Ghassan Barazi - CEO of Plan Ahead Events Canada

Date: APR 3rd, 2013

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Ghassan Barazi, a mechanical engineer with a strong entrepreneurial drive, began his career as a business owner in 1989 when he formed CAD Venture, a company specializing in computer aided design for the automotive industry. In 1991, Ghassan tapped into the emerging laser technology industry and co-founded The Laser Eye Institute which, by the end of 1998, evolved into ICON Laser Eye Centres, Inc. ICON quickly become the fastest growing laser vision correction business in the world. With a global reach extending across North America and Europe and into South America, ICON became the world-leader and international provider of Excimer Laser Vision Correction (LVC), growing to 40 centres world-wide. Ghassan also spent a considerable portion of his career developing highly successful plastic surgery programs for private and public medical facilities in Detroit and Las Vegas prior to 2008 when he became the President & CEO of CI Pharma, a radiopharmaceutical supply company and Care Imaging Cancer Diagnostic Centre, a privatized cancer diagnostic imaging company with locations in both Windsor and the Greater Toronto Area.

After a lengthy career in medical, Ghassan became fascinated with the franchise industry and saw the opportunity in 2011 to purchase the Canadian master licenses for SIGN-A-RAMA, the world’s largest sign franchise and Plan Ahead Events , the world’s largest event management franchise. Both franchises were started by U.S. based United Franchise Group (UFG). UFG has been franchising for over 25 years and all together have a total of six brands encompassing over 1600 franchisees worldwide. Ghassan now combines the experience he’s learned working with UFG and his extensive business background to build both franchise systems and at the same time offers unparalleled support to his existing franchisees.

BeTheBoss: Tell us about the PLAN AHEAD EVENTS concept.

Ghassan Barazi: Plan Ahead Events (PAE) is the largest and fastest growing meeting and event management franchise in the world with over 100 franchisees in nine countries. Our proven system can be run from the home, has low start up fees, affordable royalties and offers our franchisee’s one of the most exciting and rewarding businesses in the world. Our franchisee’s produce special events, meetings, conventions, trade and consumer shows, exhibitions, incentive travel programs and more. We also offer thousands of promotional products most with brand recognition at very affordable rates.

BTB: How and when did you become involved with Plan Ahead Events?

GB: I joined the system owned by United Franchise Group (UFG), in 2011 and was recruited to expand the franchise program across Canada.

BTB: What was your background prior to joining Plan Ahead Events?

GB: I was the Founder and CEO of several cutting-edge medical companies.

BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Plan Ahead Events franchisee?

GB: There are many advantages of being a Plan Ahead Event franchisee. Franchisee’s become part of a global network leveraging the vast experience of the management team at the Canadian head office, the U.S. office United Franchise Group and the 100+ franchisees in the system who have experience managing small and large events. Franchisees can run the franchise from the comfort of their home but are never alone. In addition to the three weeks training offered by head office, we offer ongoing support and guidance. PAE has also implemented social media into the system allowing franchisees to network with each other, obtain advice and do business with one other working together on various projects. We offer a customized eye catching website, marketing materials, industry perks and the opportunity for unlimited growth.

BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?

GB: People with excellent work ethics, who are driven to succeed. Ideally they are ambitious, great communicators with some sales ability and have great organizational skills.

BTB: Tell us a little about the Events Industry?

GB: The event industry is estimated at 650 billion dollars worldwide. It’s an exciting, glamorous and rewarding business. It’s one of the largest contributors to the North American economy and is estimated to grow by another 18% by the year 2018.

BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

GB: Encouraging franchisees to keep with the proven methods for success within the franchise system – after all, the brand has over 25 years of success and thousands of thriving franchisees worldwide.

BTB: Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?

GB: Franchise giant, Ray Titus who is President and CEO of United Franchise Group (UFG).

BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

GB: Make sure you are going to love the business and are not just looking at it for cash flow and investment. Look carefully at the strength of the organization determining that the key factors are in place; marketing, support, training, brand recognition and successful franchisees.

BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Plan Ahead Events would be a great opportunity for someone?

GB: Quite simply we have been a world leader in franchising for 25 years. We know what it takes to succeed in business and have the system for success in place. If you are a people person, enjoy socializing and want to be in an exciting business, than Plan Ahead Events is definitely a franchise to pursue.