Jim Tatem, president of United Franchise Group, has taken on the role of franchisee. Considering he is the president of a franchising company and has been exposed to multiple businesses under the UFG umbrella (Signarama, Fully Promoted, SuperGreen Solutions, among others), it stands out that he has chosen to take such a prominent role in Transworld Business Advisors.
Recognized as an astute advisor and mentor for entrepreneurs, Tatem has helped mold and shape the hopes and dreams of nearly 3,000 franchise owners over his more than 30 years in the industry. We are excited to see how he uses his expertise and knowledge on the flip side.
Franchise Chatter (FC): What motivated you to become a franchisee as a president of a major franchising company?
Jim Tatem (JT): I had the satisfaction of helping over 3,000 folks become their own boss. Training them. Supporting them. Seeing them succeed. Playing a part in that makes me want the freedom to do so myself. We can grow our own business locally and become part of the fabric of the community. The last 30 plus years’ significant travel has made being locally connected a challenge. My wife likes having me home, and I like to see her every day!
FC: How is becoming a franchisee going to improve your role as UFG president?
JT: I have a trenches view. I’m now able to see things from a franchisee’s perspective and feed that back to making our (United Franchise Group) decisions and processes better. No better way to see if we’re living our Mission Statement than to be on the receiving end of it. The UFG Mission Statement is simple: We have one customer: our franchisee. When they are successful, we are successful.
FC: What most excites you about being a franchisee?
JT: Opportunity to grow others on our team, serve others in our community and be tied to the growth of the cities we serve. This is as grassroots as it gets. Meeting and working with other business owners day in and day out. Tapping into the local organizations, groups, networks and developing our team.
I look forward to helping business owners exit or enter the market and strategizing with them. I want to make them goal-getters. Our team works with both sellers and buyers to build plans and execute them to get them where they want to go. That training and development is what I’m built for.
FC: Why did you choose Greenville, SC for your franchise location?
JT: According to US News & World Report, Greenville is one of the top places to live in the U.S., coming in at #31. Other than being a desirable place to live, there is a strong job market here as well as a high quality of life.
Greenville is conveniently located along I-85 between Charlotte and Atlanta. The area is also close to Clemson University, BMW Manufacturing factory, Michelin headquarters, plus many more, all of which lead to an influx of people and businesses.
On a personal note, my daughters and grandchildren are here as well. My wife is from New England and I’m originally from New York, so this is a good compromise – we’re labeled halfbacks. While we’ve only been in Greenville for a short time, we already have expansion plans to Asheville and further.
FC: Will anyone assist you in operating the franchise?
JT: Yes, my wife Danielle is vice president and handles organizational functions for our office and lead generation. She’s the glue for our team. Our model thrives with sales agents serving the territory. Our team makeup is six agents, an administrator and a marketing coordinator. Agents have experience in sales, real estate, marketing, financial planning, and customer service/customer facing roles.
No matter the role, our business is about relating to the sellers and buyers, learning who they are and what their successful outcome looks like to them. Then, we work with our clients to plan the path to get them there.
FC: Do you have a long-term operational strategy for the franchise? Any interest in eventually acquiring additional franchises?
JT: Yes, I envision multi-territories and additional offices, with agents and team with vested interest and incentives in the business’s growth and success. We’ve already added our second territory in Asheville and we’re adding additional agents right now.
Transworld offers more than just business brokerage services. It’s franchise development, where we work with clients to help formulate their business into a franchise through Accurate Franchising Inc. (AFI), and franchise consulting, which is helping clients who are looking to buy a new franchise. Plus, we have a global reach within our network; co-broking allows us to work with and connect buyers and sellers from all around the world.
FC: Would you mind sharing with me what you expect your annual revenue to be for the year? How does that break down amongst the products/services?
JT: Our revenue projections for our first year: $830,000 total sales. 40% of those sales from existing business sales, 40% from franchise referrals and 20% from franchise development programs. For franchise referrals, we are matchmakers. We meet with clients and find out what they are most interested in and find the business that is most fitting for them. We have 300 franchise concepts in our inventory to choose from.
FC: How will training differ for you as you are already president of United Franchise Group?
JT: I’m a complete believer that the power of a franchise lies in its system. The first 20 years of my career was in training franchisees to “follow the system;” so for us, that means doing everything the same way as a new franchisee does.
Our initial franchisee training and certification was two immersive weeks of training. Then we went through the same initial marketing, networking, experiential training as a new franchisee. Nothing different. No special treatment. No shortcuts.
Think of it as a permanent “Undercover Boss” episode. I confess it’s different being on the trainee side versus being the trainer. But in addition to giving us the benefit of success for 10 years as a franchise, and 40 years as an organization, it also gave me an opportunity to provide feedback directly to our team for continuous improvement of our program. Like the Kaizen principle of continuous incremental change. That pays benefit forward to other franchisees in our network.