by UFG | May 24, 2023 | News
You may be doing business in another country, and there may be some local customs that differ from what is done in the States, but it’s still your brand, and it still needs to be recognizable abroad.
That moment when you realize you’re ready to take your business international is exciting, and it’s even more rewarding when you see its expansion succeed.
United Franchise Group is in more than 60 countries and we continue to grow our global footprint. Our international presence is solid enough that we can offer expertise to new and potential franchise owners about operating in their own countries. One reason we’ve been so successful is that we’ve always said, “If you want to grow, you have to go.” We believe in getting to know our global markets in a genuine way, by going and spending time in the countries we want to grow in. It’s the best, most revealing kind of research.
Here are three tips to help get you started on your international expansion journey.
1. VISIT THE COUNTRY IN PERSON
Traditional market reporting and analysis are valuable, butstatistics won’t tell the whole story. Go beyond the numbers and spend time in the country you’re considering. You should visit your target country and keep going back until you meet and get to know the people in your industry, from vendors and suppliers to competitors. It’s vitally important to understand the local market and culture and how your brand will fit into it.
In my experience, one to three visits aren’t enough. Your team should visit regularly, and your owner or CEO should go multiple times to show they are in favor of the expansion. For reference, I have visited Australia alone 51 times, and I’d like to think that has had something to do with our success down under.
To put this into perspective, one of our franchise brands, Transworld Business Advisors, recently expanded to new countries in 2021 and 2022. The business climate was right in both cases, and we met with the right local leaders to establish Transworld in the Middle East and the Caribbean. We engaged with leaders in person, visited both areas, asked the right questions, and listened carefully.
In the Transworld expansions, we didn’t just open global branches—we formed new companies in their home countries. We believe in operating separate corporations, with even a separate ownership team. It’s an approach that makes sense for us, but it may not work for everyone.
2. UNDERSTAND CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC DIFFERENCES
Visiting in person can also give you a better sense of the unwritten rules that every culture lives by. The cultural and economic differences will be big factors in how you succeed or fail—perhaps even more than business issues you are prepared to handle.
Fixing a broken supply chain across nations is a piece of cake compared to settling cultural clashes that result from misunderstandings. If your company has a relaxed attitude toward working hours, how will you manage in a culture where executives routinely work overtime? If you’re expanding to a European country where employees often get more vacation time than Americans take, can you adjust?
When you visit your chosen country, be sure to devote a substantial amount of time to understanding these cultural differences. Observe things like how teams interact with each other, what workflow practices they follow, and how their days begin and end. And don’t be afraid to just ask how things are done. You won’t lose points for asking obvious questions; you’ll probably earn a few for showing you aren’t just a foreign team coming in to impose your ways on them and that you care enough to ask how you can fit in. Lastly, attending a sporting event in the country can give you more insight into the masses.
3. HAVE A SOLID LEADER TO START IT OFF
Whether that’s a local expert or someone from your home office, be sure they have the skills and experience to take your team and your company to the next level of success.
Like most other factors in an international expansion, the team leader you choose depends on your company’s needs. Hiring someone from your international location can help you navigate the local challenges, but I also believe in relocating a key domestic employee to the country to bring your company culture to the business there. You need someone who thoroughly understands your business and can guide the local team in representing your brand and staying faithful to it.
You may be doing business in another country, and there may be some local customs that differ from what is done in the States, but it’s still your brand, and it still needs to be recognizable abroad. No matter what language they speak when selling your brand, remember that your company name, mission, and values haven’t changed. While you want to learn the country culture you are moving into, be sure you don’t lose the company culture that made you successful in the first place.
by UFG | Apr 26, 2023 | News
After its most successful year in company history, United Franchise Group is recognized in South Florida as a leader in franchising and the business community.
United Franchise Group (UFG) is making waves in the South Florida business community, having recently been named the 2023 South Florida Business Journal’s Business of the Year. This prestigious award recognizes the company’s exceptional performance and unparalleled commitment to family values, franchisee success, and corporate social responsibility.
UFG’s dedication to creating a positive and empowering work environment for its employees and franchise owners is one of the many reasons why the company is a leader in the franchising industry. With nearly 15 employees working for them for over 20 years, and 15 second-generation employees, UFG’s unique culture has resulted in a loyal and passionate team.
