Becoming a The Entrepreneur’s Source Franchise Coach can lead to years of success as an entrepreneur, as is the case with Steve Rosenkrantz. Steve talked with us a little about his story and how he has successfully grown his coaching business through training, hard work and networking.
For more information on how you, too, can become a TES franchise coach, please visit www.coachingisbooming.com.
Q: Describe your life and career prior to TES.
A: I’m probably not your typical TES coach as I don’t come from corporate America. I’ve been an entrepreneur my entire life. In fact, I’ve never even done a resume. When I went to college back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was kind of known that I was going there to get the experience I needed in business management to assist in my family’s business. I grew up working in a True Value Home Center and related stores. We were second generation owners, and I had five first cousins as business partners. We diversified over the years, and today the name is still out there. The legacy does continue, but the core of our business was downsized when the way business was conducted changed dramatically back in 2000 and 2001. We made the decision to carry forward with just a couple of our niches, and I decided to reinvent myself. I thought for maybe a second about corporate America and quickly decided against it. I’m an entrepreneur and I always have been. I then quickly did an internet search, and that’s how I found The Entrepreneur’s Source.
I actually went through the entire TES discovery and education process as a Client, and I ended up loving what my coach did so much that one day I just looked at him and said “I want to do what you’re doing.” He was very supportive and said it was one of the three franchise options he would show me. I then went through the process with an open mind and looked carefully at the three options. It wasn’t hard to realize I was still gravitating towards being a coach. From there, I never looked back and became a coach in 2001.
Q: That’s quite the journey. Tell me a little more about your family business. When did you start working with that?
A: I started working right after I finished college in ‘81 and worked there full-time until 2001. So, that’s about 20 years.
Q: Why specifically were you looking for a change?
A: The retail landscape was already starting to change in the late ‘90s, and our company recognized that. The big box stores were coming in and so was the internet. While we were profitable and owned all our businesses (and their properties too), we had choices to make. We realized that what we built wasn’t really the future. We got past that crossroads by deciding to sell most of our businesses to others.
Q: You mentioned you considered corporate America very briefly. What about that turned you off?
A: I think in the corporate world, you need to be able to run your life and your day according to the company. I’ve always enjoyed the freedom that comes with business ownership. I’m someone who makes effective use of my time, and I’m very goal and task-driven. One day, it just dawned on me that I could reinvent myself. It was uncomfortable to realize that my day-to-day would be very different, but I was excited.
I started exploring franchise-related businesses because I thought that while I had a lot to offer, I do have weaknesses as well. I analyzed those strengths and weaknesses and thought that maybe franchises would give me the structure and tools to help where I needed it, but still give me the freedom to utilize my skills to their full potential. I have a unique perspective on things because I have been on both sides of the fence.
Q: How did you become aware of TES?
A: It started with a basic internet search. I was considering franchising and found a link to a TES coach and followed up with an email. I learned there was no cost, no obligation and the only requirements were to be curious and have an open mind. I realized I would be a great fit for that process.
My coach was based out of Boston, and we worked together for a few months. Initially, I felt the need to meet in person, but he kind of helped me realize the benefits of working virtually. Utilizing technology let us use our time productively and efficiently. The first time I met him in person was on the way to a conference, we were able to touch base in person at the airport.
Q: That’s an interesting transformation. Can you talk a little more about why you believe technology is helping to make meeting in person less necessary?
A: Each coach has their own style, for sure. There are some very successful coaches who believe that their success lies in those face-to-face encounters, and I do make an effort to meet in person if it makes sense and is a good use of both of our time. The reality is, we are helping people all around the country and the world. With the process we have in place, our clients are interacting with the franchisors and franchisees from all over the place; they won’t be able to get in a car and go out and meet each person. At the end of the day, it’s about making the most efficient use of my clients’ time and help them make the best decisions possible. I really think my company has figured out a way to optimize the virtual experience with tools like Start a Business Weekend and Franchise Match.
Q: What made you ultimately choose to work with TES?
A: I think I ultimately wanted a business that was not overly complex. I came from retail with 300 employees and plenty of moving parts, so I was ready for a change. I wanted a business that was highly scalable but is more dependent on my efforts and does not rely on outside factors. I saw this as an opportunity to connect with people and make an impact, and that’s what I’m good at. I really loved the streamlined business model; it is set up in a way that accentuates my strengths and minimizes my weaknesses.
Q: Take me through your experience as a coach — what have you liked and disliked?
A: In training, we learned to detach from the outcome. I’m human, and I obviously feel bad when I lose a client to the corporate world or other factors beyond my control, but I always use it as an opportunity to ask for referrals. I’m a believer that everyone I interact with knows at least two people who woke up hating their job. I try to take what appears to be a negative situation and turn it into a positive. A coach has no timing boundaries — I’ll try to stay in touch with everyone forever, because life changes and you never know what the future may bring. I had a potential client who was interested in franchising but still had a few more years in the military. We kept in touch, and the second he retired, we hit the ground running, and now he’s a franchisee.
I’m also very active in finding new contacts, too — I’m particularly active in outplacement firms and the military. I go to colleges and speak, I go to seminars, I go to conferences and events. I try to take advantage of as many opportunities to get my story out there because it’s unique. I’m very visible in my local community and love to get the word out about this free program. What we do at TES is unique and people find it interesting.
Q: What are some of your characteristics that have helped your success with TES?
A: Empathy for other people and persistence. I will never, ever give up on someone. I have a glass half-full personality and sometimes will even give people who are struggling the confidence they need to believe in themselves.
Corporate America frowns on the 50-plus worker, but I thrive on the 50-plus candidate. They have a skill set already, and as long as they have an open mind and are willing to try something new, there’s a lot of potential for success.
Q: Do you have any specific rewards or recognition you’ve received?
A: In 2003 and 2004, I won the Coach of the Year Award, which is the top award given each year at the TES Annual Conference. The very next year, I won the Vision Award, which is amongst the top awards. It’s a feel-good thing and really drives me. I love that my hard work and network has really embraced what I do and appreciate it.
I’ve also won Coach of the Year with individual franchisors for my work connecting my clients to those franchisors. It’s very gratifying to get that recognition.
I also volunteer and serve on the Franchisor Review Committee with TES. Being a part of that group has enabled me to take my knowledge and passion and use them to further my company. Helping to foster franchisor relationships is very rewarding.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I keep raising the bar for myself. I’m never content or feel like I’ve accomplished everything I need to. I am constantly putting out new challenges for myself. In 2017, I am challenging myself to elevate referral networks, so I’ve been working hard on that. A lot of what I have in mind for the future is a continuation of what I’ve done, but bigger and better. I’m going to keep looking for new venues and new opportunities to reach more people, share my story and build my business.