Franchise Success Is About the Right Team


Ted Landgraf, CEO and Founder of Above The Standard Procurement Group®, Inc. (ATSPG), is passionate about helping people achieve success. He is a relationship-driven man, a self-described “old-ball” who has created a different franchise opportunity. I am intrigued by Ted and his company and thus welcomed the opportunity to learn more.

While most franchise companies require no prior experience and, in fact, prefer it if franchisees have no history in the industry, ATSPG takes a novel approach. Ted shares: “I asked myself, what would happen if we decided to take an individual’s experience and strengths and branded him or her within our organization? Our franchisees are very accomplished in their fields when they join us, so why should we throw away their experience and knowledge, and why should we ask them to do the same? That didn’t make sense to me, so we decided our franchisees’ strengths could be matched to our clients’ needs instead, and this approach is working well for us,” Ted continues.

One of my greatest strengths is my ability to create systems. I have done it since I was a teenager starting my entrepreneurial career. I can immediately see the patterns in any situation and recognize what needs to be done to create efficiencies. I have used this gift with my clients and now I am teaching it to our franchisees,” Ted explains. With a little melancholy, Ted adds, “I never had a mentor, someone who could guide me, so early on I decided I wanted to be that person for others. Franchising allows me to connect with this yearning to empower the underdog and create winning teams.”

Like many other franchisors, Ted faces the challenge of getting franchisees to produce consistently. Learning who are the best candidates suited for the franchise opportunity, where to find them, and how to identify them is always trying, especially early on in the life of a franchisor. However, Ted found the answer quickly. Yes, it is true that “behind every great man there stands a great woman.” In this case, it’s Ted’s wife and partner, Donna Landgraf.

When I realized that the person I had brought in to assist with our franchising efforts was not working, Donna stepped in to help. She is now responsible for franchisee support and training, but she started by completely redesigning our recruiting process. This was crucial for us; we know that we need the right team to be able to achieve our franchise success objectives and what we did before was not attracting the right people. Thanks to Donna, we now have an effective process that includes interviews with different people in the organization, a call with the founders, and a letter where candidates describe how they see themselves fitting in the organization. These changes have made all the difference,” Ted explains.

Donna is a sharp lady who understands what franchisees need in order to succeed. You can hear her passion about helping franchisees achieve success. She shared her views about Ted and why she felt so compelled to join him in this franchising journey. “I have been described as a person who thinks outside the box; well, Ted doesn’t even see the box. He sees things differently than most people. He quickly recognizes trends and turns ideas and concepts into reality with similar speeds,” Donna shares.

After a few minutes talking with Donna, it was easy to understand Ted’s answer to my question about what he would do different if he had the opportunity to start over again. “I know the answer to that,” Ted says. “It’s easy. I would have Donna take over franchising immediately.”

Ted and Donna certainly make a great team. They both are working hard to remove themselves from the company so that the organization can stand on its own. “We want the company to grow to more than 500 franchises worldwide with franchisees making a satisfactory ROI within two years. We feel franchise success is achieved when everyone in the team works together and everybody is making money. Although we are very involved in the company’s daily operations, we also work hard so that its success doesn’t depend on us. We make decisions not based on our personal preferences, but on what is best for the company. Sometimes the two interests don’t coincide and the company must always win,” Donna and Ted share.

They have the following advice for those people who are contemplating franchising their businesses:

  • “Learn to extract yourself from the business and make decisions that are in favor of your company;
  • Be willing to change and do what’s required to achieve success; it takes time and money;
  • Make sure you are vested; if you have investors, make sure everyone is on board;
  • Get clear about what kind of person you want to join your company; and always remember that franchise success is all about the team–the right team; do whatever it takes to get it.”


  1. Really good blog, I spend a lot of time checking out franchise articles and blogs from across the web for work and yours is certainly among the best. Thanks, Charlotte

    • Thank you Charlotte … that means a lot to me… I need to start writing again 🙂