The company’s core values, which include “Keep growing – sales first,” “Positive attitude, enthusiasm, and passion for the company,” and “Family-owned company that is like a family,” and its mission statement “We have one customer, our franchisee. When they are successful, we are successful.” have helped UFG stand out in the competitive franchising industry.
“United Franchise Group is not just a business – we’re a family, and that’s what sets us apart,” said Ray Titus, who founded the company with his father, Roy Titus. Since its inception, Ray has brought in his sons and nephews to carry on the family legacy, who successfully led various brands within the organization. He has instilled the same passion and values in their personal and professional development, ensuring a continued commitment to creating a positive and empowering work environment for employees and franchisees. By providing the necessary tools, resources, and support, Ray and his team help individuals within the company achieve their full potential through continued education and mentor programs.
In recent years, UFG has pursued specific initiatives that have positively impacted franchisee success, including the addition of Graze Craze and Office Evolution to its family of affiliated brands. These new franchise concepts have led to an increase in UFG’s global portfolio and a wider range of options for potential franchisees, allowing them to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams with UFG’s unparalleled support and resources.
UFG’s commitment to family values extends beyond its own family, significantly impacting the broader community. Since opening its first store in 1986, the company has contributed to local economies by promoting entrepreneurship, stimulating growth, and creating jobs through franchising. UFG has developed a global network of franchising industry experts, best-in-class resources, and unparalleled support that have helped thousands of people thrive in franchise ownership. Additionally, UFG is passionate about educating the youth to become future entrepreneurs through the Titus Center for Franchising. These efforts and their dedication to a positive work environment reflect UFG’s unwavering commitment to enhancing lives and fostering success across the communities they serve.
As UFG continues to grow, the company remains committed to its core principles and providing franchisees with the support they need to succeed. UFG’s recognition as South Florida Business Journal’s Business of the Year is a testament to the company’s exceptional performance. The local business community can look forward to seeing more exciting developments from UFG in the future.
by UFG | Apr 6, 2023 | News
Ray Titus is CEO of United Franchise Group (UFG), a global leader for entrepreneurs with brands in over 1,600 locations in 80 countries.
In over 30 years of being in the business of selling—whether it is selling ideas, insights, expertise, products, businesses or services—I have found that there are three attributes that are the bedrock of successful sales: enthusiasm, conviction and control (ECC). On top of that, there is one important aspect to keep in mind for today: embracing change.
Enthusiasm: Believing In What You’re Selling
Enthusiasm is vital for a business in selling its products and services. It trumps every other trait. Why?
If you’re not enthusiastic about your product or service, what do you think your prospect thinks? Humans are energetic beings; we can pick up on energy even when it’s not being outwardly expressed.
Have you ever walked into a room and sensed tension right away? Or could you tell someone was being ingenuine from the way they smiled at you? That said, people can feel if you’re just going through the motions or trying to appear excited when you’re not.
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If you want people to be willing to move to the next step in your sales process, you must be genuinely enthusiastic about it yourself.
Enthusiasm is shown through things like eye contact, a good handshake, voice inflection, laughing and not having your arms folded. It’s all about engagement with the prospect.
Because, at the end of the day, you are selling yourself, so it comes down to you and how effectively you pass that enthusiasm on to others.
Conviction: Being Assured And Confident
If you don’t honestly believe in your product or service, then you shouldn’t be selling it. People will quickly see through a lack of conviction.
We all want to be validated that we are making the right decisions. Giving and receiving assurance is one of the most important exchanges in the selling process. To be a successful seller, you must have the conviction to communicate confidently, overcome objections and reinforce good decisions. This leads to building trusting relationships, and it all starts with conviction.
Beneath strong conviction is firm, unwavering belief. You must first believe in the company, product or service you’re selling to have the conviction to offer its inherent value to others proudly.
For example, when I started my company with my father in 1986, I was all in. Yes, it was my own company, but I genuinely believed we offered the best product with the best service out there. My deep-rooted belief and confidence gave me the conviction to share it with others in a secure, unapologetic way. And that conviction helped quickly catapult our brand’s growth.
