A friendship that began as MBA students in Executive Action Teams at the Weatherhead School of Management over 15 years ago has blossomed into an exciting business venture. Zeke Rodriguez, MBA/JD '03, and Kapil Manocha, MBA '02, along with recent Weatherhead undergraduate Aditya Rengaswamy, BS '16, have joined Nick Neonakis, MBA '02, in The Franchise Consulting Company.
Neonakis founded The Franchise Consulting Company after many years as a senior executive with one of the largest publicly traded franchise systems in the world.
"There was a strong need for education in the franchise space as most new franchise owners have never owned a business before and the reality is, franchising is not for everyone," says Neonakis. "We look to help our clients first understand if franchising is the right vehicle for them to achieve their goals and then which franchises might be a good fit."
The Franchise Consulting Company helps candidates who are looking to buy a franchise discover just the right franchise opportunity for them based off of their aptitudes, income, geographic position, aspirations of growth, and short-, mid-, and long-term goals. The consultative process helps both franchisor and franchisee connect with the best match.
With the real-world experience gained through helping thousands of people learn about franchising and a high-touch philosophy, The Franchise Consulting Company works through a four-step approach to match franchisor with franchisee. The first step, "Defining Yourself," is the most important step in the process, according to Rodriguez.
"There's no consultation without a competency screening," Rodriguez says. "While we use several tools including a predictive index to help align people's personality traits with opportunities, the most important tool we deploy is our ability to listen and give objective advice—even if that means telling our client things they might not want to hear."
After a series of phone calls to get to know the candidate, the consultant drafts a model based on their conversations—five to six pages of notes to determine whether what the consultant hears aligns with what the aspiring franchise owner believes to be true of themselves. Clients are surprised and pleased with what is revealed through this document, which often details exactly what they’ve been thinking but haven’t been able to put into words.
This emphasis on the introspective self finds its roots in the Weatherhead MBA program, which helps its students know themselves as one of the first steps to developing into stronger leaders. Neonakis and his team's highly experienced, highly engaged consultants set them apart and make them successful.
"It's a great opportunity to help people realize their dream," says Rodriguez. "We want our customers to be happy a year from now, two years, five years, and so on."
Rengaswamy partnered with Neonakis several years ago to co-author The Franchise MBA. Joining The Franchise Consulting Company was the natural next step upon graduating from Case Western Reserve University this spring.
"This brings my academic journey into full circle and gives me a chance to engage in a space I have experience with," says Rengaswamy. "Plus, I get the chance to be a part of a new growing business rather than go the standard corporate route I had before me." This focus on entrepreneurship came about through the many courses and live interactions that Rengaswamy had with business leaders during his time at Case Western Reserve.
"As part of the Weatherhead and Case Western Reserve family, we were fortunate to have met great mentors like Richard Osborne, George Vairaktarakis and Richard Boyatzis. These professors not only taught us, they also stayed actively involved in our ventures decades after graduating. This orientation towards partnership and giving back permeates The Franchise Consulting Company," says Neonakis.
With almost 40 consultants networked nationwide, The Franchise Consulting Company is quickly expanding in both the United States and abroad with its next office opening in India. The group sponsors seminars quarterly and webinars biweekly to connect with people who are interested in business ownership. The next seminar will take place Thursday, October 20. Those interested should contact Zeke Rodriguez at email@example.com.
Learn more about The Franchise Consulting Company or contact them here.
* The Franchise Consulting Company is not affiliated with Match.com.