Ray Titus, CEO United Franchise Group


Aug 19, 2014

As CEO of United Franchise Group, Ray Titus has built a $500 million dollar franchising company in 30 years, growing to 1,400 franchise locations in more than 60 countries. 

United Franchise Group brands include SIGNARAMA, EmbroidMe, SuperGreen Solutions, Transworld Business Advisors and Plan Ahead Events. The UFG Brands have received numerous prestigious awards, including the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Presidential “E” Award for Export Excellence, the first franchise to ever receive this recognition. Ray was also named Ernst & Young’s Florida Entrepreneur of the Year and the 2007 Counselor International Person of the Year, among many other honors.  Ray is committed to giving back to both the franchising community and world community with knowledge and resources.

Please answer the following questions:

1.      Tell us about the United Franchise Group concept.

The United Franchise Group is the global leader for Entrepreneurs, consisting of a number of successful business-to-business brands and franchise development services. The company includes franchise industry giants SIGNARAMA, the world’s largest sign franchise; EmbroidMe, the world’s largest embroidery & promotional products franchise; Plan Ahead Events, the world’s largest full-service event management company; Transworld Business Advisors, a business brokerage and franchise development services firm; and the latest retail franchise, SuperGreen Solutions, a premium one-stop shop for all your energy efficient needs.   UFG also offers a unique range of development services that assist other franchise companies from conception to international expansion.

The talented team behind United Franchise Group, led by President Ray Titus, has over thirty years of franchising experience. Their expertise is proven time and time again in the success of the brands they have worked to create. All of the UFG franchise brands have been awarded by Entrepreneur Magazine as the leaders in their industries. SIGNARAMA was honored by the former President of the United States, George W. Bush, with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s

Presidential “E” Award for Export Excellence, the first franchisor to ever receive this recognition. Through our service companies, World Franchisors and Franchise

Greenhouse, we have helped countless franchise systems expand both in the U.S. and around the world. All of this helps to solidify UFG’s position as the world’s leading franchise authority.

Ray has led United Franchise Group’s affiliated companies to phenomenal growth with nearly 1400 units in more than 60 countries. The United Franchise

Group corporate headquarters is in West Palm Beach Florida.  We also have a corporate office in Australia and offer exceptional support to the remaining countries around the world. This extraordinary global growth has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as various franchise and trade organizations. Signarama was ranked #28 in Franchise Direct’s Top 100 Global award and EmbroidMe was ranked #39.

2.      How and when did you become involved with United Franchise Group?

We’ve come a long way since the small sign shop I started in Farmingdale, NY in 1986 after I left the family printing business to strike out on my own. Today, it’s the loyalty and hard work of our people that has led to the success of United Franchise Group (UFG). With 150 employees and approximately 1,400 franchises, UFG generate revenues approaching one billion dollars. 

I credit my father, the late Roy Titus and founder of Minuteman Press International, for my foray into franchising. Through his influence, we grew from a single print store into the United Franchise Group, a successful system of B2B franchise brands and development services.

Thankfully our vision for growth has led all of these brands to tremendous success and provided small business ownership and job creation across the world.    

3.      What are some of the advantages in being a United Franchise Group franchisee?

Our extraordinary success comes as the result of a solid foundation in franchising with a team that excels and has a passion for what they do. Being a part of the UFG business model offers extensive benefits that simply can’t be found anyplace else. It starts with a turnkey solution for those who want to build a solid business and future while maintaining a balanced quality of life. Achieving that balance is possible because of the system’s established track record and proven procedures for operation. As a franchisee, you receive assistance with site selection and assistance with the financing process to determine which of the UFG partnership lending programs is right for you. 

If you want the best training, look no further than the opportunity provided by United Franchise Group. You’ll travel to the Global Headquarters in West Palm Beach, Florida to attend a comprehensive, hands-on school, geared toward individuals with no prior experience or industry knowledge. This extensive education includes everything you need to know to run a business and the industry knowledge you will need to succeed. 

But it doesn’t end there. Your education continues back in your location with on-site technical and marketing training to make sure you’re ready to apply what you learned in the classroom to real-life situations right in your town. One of our local field representatives will provide one-on-one assistance on how to promote and develop your business. That same person, along with others, will always be able to support you with answers to any questions you may encounter as your business grows. UFG also provides ongoing educational opportunities for franchisees and their staff members through regional meetings and the World Expo. Our proprietary online educational program ensures that you will always be able to benefit from industry updates and technological advancements without having to return for in-person training. 

The United Franchise Group brands are known throughout the world for providing outstanding products and services along with exemplary customer service. Living up to this reputation means building on a powerful brand awareness that every franchisee uses as a foundation for their business on a local level. Each franchisee learns the keys to success, which have been fine-tuned over 25 years, and each is given all the marketing tools they need to share those messages.

