10 Rules for Coaching Your Team to Greatness

A good boss should be more like a coach. Here’s why — and how to coach your team to greatness.

hen my team talks about their favorite times at work, they often bring up United Franchise Group’s World Expo, a conference for employees, executives and franchise owners. It’s three grueling days of workshops, speakers and a trade show; the team is up at 6:00 a.m. each day and usually works at events well past midnight. As their leader, I’m right there with them, and I expect myself to work as hard as they do.

That’s what it takes to be the boss, whether you’re leading other people or managing a team of one (yourself). Whatever you ask of those under you, you have to be willing to do the same. You cannot just stand on the sidelines giving orders. You must get into the arena with the rest of the team.

If that sounds more like being a coach than a boss, it is. A good boss should be more like a coach; it’s a much better mentality than the old-time dictatorial model, especially with the next generation coming up. It shows everyone that you are in it together. The coach is a guide who’s been where the team is now and by sharing their experience and knowledge, gains their respect and leads them to greatness.

I think I accomplish this with a coaching style that is demanding but fair. I expect everyone to give 100%, and in return, I give 100%. But it’s not just a grind; I try to add fun to the work while keeping everyone focused on goals and company achievement. We want a fun, rewarding place that recognizes success often.

Being your own boss is exactly the same, but in smaller businesses, holding yourself accountable can be hard. You still must do it every day — because if you don’t, who will?

Here are 10 rules for coaching your team to greatness.

1. Lead by example in all you do

I learned this from my father, Roy Titus, the best boss I ever had. He had such a high level of loyalty from employees that he earned over a long period of time managing them. He was a great leader of people, leading by example with a strong work ethic and in treating people with respect.

2. Be positive in all circumstances

It always starts with the leader, the boss or the coach showing a positive attitude and then moves to everyone else. Being a positive force for our company, employees and franchisees is what I do every day. Even when challenges arise, the message should always be that we can do it and will do it cheerfully.

3. Be fair in all dealings so everyone will know you’ll be fair with them

If you want to get respect, you have to give it first — and it starts with how you treat the people you’re leading. They must feel valued for what they contribute and rewarded for achievement.

This also means calling people out when they are negative or lagging behind. Make sure your people know they’ll be treated with the same fairness in whatever they do.

4. Be a great listener, and ask questions before giving any directions

Make sure you’re getting all the information you need before starting a project or making a major decision. It’s okay to look like you don’t know everything, but blundering into a situation you haven’t examined carefully will surely give people that impression! Don’t forget the most important question: “Is there anything else I need to know?”

5. Communicate what you want and expect

It would be nice if your team could read your mind and just do what you want without being told, but no team is that good. If you want your wishes to be carried out, people have to know what they are. Be sure people feel free to ask questions if they need more clarity.

6. Be honest in your life

It’s one of those values you can’t expect to see in your team if you don’t practice it yourself, and it goes beyond your leadership in the company. If you are not being honest with your family and your community, your ethics at work will not count.

7. Become a lifelong learner

Education must never stop, whether it’s keeping up with trends in your industry or learning a new language. You don’t have to earn multiple academic degrees; reading books, attending lectures or just showing curiosity in daily life will exercise your intellect.

8. Always look for a better way forward

What works today may not work tomorrow, and “that’s the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t work on any day. Look for ways to improve your products and processes and be open to new ideas — from anyone, anywhere.

9. Embrace change, especially technology

The pace of change in technology can be breathtaking, and resisting it is not only futile but can also be harmful. Stay open to new technology and informed about what’s coming. Your attitude here can be a big factor in how your millennial employees see you.

10. Take one for the team

Lead with the attitude that nothing is ever too small (or big) for you to do, and make sure your team knows it. From helping to pack up your booth after a trade show to making a major presentation at an industry event, show them they can do it because you’ve done it too.

Creating a team culture is something you must work on every day, every week and all year long. Make sure your entire team knows you came here to win, inspire them to score and reward them for every point they make.

7 Ways to Maximize Mentor Relationships in Business

A solid mentoring program can be the backbone of any company if it is done right. Here are seven ways to ensure yours is effective.

Amentor is a valuable teacher for a company’s emerging talent, but in four decades of coaching sharp business-minded younger people, I’ve often been surprised at how much they have taught me. You really have to know your stuff when you teach someone. Mentoring has kept my skills sharp, and working so intensively with young team members has helped me keep up with new developments in my industry.

A solid mentoring program can be the backbone of any company if it is done right. It should be a give-and-take relationship that’s about knowledge, not status, with honest feedback that goes both ways. And as I’ve found, it has rewards for both mentor and protégé.