It’s important to note that showing conviction is not bragging or boasting; it’s confidence and passion.
How can you authentically show conviction? Share why you’re so passionate about what you’re selling. Is it a product or service that you use yourself? Did the company change your life in some way? While stating facts is essential to add credibility to what you’re selling, people tend to be much more connected to personal experiences, stories and testimonials—especially if what you’re selling is something big like a franchise.
Share anecdotes and real-life examples to show them that what you’re saying is true. You can also encourage prospects to talk with their spouse for unbiased input or connect them with other satisfied customers to help validate what you’re telling them.
Control: Managing The Sale
There is a reason for every step of a sales process and why each step must be done in the correct order. Getting ahead of the steps, or skipping steps, is never the shortcut to the sale you think it is. In fact, it is always the long way.
However, keep in mind that “the steps” are not the sale itself but more like a playbook in sports. The prospect deciding to take the next step is what happens when a salesperson does their job properly. Only look to close the deal once your prospect has reached the last step.
Remember, you are doing the selling, so you need to manage the sales process, including not rushing a decision. Being strategic with your follow-up also means you will time it right to ensure all sales process points are covered. This may not be timed precisely when the prospect suggests.
For example, while it is always important to listen to the prospect and respect their wishes if the date they suggest is too far off, I would respond with, “That’s great, but, knowing me, I’ll give you a call after the weekend.”
When it comes time to talk brass tacks, you have to be strong and willing to say “no” if the lead asks for what you consider a nonnegotiable. “No” is not always a bad word in sales if used correctly.
Ultimately, in every successful give-and-take negotiation, all parties walk away with a win.
ECC: The Right Approach For Sales
Remember that changes happen all the time in sales, even in the middle of the process. Be willing to adapt, bob and weave with every sale.
Embracing change has become one of the most critical attributes for any employee, especially salespeople. From utilizing CRMs and databases to understanding how to use Zoom, Teams and DocuSign, technology has become essential for salespeople in 2023. The way the world is changing so fast, salespeople need to keep up or risk being extinct.
That’s why enthusiasm, conviction and control, along with embracing change, are the right formula for selling success; it’s the 30,000-foot overall approach that can help guide every single sale.
by UFG | Apr 4, 2023 | News
Listen to your customers. Commit to learning and understanding their preferences and be open to feedback. Ultimately, you need their buy-in to succeed. Show them that you care by fulfilling their needs, even if it means making changes to your system.
Startups usually start with a small cohort of close colleagues. But what happens when you add a bunch of new people into this close cohort? How do you maintain the company culture? In addition, what is needed to successfully scale a business to increase market share or to increase offerings? How can a small startup grow successfully to a midsize and then large company? To address these questions, we are talking to successful business leaders who can share stories and insights from their experiences about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Scale Your Business”. As a part of this series, we had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Tipton Shonkwiler, President of Accurate Franchising Inc. and Managing Director of the Consulting Division of United Franchise Group.
Tipton Shonkwiler, CFE, serves as President of Accurate Franchising Inc. (AFI), the leading franchise development consulting firm that helps entrepreneurs grow their business through franchising. Additionally, Tipton is also the Managing Director of the Consulting Division of United Franchise Group, home to an affiliated family of brands and consultants, including AFI. With more than three decades of experience in franchising, Tipton is extremely knowledgeable and a credible expert in the various aspects of establishing, growing, and scaling a business — from franchise development, sales and marketing to international master license sales and international brand development. Leaning into this intimate understanding of what a franchisor needs to succeed, Tipton has led AFI through tremendous growth as the company continues to sign deals to develop franchise business models for qualified companies that are scalable and profitable.
Thank you for joining us in this interview series. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?
Istarted my professional journey in Ohio as an investment banker, which is how I was first introduced to franchising. As someone with an innate entrepreneurial spirit, this opened the door to the world of business ownership through franchising, ultimately leading me to receive my Franchise MBA from Nova Southeastern University. Since then, I’ve spent the last 30 years in the franchise industry, serving in various capacities including franchise development, sales and marketing, international master license sales and international brand development, and found my home at United Franchise Group.
You’ve had a remarkable career journey. Can you highlight a key decision in your career that helped you get to where you are today?
