the 2015 finals comes a year after Lee was presented with the Franchisee of the Year Award at the Signs Express Convention. So we can expect to see great things from Lee as he continues to expand the franchise and build on the momentum he has created in the last two years. The BFA is an organisation, formed to act in the interests of the franchise industry by assessing and accrediting franchising companies. Franchisors and professional advisors must put themselves forward to the BFA to be tested against its strict and extensive criteria. Signs Express is a proud member of both the BFA and the IFA (Irish Franchise Association). The award that Lee has been nominated for will recognise the services that Signs Express (Manchester) offers to the B2B sector. The judges are searching for a franchisee who can demonstrate how they have leveraged their relationships and expertise to create a profitable business that delivers high-quality service, products and savings to their clients and therefore contributes to the wider good of their network – a feat that Lee is well prepared for. For more information about the BFA and the up and coming awards please visit thebfa.org to find out more about the UK and Ireland's largest sign company, visit signsexpress.co.uk. We'd like to take this opportunity to wish all of the finalists best of luck in the awards.

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