The rewards don’t always come from teaching job or career skills. My most memorable experience as a mentor began when I learned an employee was struggling with a drug and alcohol addiction. I worked with him and his wife to encourage admitting himself into a rehabilitation center for one year. It helped him get back on the right track, and he returned to work better than ever.

I’ve also been mentored by some incredibly talented people. Three in particular come to mind: my father, franchising legend Roy Titus; his long-term employee, Gary Rockwell; and my father-in-law, J.J. Prendamano, who was General Manager at United Franchise Group (UFG) for many years. They all taught me the value of hard work and were unique in their ability to get things done and keep moving forward in good times and bad; I’ve often drawn on their examples.

J.J. left his mark on UFG in many ways, including starting our mentor program over 25 years ago which continues to this day. Here are some lessons we’ve learned in that time.

1. Don’t let status define the mentorship

The mentor is usually more experienced than the protégé, but being higher up in the organization doesn’t automatically make someone an expert in everything. As General Manager, J.J. reported to me, but I welcomed him sharing his extensive knowledge. Everyone can be an expert in something, and protocol should never stop you from sharing it with another.

2. Approach a potential mentor tactfully, respectfully and clearly

Start by expressing your admiration for their work or achievements and sharing how their experience aligns with your aspirations. Then, communicate what you hope to gain from the mentorship, and assure them you can commit the necessary time and energy. Highlight how you can contribute to the objectives, even if it’s just by bringing a fresh perspective.

3. Look for promise and possibility in a protégé

Approach them and tell them your opinion of the opportunities you see. Share insights or experiences that could benefit them and gauge their interest in mentorship. Be mindful of their autonomy, and ensure the mentorship would be welcomed and beneficial from their perspective. People either have thin skin or thick skin, so when sharing constructive criticism, choose your words and tone wisely.

4. Set expectations and rules right from the start

What is each person looking for in this relationship? What career advancement is the protégé looking for, and can they expect to achieve it? Work out each person’s responsibilities to each other and the relationship, and establish clear rules. Don’t assume anything, especially regarding off-limit subjects or behaviors.

5. Have an agenda, but let the meeting go where it needs to go

At UFG, we believe in formal meetings with an agenda and always in a conference room or out for lunch, including when mentors and protégés get together. Know the purpose of your session, and you’ll get more done. Don’t be afraid to deviate; good ideas can pop up at the most unexpected times. Just be sure the unplanned business is relevant and doesn’t derail the planned business.

6. Ask a lot of questions

This is important for both mentor and protégé. The protégé should be filled with questions about the subjects you explore and should never be afraid to ask them. The mentor should ask questions that challenge the protégé’s assumptions and help them approach problems creatively. “Are you sure about that? How do you know? What if the situation changes?”

7. Be willing to share your mistakes

Mentors must be willing to share experiences, even if it makes them look bad (“Learn from my mistakes”), so humility is essential — so is trust. To ensure an open dialogue, agree that “What happens in our mentor meetings stays in our mentor meetings.”

Mentoring really can be the core or backbone of any company if it is done right. Having the more experienced employees pass on great nuggets they’ve learned over the years to the newbies (protégé) is more valuable than anything else you could do.

Not all mentorships work out, and that’s okay. If the mentorship isn’t fulfilling its intended purpose, it’s best to have an open and honest conversation about it. Thank your mentor for their time and guidance, but express that you feel the relationship might not best fit your current needs. This approach should also apply if you’re a mentor who feels the relationship doesn’t benefit your mentee. Maintaining professionalism and respect throughout this process is important, as you never know when your paths may cross again.

Mentoring has enabled me to exercise one of my greatest passions, helping people become successful. I hope I’ll be remembered as a positive force for good in helping others succeed by sharing my experiences and knowledge. Thanks to the rising stars I’ve worked with throughout my career, mentoring has also left its mark on me.

7 things to look for in a business partner

Here are seven things to look for when seeking a potential business partner.

There are numerous benefits of going into business with a partner: increased skills and experience, more capital, greater borrowing options for financing, and potential income-splitting or pass-through tax advantages. It can be extremely rewarding.

I can personally attest to this. My first business partner was my father, Roy Titus. We joined forces in 1986 to open the first Signarama. A franchising icon in his own right, my father’s guidance and support were invaluable to me and helped solidify the foundation of my company, which now spans three generations. I was fortunate to partner with someone I respected greatly and with whom I had shared a lifetime of experiences.

Throughout my years in business, I have formed many other partnerships and have learned a lot from the successes we have had together. To me, choosing the right business partner is arguably just as important as choosing the right life partner—especially when you consider the statistics. Research suggests that up to 70% of partnerships fail to deliver their intended outcomes—a staggering rate that reinforces the importance of choosing your partner wisely.