I made a concise decision, early on in my franchising career, to work harder than everyone around me. If I wanted to stand out, I knew I needed to accelerate quickly so my managers and peers would trust my commitment and skill. This mindset helped fuel my growth, both personally and professionally, and rapidly built up my credibility within the industry.
What’s the most impactful initiative you’ve led that you’re particularly proud of?
When I came on board as President of Accurate Franchising, company growth was a priority. It was a tall task, but one I was hopeful I could successfully complete if I set focused goals and assembled a strong team to achieve them. With my strategic direction and leadership, our team was able to execute a variety of tactics that led to us tripling the size of the brand. To this day, the impact we made as a result of our efforts remains one of my proudest career accomplishments.
Sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a mistake you’ve made and the lesson you took away from it?
For me, not having the right people in the right seat on the bus at all times is a mistake. No matter how much you like an individual, when they’re not the right person for the job, you must make a change. This situation has come up a couple times throughout my career, when I knew the person in a certain role was not the right fit. Despite realizing it fairly quickly, I let it be, and for way too long. In the end, I wasn’t only doing the company a disservice, but the employee too. I eventually let them go and while that’s never an easy thing to do, it was the right move across the board.
How has mentorship played a role in your career, whether receiving mentorship or offering it to others?
Mentorship was a key component to my growth early on in my career. Having access to someone with such deep knowledge and experience really helped me understand the ins and outs of the franchising industry. I learned so much from asking questions and receiving feedback from an established expert, and I felt lucky that I had the opportunity. Knowing how much mentorship helped me in my career, I make it a point to always be available as a mentor to help my team members and colleagues, who are eager to learn and grow, navigate the waters of their career.
Developing your leadership style takes time and practice. Who do you model your leadership style after? What are some key character traits you try to emulate?
My leadership style has evolved over time but at the core is a foundation I built based on practices I observed from the most effective bosses I’ve had over the years. This is an area that I continue to study, so I incorporate elements from my readings and other materials I come across to ensure my leadership resonates with my employees. One of my favorite books is Straight Line Leadership, which discusses the importance of constantly reviewing — what’s working, what’s not working, what’s changed & what’s next — and it’s become a practice I use daily.
Thank you for sharing that with us. Let’s talk about scaling a business from a small startup to a midsize and then large company. Based on your experience, can you share with our readers the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Scale Your Business”? Please give a story or example for each.
- Leadership must be committed to growth. An all-or-nothing approach. If you’re not all in on growing the business, your goals will be less focused and less attainable, and it will be harder to succeed.
- There needs to be a balanced perspective on both growth and unit economics. Focusing too heavily on one and not the other leads to problems.
- Create brand advocates along the way as you build and grow. From clients and partners to community members and consumers at-large, having an established audience who thinks and speaks highly of your brand will help further any efforts to deepen awareness and expand your company’s presence.
- Take care of your employees early on to retain the best talent. To successfully scale a business, you must have a team that’s as invested as you are. Give them a reason to care and they’ll want to help you succeed.
- Listen to your customers. Commit to learning and understanding their preferences and be open to feedback. Ultimately, you need their buy-in to succeed. Show them that you care by fulfilling their needs, even if it means making changes to your system.
Can you share a few of the mistakes that companies make when they try to scale a business? What would you suggest to address those errors?
Overlooking the importance of infrastructure. If you try to scale your business without the proper systems and procedures in place, you’ll likely be faced with faulty operations and a lack of problem-solving resources that will be unattractive to not only internal team members and customers, but investors that might have been interested in supporting your growth.
Not having the right team in place. Your team is integral to successfully scaling your business, regardless of the level of growth you’re hoping to achieve, so it’s important to have the right people in the right roles prior to beginning the process of scaling.
Omitting any engagement with a consultant or advisor. There’s a tactical art behind scaling a business so recruiting outside help from someone well-versed in this process will ensure your bases are covered and that you’re ready to scale properly and responsibly.
Scaling includes bringing new people into the organization. How can a company preserve its company culture and ethos when new people are brought in?
