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Fastsigns CEO Catherine Monson: Five Traits to a Successful Career

One of them said, "Your marketing -- it's too basic. Why don't you let us customize it?" Well, we have two new marketing programs. One is, "On your behalf or we do it for you," and the other is, "Do it yourself where you can completely customize every message." That employee didn't know.

Another employee said, "Why do all the websites for all the Fastsigns have to look the same?" Well, they don't. Our website infrastructure is set up with huge customization capabilities, but that particular franchisee chose not to use it and just go to the default website.

So starting right the week after "Undercover Boss," now every time we send a communication to our franchisees, we also send it to every employee e-mail address we have.

We're starting to see employees understanding better, knowing more, using our tools more.

The other one, as I was three floors up, outdoors on a lift on a cold windy day in Phoenix, installing an exterior sign ... I learned from the franchisee I was working with that he had to learn everything about exterior large sign projects on his own. And I came back to the home office and that was true. We did not have any training on what's involved in large exterior sign projects and so we've now hired a gentleman who has 25 years in the exterior signs industry and in January we're going to be giving to all of our franchisees a detailed manual, videotapes and a lot of training seminars on that at our convention. So those were two great business lessons.

Now what did I learn personally? I learned that maybe I need to take a little more time for Catherine and not be such a workaholic. Have I implemented that? Not so much.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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