A full in-house marketing team is dedicated to providing all the print and digital materials needed to build each franchisee’s local business, generate new customers and increase repeat business.  The team works closely with advertising fund representatives to ensure the greatest synergies among marketing opportunities. The marketing experts are highly skilled in creating local marketing opportunities as well as online exposure to drive traffic to each location’s website.  Online marketing specialists work directly with the largest search engines to capitalize on UFG’s strength in numbers so each franchisee gets the greatest online exposure possible. 

Staying ahead of the technology curve is critically important in today’s world, and no one does it better than United Franchise Group. Technological advancements extend beyond marketing and to various brand-specific applications including cloud-based Point of Sale systems for multiple brands and proprietary systems to manage and produce inventory. Signarama is the first sign franchise to offer online ordering, allowing customers to fully design and order signs from the website, anytime. The online technology team works with the R&D department to ensure that both are capitalizing on all advancements that could benefit franchisees.

4.      Who is your ideal franchisee

Our franchisees come from all walks of life and a wide variety of businesses.  But the ideal candidate has one simple trait: A passion to succeed.  Our brands are all turn-key solutions for the person who wants to realize the entrepreneur dream of business ownership, wants to work for themselves and have a balanced quality of life.  Our training and support is so extensive, we can teach the right person anything they need to know to run a UFG business. 

5.      Tell us a little about the United Franchise Group Market?

United Franchise Group helps entrepreneurs into business with one of its award winning franchise brands, but also knows that the franchisee must build the business right in their own communities, helping other nearby business owners in the process.

All of the UFG brands are focused on making a positive business impact in their local hometowns. The tagline for the oldest brand, Signarama, recently changed to “The way to grow your business” to reflect its focus on advertising, marketing and branding solutions that can benefit local entrepreneurs. EmbroidMe is known as a “Promotional Marketing Partner” that helps its customers to expand their business base. From event planning to energy solutions to business brokerage, United Franchise Group’s brands help individuals attain their dreams of owning their own business.

The market for franchise growth is certainly strong.  What industry still creates 1 out of 8 jobs? What industry creates nearly 18 million jobs? What industry is directly and indirectly responsible for $2.8 trillion in economic impact? It’s franchising. 

As a franchisor, I understand that we are building local businesses, one opportunity at a time. Not only do we make an extraordinary impact on our franchisees lives, but also on the lives of their employees, their customers and their communities. That is the thing with franchising; the business touches so many people beyond who signs the franchise agreement and that is a responsibility that United Franchise Group and I have never taken lightly.

I am extremely proud of the fact that we have brought small business ownership and the micro-economic impact that it makes at the local level to franchisees in nearly 1,400 units across more than 60 countries, and the market is ripe for continued growth.

6.      What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

I’ve established a mission statement and set of core values to guide the direction of our company to keep us on track and ensure that we continue to benefit from lessons learned.  All of our employees know those guiding principles, and that’s one lesson I’ve learned… to make sure your team knows the direction you are going in and supports that direction at all times.  We proudly display the mission statement’s words in our lobby:  We have one customer: The franchisee.  When they are successful, we are successful.”  This is a daily reminder of where our focus needs to be.

During the economic downturn in 2008 we had to create a stronger business moving forward, with detailed strategic planning that focused on improving profitability and boosting sales.  We worked on getting better pricing for our products, being as efficient as possible with our resources, evaluating our talent.  That strategy worked.  We have emerged stronger than before with tremendous growth. 

7.      Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?

My first mentor was my dad.  My eighth-grade school paper was about how to start a franchise company because of his influence.  I know I would not be anywhere near where I am today if it hadn’t been for him.  So, he was the first one, and he introduced me to my second one, which was Gary Rockwell, who worked for my dad for 40 years.  From my standpoint, the next one would be J.J. Prendamano.  He is my father-in-law and has worked here for 25 years.  For me to have him as a mentor, as a helper and as an employee has just been incredible.

8.      What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

Do your homework and make a serious evaluation of the lifestyle you want.  If you don’t want to work nights and weekends, then you should aim for a B2B franchise that offers a higher quality of life.  When someone is considering one of our franchises, we make sure they get the chance to speak to many existing franchisees and visit local stores. This way you get firsthand knowledge of the details of the business.  We also invite prospects to attend a Discovery Day tour of our global headquarters in West Palm Beach, Fl so you can meet personally with our executives and have all of your questions answered.  This is a vital part of the process and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.

9.      In your opinion, why do you think that United Franchise Group would be a great opportunity for someone?

United Franchise Group a proven track record for success, a vision for growth, outstanding training and exemplary support.  These are things that set our brands apart from the rest.  We are recognized as industry leaders because we know what it takes to provide world class support and leadership.  I hope you will stop by any one of our booths here at the Expo and let us show you why you consider one of our opportunities.  You can also read more about our brands by visiting: www.unitedfranchisegroup.com.