First, a company needs to clearly establish its culture and ensure its processes and people align with it. When new employees come in, the culture should be communicated from day one, incorporated into any onboarding procedures and exemplified by all managers and existing team members regularly. As a company grows, it’s up to leadership to remain true to its roots and instill those foundational values in all employees.
Many times, a key aspect of scaling your business is scaling your team’s knowledge and internal procedures. What tools or techniques have helped your teams be successful at scaling internally?
One of my go-to techniques to ensure my team remains knowledgeable through any level of change is continued learning — whether it’s through resources I provide them with or on their own. With every new client comes an opportunity to learn, so I encourage my team to lean on their colleagues as resources and to always ask questions. Additionally, I also try to help my team embrace their mistakes because, from my experience, that’s when you learn and grow the most. As they become better equipped to find solutions in the wake of mistake, they also become more confident in their skills and ability to handle any challenge or change.
What software or tools do you recommend to help onboard new hires?
We’ve established a training checklist to help ensure we expose new hires to key aspects of the job from the get-go. Having them jump into these experiences early on also helps establish a proper foundation that you can then build upon over time as they continue learning and growing in their role.
Because of your role, you are a person of significant influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most people, what would that be? You never know what your ideas can trigger.
My movement would be one focused on a relentless approach to timely execution — getting things done and getting them done ahead of or on schedule. When making a hiring decision, I always ask myself, “Can this person execute? Can they execute quickly?” I’ve seen too many people stand in their own way by overthinking, which ends up preventing them from executing. You might have been a rockstar in your past career, earned a laundry list of degrees, and think you’d be the perfect fit for the role but at the end of the day, if you can’t convince me that you’re a confident decision maker and an executer, I’m on to the next.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can visit www.accuratefranchising.com and connect with us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/tiptonshonkwiler/ or www.linkedin.com/company/accurate-franchising/.
This was truly meaningful! Thank you so much for your time and for sharing your expertise!
by UFG | Mar 23, 2023 | News
Participants can learn what their business is worth and take steps to get maximum value
Exit Factor™, a business consulting firm that specializes in succession planning for small to mid-sized companies, announced today the launch of its EF1 Prep to Sell program, designed specifically for businesses that desire to sell in one year or less.
Available for purchase now, EF1 will provide business owners with access to top experts in the industry who can advise on how to resolve financial, administrative, and other issues that may affect the sale. It’s the newest offering in Exit Factor’s suite of services to help owners boost their business’ value by 50% or more.
“We have helped hundreds of experienced business owners maximize their profits at sale with our proven methodology and deep knowledge of the industry,” said Jessica Fialkovich, Founder and President of Exit Factor. “Knowing some business owners have special concerns and need to sell quickly, we decided to launch the EF1 Prep program just for them.”
Exit Factor’s programs develop tailored exit plans that safeguard the long-term value of a business now and in the future and aim to help owners take control of their business by maximizing profit, efficiency, and value from day one, even if a sale isn’t uppermost on the owner’s mind. Participants in Exit Factor’s program also earn back an average $2,700 in exit value for every hour they spend in the program.
In addition to the new EF1 Prep to Sell, Exit Factor programs also include EF2 Value Acceleration to realize up to a 50% increase in value and EF3 Maximization to achieve an increase in value of 50% or more, which have proven to yield immediate results. Within the first year, clients have seen a 25% increase in profit with a 56.7% increase in the value of the business and for those that have decided to sell, they’ve done so at a 100% success rate.
Exit Factor is part of the United Franchise Group (UFG) family of affiliated brands and consultants, giving its clients access to the resources and expertise of a global network and almost four decades of experience in the franchising industry.
For more information about Exit Factor, EF1 and other programs and services, visit www.exitfactor.com.
About Exit Factor
Founded by Jessica Fialkovich, a top expert in the business brokerage industry, Exit Factor™ offers a proven method that helps small to mid-size business owners maximize their company’s value. Through one-on-one consulting services and online programs, the trusted advisors at Exit Factor teach entrepreneurs how to successfully navigate and fully leverage strategies when buying, building, and selling their business. Exit Factor is part of the consulting division within the United Franchise Group™ (UFG) family of brands. For more information, visit www.ExitFactor.com.