Here’s what to look for when seeking a potential business partner:



The financial benefits of going into business with a partner are undeniably attractive, but it is important to not let that misguide you. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the excitement, the possibilities, and even a person’s expertise.

When choosing a business partner, don’t get too distracted by the superficial. It’s important to assess them thoroughly and do the same kind of due diligence as you would before hiring an employee.

To discern if a potential business partner’s core values align with your own, take time to sit down and define your non-negotiables in business. These can be things like honesty, trustworthiness, transparency, and loyalty.



In addition to shared core values, having shared goals is fundamental to the success of any venture between partners. These should be defined and agreed upon before any official agreement is finalized to prevent discrepancies and delays—whether you’re in a startup or growth period. Aligning on goals ensures you and your partner are on the same page and can move forward together as allies.

A piece of advice I’d like to impart is that everyone has a limit to their memories, so it’s always good business to memorialize what’s been agreed to. Goals always need to be written down and kept safe so they can be revisited at any time. Documenting what you agree on can avoid a lot of future misinterpretations and arguments, especially once the business starts taking off.



Just like in any relationship, clear communication in a business partnership is key. Having shared goals is important, but maintaining strong communication with each other is how you achieve them.

When evaluating potential business partners, see how your communication flows—you both should feel comfortable expressing your needs and wants, and you should feel like you’re being understood and listened to.

If you’re feeling apprehensive to speak up or can’t quite seem to land on the same page, don’t ignore the red flags. Consider another partnership.



Another potential benefit of having a business partner is enhanced work-life balance. A good partner can lighten the load, alleviate stress, and allow you to take worry-free time off. However, if you choose the wrong partner, it can easily be the opposite.

Therefore, ensuring your partner has a strong work ethic is vital to a fulfilling and mutually beneficial relationship. If you feel like you must constantly pick up their slack, it can lead to anger and resentment in the relationship. This can have detrimental effects and ultimately tank morale. It’s a domino effect that can be avoided with objective vetting.



Agility and adaptability are two traits that used to be “nice to have,” but after the past couple of years have landed solidly on the “must-have” list. They are not only important for partners, but for all businesspeople today. The world is changing rapidly, and the faster we embrace change, the better.

It’s important to learn if your potential partner possesses these traits, as well as to measure their willingness to be nimble when necessary. Are you and your partner willing to bend a little to find common ground?



A good partner is always looking forward to a better future. They should be able to identify and take advantage of the silver linings in whatever challenges or circumstances come up. They should always be ready and able to turn lemons into lemonade. Of course, every business and partnership will have its differences—it’s how you get through them that will determine the ultimate success of your partnership. Are you both able to solve problems together, find resolutions to your differences, and keep moving for your business?



Mindset is huge in business. Countless studies have shown that having a positive mindset and surrounding yourself with those who share the same attitude increases mood and motivation, which can directly play into productivity and morale.

Who doesn’t want a business partner who makes a concerted effort to bring positive energy into work every single day? Being able to rely on each other to bring your best selves to work is a game changer. And by sharing the belief that people should prioritize spending more time on their strengths than on their weaknesses, everyone benefits.

Better yet, if they also share your conviction that you’re collectively working not just for yourself but for the benefit of the next generation, that will guide your business and your partnership into the future.

6 Critical Steps for Buying a Business

If you’ve decided to express your entrepreneurial spirit by owning a company, here’s a checklist for managing the process.

Every day, millions of Americans pursue the dream of owning their own business.

Ownership brings the freedom to make the decisions about how a company is run, which can pay off in far greater financial rewards than a regular paycheck. Best of all, there’s a sense of pride that comes from building a legacy that can be passed on to others.

That said, the rewards come with risk. Being the owner of a company is a high-pressure position. A paycheck is steady and reliable, but profits often are not. Making the wrong decisions can leave you with nothing to pass on (or something that no one wants).

Purchasing an existing business can be the ideal strategy to avoid becoming an owner who shuts down their business in the first year. It’s a complex process — the most complicated purchase you may ever undertake. The list of stakeholders and concerns you must address is long — customers, employees, equipment and inventory, to name just a few.

Plan to spend several months shopping for the right business, from researching the market, negotiating with the seller and eventually closing on the purchase itself.

If you’ve decided to buy a company that is already in existence, here’s a checklist for managing the process.

1. Decide what kind of business you want

Do you want an independent business or a franchise? Buying a franchise offers a proven model with plenty of support and a network of resources. With an independent company, you’re free to make decisions on your own — which might suit you better if you prefer to go it alone.

