Interview with Michael Evans, Security Expert and Chief Executive Officer of USPA International about a Trademark License vs. Franchise for a Security Business
1- First of all, who is Michael?
As simple as the question sounds, the answer is a little more complex. For the purposes of this interview, I am CEO to all of the USPA Brands from USPA Nationwide Security, USPA Technologies to USPA International and several more companies. You can see why I have a hard time answering the opening question people ask when they meet someone, which is usually, “What do you do?” For lack of a better term, “entrepreneur” probably more closely describes my professional life, although, I make the analogy that most people who call themselves entrepreneurs have been stuck on the starting block when it comes to realizing their dreams.
2- Let’s talk about the USPA Brand for a minute. What do the letters U.S.P.A stand for?
In 2005, when I was working the desk on midnights at a Long Island police department, I had had been contemplating starting a security business with my brother and couple of friends. We were throwing company names around and I decided that we should go for it – right away. While some names suggested by my partners (at the time) were Safeway Security, EvanNik Security (a combination of last names of the founders) I suggested that we go with U.S. Protection Agency. I didn’t want to aim small – miss small, like the old saying goes. I wanted to start big. I had the vision of what USPA is today; a multi-national security firm with branch offices all over the world. I shortened the name to USPA when we grew past the borders of the United States.
3- I see that you have a unique business model for expanding your company. It seems like a franchise, but you call it a trademark license. Can you explain the difference?
Buying a security company franchise means ongoing sharing of profit with the security business franchisor. A trademark license (at least with my company) does not require profit sharing or any on-going costs outside of the initial investment. Franchise agreements usually have term limits, while my program does not. Trademark licensees individually own their business, and have the permission to operate under our brand, as long as they meet the strict qualifications and standards we require.
4- Earlier, you mentioned that entrepreneurs are often, “Stuck on the starting block.” What do you mean by that?
For most people, it’s tough to make a move and follow their dreams. More than that, most adults don’t dream anymore. At least, they don’t have aspirations, the energy or the financial cushion to start their own companies and take risks. So many people have amazing ideas and they’re just waiting to ‘feel ready’ to make a move. They’re waiting to have the courage or confidence to leave their secure jobs, usually jobs they dislike. Many entrepreneurs have trapped themselves and created a life they never wanted. The good news (at least for my demographic of retired law enforcement, former military and security professionals) is that there are opportunities which don’t require them to fully burn the boats to take the island – which is the hardest thing for most people to do in the first place.
5- What is the difference between doing business with you vs. trying it on their own?
Momentum. I believe momentum is a powerful stimulant for a person’s mindset. Think of the people who start an exercise and diet routine. Many of them give up before they see any results. Sadly, most of them give up on the one-yard line. They never knew how close to success they were before they quit. People tend to do the same thing in business. When you have the momentum of a thriving business in your corner from day one, it takes that quitting mentality out of play.
6- As a final word, What advice would you give to young security expert just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?
If being a CEO is your dream or your passion, then it’s the perfect time to put your toe in the water. If you want a jump in the quality of your life, you have to set yourself up for the process that will allow you to realize those goals. I can tell you from experience, I left my cushiony civil service career many years ago and have never worked for anyone again. I’ve become the shot-caller in my own life and you can too.