About United Franchise Group
Led by CEO Ray Titus, United Franchise Group™ (UFG) is home to an affiliated family of brands and consultants including Accurate Franchising Inc.™, Exit Factor™, FranchiseMart®, and Franchise Real Estate™, as well as the Starpoint Brands™ division consisting of Signarama®, Fully Promoted®, Transworld Business Advisors®, Venture X®, Office Evolution® (OE), Network Lead Exchange™ (NLX), The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill®, and Graze Craze®. UFG affiliated brands include over 1600 franchises in more than 60 countries, with consultants that have helped develop over 350 brands into franchises, in over 80 countries with more than 2500 franchisees. With over three decades in the franchising industry United Franchise Group offers unprecedented leadership and solid business opportunities for entrepreneurs.
by UFG | Mar 7, 2023 | News
Ray Titus is CEO of United Franchise Group (UFG), a global leader for entrepreneurs with brands in over 1,600 locations in 80 countries.
Franchising is a proven model for growing a business, and today is the best time I have personally seen in more than 35 years to consider franchising a business.
Franchising can allow you to rapidly grow and scale your business model. It allows franchisees to benefit from the good work you’ve already done, establishing operations and brand recognition. The franchisee covers the cost of opening their location and turns it into a thriving new business as you focus on growing the brand and securing recurring revenue.
Whether you are curious about ways to scale growth in your business or are already thinking about transforming your business into a franchise opportunity, here are some things to consider.
Determine If Your Business Is Franchise-able
What are you doing that is different or better than other businesses offering similar products or services? Is what you are doing teachable? Can it be replicated? Is your existing business successful?
If you can clearly answer “yes” to these questions, then franchising might be right for you.
Benefits Of Becoming A Franchise Business
Opening additional business locations is a time-consuming process and can take a lot of resources. Franchising can offer a way to grow quickly without depleting resources from existing or original locations.
Converting to a franchise model can be expensive, but so can adding locations. Franchising shifts the terms of the investment because the franchisee takes responsibility for costs associated with opening and operating the new location.
In turn, franchisees save on the costs and the time associated with the initial setup of a business such as operational systems, training materials, manuals, documents and sourcing while also benefiting from marketing collateral and brand recognition.
Since franchisees have made an investment and have a stake in the profits, they are also more likely to stick it out during tough times. As a franchisor, the royalties you receive are a direct reflection of the success of your franchisees. You both have a vested interest in each other’s ongoing success.
Hire A Company To Turn Your Business Into A Franchise
While it’s not required, it is a very good idea to hire a franchising expert to help you. Avoiding one problem could pay for this service. Make sure you hire an expert consultant that understands franchising and has experience running and, best yet, owning a franchise company.
When looking for a company, find one that has been around for more than 10 years and has proven experience in the states you wish to franchise. Check to make sure they have reliable resources for your annual legal disclosure documents. If you want to grow outside of the U.S., find out in advance about their capabilities for international expansion, and choose an advisor that is both well-connected and has proven experience in many countries.
Hire a dedicated manager for the franchising company you create. Pro tip: Make sure to have two LLCs—one for your business and one for your franchising company.
Build And Protect Your Brand
As a franchisor, your most important asset is your brand. Your brand is not just your logo; it’s your culture, your beliefs and your attitude toward your customers.
If you do franchise your business, you’re giving people the ability—and responsibility—to represent your brand. Whether it will be you who screens and selects the franchisees or someone else, it is important to have a rigorous qualification process.
Also, keep in mind that your company will essentially have two very different customers—your franchisees and their customers. Having clear guidelines in place for the use of brand assets as well as consistent messaging internally to support teams and externally to customers, will be a significant change from how your original business operated.
Accelerate Your Business’s Growth Through Franchising
When done right, business growth can be much faster through franchising.
Franchising your business can accelerate expansion and build a stronger business foundation through the process. In addition, franchising allows franchisors to compete with much bigger businesses—saturating markets before non-franchise companies can respond.
All in all, to be a successful franchisor, you have two priorities. First, stay focused on ensuring each franchisee is successful. Second, keep selling more franchises. Nobody wants to be a franchise of one. Always think of your franchisees first because you’re helping them achieve their dreams, and they’re helping you accomplish yours.