Founded by franchise legends Roy Titus and his son, Ray, United Franchise Group (UFG) launched Signarama in Farmingdale, New York in 1986. Over the last thirty plus years, UFG has grown to include nine brands with a global reach of over 1,600 locations under the direction of Ray Titus, a widely recognized leader in the franchise industry. In the world of franchise businesses, UFG stands out as one of the most successful business-to-business groups, specializing in personalized business services. Venture X is one of the more recent franchise brands that Ray has guided to success. While Ray learned a lot from his father about franchising, his own evolved style of management is also reflected and influenced by some of the books he has read along the way.
A big believer in work-life balance, United Franchise Group instills the idea that a good attitude is the main driver of successful franchisees. That’s why Ray emphasizes teaching franchise owners to lead, giving them the tools to build successful teams and inspire entrepreneurs in the process. In Jon Gordon’s The Power of Positive Leadership, Gordon famously wrote, “Don't focus on the numbers. Trust the process. When you keep doing things the right way, eventually the numbers will rise, the wins will come, and the outcome will happen.” Ray adheres to the attitude that positivity is contagious. Another Gordon book, The Positive Dog, speaks to the powerful, synergistic nature of positive thinking, exploring the world of two dogs, a negative mutt, Matt, and a big, happy dog, Bubba. Based on the premise that these two dogs fight within every person’s psyche and the one you feed the most, wins, Matt learns from Bubba how to feed himself with positive thoughts and sees “first-paw” how positivity affects changes not only in his world but in the lives of others. “Being positive doesn't just make you better. It makes everyone around you better.”
“Everyone” includes your coworkers and your loved ones, or your “team.” Ray’s love of sports is legendary, as well as his teamwork ethic. In the mid-1980s, Ray played shooting guard at Florida Southern University. In a 2016 Palm Beach Post article, Ray said, even though his team got “shellacked” by Georgetown, he thinks of this experience as a career highlight. “We got killed, but it was a great experience,” Ray said. “I had 10 points and got to play against the No. 1 team in the country.” Finding the gem in every experience, especially the not-so-good ones helps people grow and open up to growing their teams. In Gordon’s book written with NFL coach Mike Smith, You Win First in the Locker Room, the author says, “Culture drives expectations and beliefs; expectations and beliefs drive behavior; behavior drives habits; and habits create the future. It all starts with culture.”
In management, Titus’ team philosophy follows along the same lines as his upbeat, positive stance. His unstoppable energy extends to everything and everyone in his path. In an interview with The Palm Beach Post, when asked what he looked for in people when hiring, Ray said, “Are they positive? Do they smile? Are they happy? Here at United Franchise Group, our job is to support franchise owners. We’ve got to support 1,400 franchisees [as of 2016] around the world, so I need people who are positive and service-oriented.” Another book on Ray’s list, Gordon’s The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy, offers guidelines in the form of a list of ten rules that seem to naturally radiate from Ray. Some of these rules include:
● You haven't failed until you stop trying.
● The goal in life is to live young, have fun, and arrive at your final destination – as late as possible – with a smile on your face because this would mean that you truly enjoyed the ride.
● Thoughts are magnetic. What we think about, we attract.
● Remember, you have only one ride through life so give it all you got and enjoy the ride.
Ray knows that franchise success depends on supporting franchisees, as they get their businesses up and running. Family values are big on Ray's list of what makes a successful business. The success of franchisees is one of the most important aspects of UFG’s continuing growth. A long time ago, Ray realized that along with thorough training, a balanced work-home life is essential to growing your business. Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage, isolates seven, highly tested, practical, and actionable principles that show us how to capitalize on the “Happiness Advantage” to improve our performance and maximize our potential. In The Carpenter: A Story About the Greatest Success Strategies of All, Gordon speaks to the spiritual component, promoting love and caring about others in your life at work and at home – values demonstrated by Ray, day in and day out.
Some other books that Ray finds motivating and educational include classics you’ll want to consider, such as:
● The New One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard which broke traditions in advocating for a team approach to management.
● Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson explores productive ways to react to change for less stress and more enjoyment in your life.
● 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey introduced the concept of a paradigm shift and the theory of achieving autonomy in work and in life.
Ray Titus’ legacy at United Franchise Group can be attributed to his positive attitude as a lifelong learner in business and in life. One of Ray’s goals last year involved reading 50 books. His team outlook on management helps everyone connect to their better selves. Ray’s positive outlook affects everyone around him and manifests in the success of Venture X and the other UFG brands.