PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — To truly understand Ray Titus and his success as an entrepreneur, you have to go back to his roots and where he came from.
Ray grew up on Long Island, NY. His father was a highly accomplished baseball and basketball player. Despite his success athletically though, Ray’s father chose to go down a different path, one that Ray would choose as well in his life.
“My dad had a contract for both baseball and basketball,” Titus explained. “He could have gone pro in either of those sports. Instead, though, he was interested in business, so started selling magazines. And he was good at it too. He worked his way up through Time Life and he was making more money selling magazines than the guys playing in the NBA were making. So he kept doing it and ultimately became the President of Parents Magazine.”
While Ray’s father might not have ultimately chosen the sports track, he still got his son involved in sports, teaching Ray how to play baseball and basketball. Though he enjoyed both, Ray found himself gravitating more towards basketball.
“I liked the fast pace of the game,” Ray said.
Ray grew up playing basketball, learning the game at the age of 6. Living in New York he had the opportunity to attend the Five Star Basketball Camp, which at the time was the number one basketball camp in the country. He played alongside the likes of Isiah Thomas, Patrick Ewing, and Michael Jordan, continuing to hone his craft. After high school, Ray earned a basketball scholarship to play at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. After two years after St. John Fisher, he decided to move down to Florida and played at Florida Southern in Lakeland.
Like his father, Ray was incredibly talented on the basketball court. Also, like his father though, Ray decided to go the business route after school. He explains how he applied those lessons that he learned on the basketball court to business and sales, things he still uses today.
“I applied everything I learned in sports to business,” Ray explained. “Things like hard work, getting to practice early, staying late. It was that repetition; becoming a good salesperson and a good businessman is all about repetition. So I was able to equate everything from the sports world that I learned and equate it into my business.”
While Ray might have left the basketball world behind to pursue his business interests from a playing perspective, he didn’t leave the game behind entirely. In fact, as he continued to get older and have children of his own he focused more on the coaching side of things.
“Having three boys I coached them and I taught them all the game and they all played basketball,” Titus said. “I ended up becoming the JV coach at Kings Academy and I did that for almost 10 years and I was an assistant for the Varsity team too.”
Today, Ray is the Founder and CEO of the United Franchise Group and its affiliated companies. He founded the very first Signarama store in 1986 and since, has applied his successful business model to other business-to-business brands which currently include Accurate Franchising Inc.™, FranchiseMart®, Franchise Real Estate™, Fully Promoted®, Preveer™ (formerly Resource Operations International), Signarama®, Transworld Business Advisors®, and the Coworks™ division consisting of Network Lead Exchange™(NLX), Office Evolution® (OE) and Venture X® as well as a food division featuring Graze Craze®, Jon Smith Subs®, and The Great Greek Mediterranean Grill®. 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.
While as a profession, Ray might have chosen the boardroom over the basketball court just like his dad, there is no question that the game is as big a part of his life today as it has ever been.
“We have a gym here (at United Franchise Group) and a half-court basketball court,” Ray said. “It’s a full gym too, we have weights and everything else plus locker rooms and showers. We play once a week and occasionally I will still get out there. Not as much as I used to, but occasionally I’ll go out and shoot with them and have a lot of fun.”
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