Tipton is the President for Plan Ahead Events and has been with United Franchise Group for the past 10 years. As President, Tipton is responsible for the overall global growth and development of the Plan Ahead Events franchise brand. Tipton has been working in franchising for the past 20 years and has served in various capacities including operations, sales & marketing. In addition, Tipton has been directly involved with assembling and promoting franchise conventions and trade shows for United Franchise Group since joining the organization. Tipton is a Certified Franchise Executive within the International Franchise Association and holds a Franchise MBA from Nova Southeastern University.
FranchiseExpo: Tell us about the Plan Ahead Events concept.
Tipton Shonkwiler: Plan Ahead Events is the world’s largest full-service event management franchise assisting clients worldwide with their events and meetings.
FE: How and when did you become involved with Plan Ahead Events?
TS: I have been with Plan Ahead Events since 2007 when we started the concept. I have been with United Franchise Group now for 11 years.
FE: What was your background prior to joining Plan Ahead Events?
TS: Prior to joining United Franchise Group, I spent 10 years with GNC Franchising, General Nutrition Centers.
FE: What are some of the advantages in being a Plan Ahead Events franchisee?
TS: Ongoing training and support, brand awareness, preferred vendors and a system of planners to share and receive best practices from.
FE: Who is your ideal franchisee?
TS: Anyone coming from a relationship building role – marketing, advertising, sales, PR and of course event management.
FE: Tell us a little about the Event Planning Market?
TS: The industry size is $650 Billion on a global level, $250 Billion in the US alone – the largest industry that United Franchise Group operates in.
FE: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
TS: This is an extremely creative and fun industry – I have learned that an association exists for just about everything.
FE: Do you have a mentor and is their someone you use for inspiration?
TS: My father, my CEO, my brand president counterparts and my wife seems to be the winning combination for me.
FE: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
TS: Spend a good amount of time learning about the management team and the culture of the franchisor – make sure the company is one that you can see yourself enjoying and partnering with.
FE: In your opinion, why do you think that Plan Ahead Events would be a great opportunity for someone?
TS: I really do – our business is very upbeat and exciting with many perks involved such as travel and entertainment – in addition, this is definitely an industry that embraces both creativity and solutions.