If you’re unsure, decide on what industry you may want to enter. What are you good at? Do you have any expert skills that would be useful in a business? How will you manage your time?

2. Assemble your team

You’ll need a crew of experts to handle the complicated financial and legal issues that are part of the purchasing process. You’ll need an attorney and an accountant, and when buying an independent business, you should also work with a business broker. The broker will help you locate and vet potential buyers. With solid knowledge of the market and the industry you’re getting into, they’re a crucial guide, even for experienced business owners.

No matter how much more your team may know about the purchasing process, never forget that you’re in charge. The team works for you, and while they’ll usually give you good advice, the decisions are yours to make. It’s your name that’ll be going on the door and your money that’s being risked.

3. Search for available businesses

You won’t find a “for sale” sign outside of a business worth buying. Just like the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that realtors use, there are a number of reliable sources you can turn to when you’re looking to buy a business.

The website BizBuySell is a trusted directory of available companies, you can find expert guidance at Transworld Businesses Advisors, and trade shows are another fertile source of prospects.

4. Secure financing

Don’t listen to anyone who says that plunging your life savings into a business means you’re admirably devoted to its success.

A small business loan or other financing is the smarter way to go, especially for hard assets (equipment, buildout, etc.) If you get funding from investors, be clear on how they will be involved, what their share of revenue and expenses will be and other issues your accountant and attorney will work out with you.

5. Close on the sale

Huddle with your team before closing to make sure everyone understands the sale. Be clear on what you’ll be walking into, like employee and vendor contracts, inventory, accounts receivable and the state of the lease (if there is one).

Is there an opportunity to renegotiate the lease with the property owner? Will the seller stay in the business to help you transition to total management, or do they expect to hand you the keys and wish you luck on their way out the door?

Once again, this is where you’ll be glad you’re working with an accountant and an attorney.

6. Step into your office

Your sale is complete, but the purchase is not done. Your first 30 days in the business should be a time of transitioning into ownership.

You should be getting to know your employees and how they do things, as well as giving them an opportunity to get to know and trust you. Clean the space, interview employees, and listen to what they tell you. Don’t make any quick changes until after the first month.

Don’t forget one of the best parts of the post-closing process: Celebrate! Take time to reflect and enjoy all that you’ve done to make this dream come true.

Creating An Exit Strategy For Your Small To Medium Sized Business

Starting a business is a dream come true for many entrepreneurs; however, when it comes to exiting it, most are unprepared. No matter how successful your business is, having an exit plan is crucial for all business owners.

An exit strategy defines how you will leave your business and gives you a clear roadmap of what steps you need to take to ensure a successful transition.

In speaking with Jessica Fialkovich, CEO of Exit Factor, a business consulting firm specializing in succession planning for small to mid-sized companies, she discussed how you can have a successful exit strategy that increases profit.

The deadliest mistake to kill a business sale is a lack of proper planning. When selling a business, there are countless factors to consider. Without a solid plan in place, potential buyers will quickly lose interest, and you risk compromising the value of your business.

Ensuring you have a well-rounded strategy that addresses everything from financial documents to marketing plans is essential to achieving a successful sale. Take the time to do the necessary research and create a comprehensive plan that highlights your business’s strengths and potential. Investing the effort upfront will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.

As a seller, it’s essential to educate yourself on the ins and outs of the process, from valuing your business to negotiating with potential buyers. You can position yourself for a successful and profitable transition with the right knowledge and preparation. The decision to sell your business is big, so take the time to weigh your options and make an informed choice that aligns with your goals and aspirations.

An exit strategy gives you a clear goal and timeline for your business, which can help you to stay focused and make the right decisions.

Timing is a crucial factor in the success of your exit strategy. It would be best to determine when you want to exit your business, whether immediately, short-term, or long-term. You also need to consider the value of your business and how it will change over time.

As a business owner, you need to stay updated on market trends and changes that may impact the value of your business. Fialkovich notes that selling your business can take up to a year, so be mindful of that.

Preparing your business for an exit strategy

To ensure a smooth and successful exit strategy, you need to prepare your business early enough. This includes documenting all important information about your business, such as financial statements, contracts, employee information, and legal documents.

You should also create a list of potential buyers or interested parties and ensure that you have a qualified legal and financial team to guide you through the process. Be sure to continue to run your business better than ever before.

The bottom line is that creating an exit strategy for your small to medium-sized business is essential for a smooth transition and to maximize the value of your business. It provides a clear roadmap of how you will exit your business and what steps you need to take to ensure a successful transition. Start planning your exit strategy today to ensure you receive maximum benefits from your business.