Immigrants make up roughly 15% of the population of the U.S. and Canada, yet they start businesses at nearly twice the rate of native-born citizens. According to Inc. Magazine, immigrant-owned businesses generate more than $775 billion in annual revenue. Entrepreneurs and their self-starting spirits have become a vital part of the North American economic landscape.
1851 Franchise connected with Signal 88 Security franchisees Tim Robinson and Andrew Ralph to learn more about their experiences as immigrant entrepreneurs and business owners.
Former Toy Salesman Finds Security Success on Florida’s Gulf Coast
Tim Robinson, owner of Signal 88 Security of Sarasota, Florida, is an Englishman by birth. Before moving across the Atlantic, he managed sales for a family business that made and sold children’s toys to retail stores across the United Kingdom. After years of vacationing in the U.S., the Robinson family began looking for opportunities to move stateside.
“I looked at trying to get a visa to work in the U.S., and I explored buying a business to get one,” Robinson explains. “By chance, I met and spoke with a guy in a bar who told me about Signal 88 franchises and how I could set one up in the area.”
Intrigued, Robinson spent a year researching the company and the security industry before deciding to launch his new venture.
“For me, the idea of owning a business was especially attractive,” Robinson said. “Signal 88 is a great way for immigrants to get into the U.S., and while it is hard work, it’s a great opportunity in a growing industry.”
Since opening Signal 88 in 2015, Robinson has seen intense success. He ranks among Signal 88’s top 20 franchisees in revenue growth and collections efficiency, two signs of a thriving franchise.
“My hard work, attention to detail, and finding the right people to serve as my operations director and field manager have been key to the success of my business,” Robinson said. “At first, my knowledge of the business of security was non-existent, so I needed to ensure that I had people with the experience I lacked and who were as keen and dedicated to making it work as me.”
British Veteran Plants Strong Roots in Canadian Capital
Andrew Ralph, a Manchester native, settled in Ottawa with his wife and two daughters in 2015. After a long military career, Ralph felt a call to dive into the business world. And as a new piece in the Canadian mosaic, he found the right fit with Signal 88.
“I had a strong security background of 18 years, including 10 years in the British Military and working as a security contractor in Iraq, so I wanted to utilize my expertise and provide a safe environment for my new home,” Ralph said. “The security industry was a natural fit.”
From the outset, Ralph saw the value in partnering with an industry leader like Signal 88. The private security industry is growing rapidly, but Signal 88’s strong international brand — plus its unique focus on innovative tech and a flexible patrol model — has set the company well ahead of the competition.
“The core values and standards set forth by the franchise group, as well as security with complete accountability, was in line with my own standards of how security should be done,” Ralph said. “Signal 88 Security provides you with the same resources as major companies, but it gives you the unique advantage of having local ownership in your markets, which is a great benefit for clients.”
Since opening Signal 88 of Ottawa, Ralph has helped fellow immigrants find their way in a new land. Of his franchise’s 70 employees, 62 are newcomers to Canada. In 2017, he was recognized for his efforts to help immigrants like himself with Ottawa’s Immigrant of the Year Award.
“Canada's economy is strong and built on small businesses,” Ralph said. “They are actively helping potential entrepreneurs with education and information to help you succeed.”
Whether you’re an international immigrant or a hometown kid, it’s hard not to be inspired by the success of entrepreneurs like Tim Robinson and Andrew Ralph.
Signal 88, one of the world’s fastest-growing franchisors, is searching for more bold men and women to write their own success stories and secure peace of mind for their communities and families.
To learn more about franchising success with Signal 88, visit signal88franchise.com.