Ray Titus was 23 when he started his company, and he was committed to outwork and outhustle anyone that stood in his way.
Life balance was the last thing on his mind as he looked to do
whatever it took to get his business off the ground.
“When you’re young and inexperienced, you don’t have a
choice,” Titus says. “You need to outwork everybody else. Once
you start to get some experience and start developing your style
and who you are, you can balance things a little bit better.”
Titus co-founded SIGNARAMA in 1986. The company is now
part of United Franchise Group, the franchising company Titus
also founded and now leads as CEO. With revenue at UFG growing from $336 million in 2005 to $465 million in 2007, Titus has
gradually learned how to find that balance in his duties.
He learned that he can’t have a hand in every action that is taken
and every decision that is made in the growing company of 180
corporate employees. You simply have to let go of some things and
allow your people to do the jobs that you hired them to do.
“If I’m making every decision, then I’m always going to be making every decision,” Titus says. “I think most individuals have seeds
within themselves that can be pulled out if you’re willing to put the
time and effort into them or wait long enough for it to happen.
Most people are just too impatient. They either want them to be a
star, or they are fired. Life doesn’t work that way. We all need to
You need to have faith that you made a good hire and be willing
to invest the time to develop the talent that led you to bring this
person on board your organization in the first place.
“Good people like challenges, and they want to be challenged,”
Titus says. “They enjoy the challenge as long as it’s done the right
way. If they accomplish great things, even beyond what they
thought they could accomplish, then they really respect you a lot
more for helping them achieve those challenges.”
Titus’s challenge is to develop the same values and principles
throughout his expansive organization. It’s not always easy to do,
but having a positive attitude about the task is a good place to
“Be the company’s No. 1 cheerleader,” Titus says. “You have to be
able to pump your team up from your sales staff to your vendors
right on down the line. With us, it’s franchisees. They are all independent individuals, but you have to get them pumped up, too.”
Here’s how Titus blends a can-do spirit with a sense of accountability to keep United Franchise Group and his employees moving