Reg has over 35 years of service industry and management experience and leads the team at 4 Pillars Consulting Group Inc. After an extensive management career with one of North America’s largest corporations Reg took his entrepreneurial spirit & proven skills and ventured out on his own into the world of self fulfillment. Since his departure he served as the Chief Operating Officer for one of Western Canada’s largest distributors of organic and natural food.
In the mid 90’s Reg organized International Trade meetings between North American Corporations and the Government of Mexico. Companies from Canada and the U.S.A. made several technology based presentations for joint venture opportunities to hundreds of high-ranking Mexican Government officials.
Over the past 15 years Reg has served as President and managing partner to 4 Pillars and has also acted as a consultant to various private and public companies. Reg’s experience in a variety of industries makes him a valuable part of the diverse and explosive team at 4 Pillars.
BeTheBoss: What’s the story behind 4 Pillars Consulting Group Inc.?
Reginald (Reg) J. Rocha: The partners created 4 Pillars in 2002, to introduce our expertise to a consumer group that truly needed it: the legions of Canadians wrestling with dangerous levels of personal debt. Our role is helping those who need sound practical advice during one of the most stressful times they will ever experience, and a time when emotion can easily take over decision making. The debt industry and the role everyone plays in it is very confusing for a consumer and we wanted to change that by providing the consumer with an option to meet someone face to face and have all the options explained in a language they would understand, with the majority of companies in the industry representing the needs of the creditors, we wanted to create a trusted source for the debtors to receive their own independent advice. 4 Pillars sole mandate is to represent the interests of the debtors and everything we do is governed by that.
The name ‘4 Pillars’ encapsulates the philosophy. The Pillars, a symbol of strength and stability and personifies our commitment to our clients.
BTB: What made you decide to franchise?
R.J.R: 4 Pillars started by attracting partners, then some of the people we helped wanted to know how they could get into the business; they knew from practical experience the positive influence the services made to their lives. At the time word was spreading and demand was growing rapidly for the services. We considered opening corporate locations operated by salaried employees but it didn’t fit with our philosophy and our unwavering commitment to the clients, we wanted people with a vested interest in our clients well-being. That’s when we decided to add franchisees, with a simple story: help people, and in turn you will be rewarded.
BTB: Tell us a little about this industry?
R.J.R: The debt industry is confusing to the consumer with blurred lines as to who is truly helping who? Non-profit credit counselors are funded by the credit card companies and the banks, and Bankruptcy Trustees have a fiduciary duty to the creditors but this isn’t always clear in the way the their services are advertised. The industry is also very transactional with companies focused on restructuring the consumer debt and then moving on to the next client in line. The default rate on debt restructuring programs in the industry is estimated to be as high as 50% and this is due to the lack of pre and post restructuring education and work completed with the client. At 4 Pillars we have changed how the client should deal with debt and what they should expect from a debt restructuring plan, we work to represent their interests through the debt restructuring program and then teach them through our 18 month rehabilitation program to rebuild credit, regain financial stability and help them identify how they can better manage their money.” 97% of people entering the 4 Pillars plan successfully complete the program which we believe is the highest in the industry. “It’s not just about getting people out of debt, it is teaching them about it, how to avoid it, and getting them to the right place by the end of the 18 months so they are ready to move on, enjoy financial freedom and meet their long term financial goals.”
BTB: What have some of the challenges been in growing your franchise?
R.J.R: Educating the consumers on their rights and having them understand that they do have options; the key is changing the mindset of a consumer facing financial challenges that they don’t need to be embarrassed and they have the right to shop around for a company that will provide the suite of products and services they need. Debt is the single biggest threat to our financial future, yet it is the most overlooked piece of every financial plan and we continue to pioneer change in the financial services industry to address this.
BTB: Who has been your greatest inspiration?
R.J.R: It sounds cliché but it is our customers, seeing the drive and determination our customers have to change their lives and create a financially stable future for their children is inspirational and constantly reminds us why we are in business. Financial difficulties are most often the hardest to deal with, they embarrass us, overwhelm us and push us into corners quite unlike any other problem that we face in our lifetime and our clients have lived through this and never want their children to have to do the same. At the same time they recognize that their children will not have or can earn enough money to pay cash for life''s most important purchases: a home, a car or an education and whether we like it or not credit will always plan an integral part of our lives. Money determines where we live, which school our children attend, and which social circle we move in. Money is also responsible for our attitudes, our confidence in certain situations, and our relationships with family and friends. Money has a greater hold over all of us than we would ever care to admit.
BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a 4 Pillar Consulting Group franchisee?
R.J.R: The business is very personally rewarding. The 4 Pillars team is very close and everyone is working towards the same goal, make our offices as successful as possible and make 4 Pillars a household brand and the logical and only choice for anyone facing financial challenges. We have products and services that no other firm in the industry offers and the franchise support and training is provided by the founding partners of 4 Pillars as we recognize that our offices are the face of our company and their success means are success and this is the most important part of our business and always takes priority.
BTB: What “Gadgets” (Blackberry, Iphone, Ipod, etc) can’t you live without?
R.J.R: Much to the frustration of my wife sometimes, all of the above. We have offices in 3 different time zones that are dedicated to help the customers in the morning, the evening, the weekend and on public holidays and our commitment back to them means we are available to help them, when they are helping their clients.
BTB: What do you do in your spare time?
R.J.R: I enjoy travelling to warm places when my schedule permits, we also have an RV that allows me to escape for weekends so always checking the weather channel hoping for good weather. My favorite pastime is spending quality time with my family which is very important to me and have truly enjoyed watching them grow and develop their own careers.
BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
R.J.R: That you need to know exactly what you are getting into and make sure the franchisor is a good fit for your personality. Successful franchisees work closely with the franchisor to help develop the system not change it and this requires some flexibility by both parties and make sure you are entering into an industry that you are truly passionate about, remember you are buying a business that takes a lot of time and effort to develop you are not buying a job.
BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that 4 Pillar Consulting Group would be a great opportunity for someone?
R.J.R: Not only can it be incredibly financially rewarding but you are making a difference in people’s lives and this really changes how you approach the business when you see that, reading the client letters and testimonials our offices receive is usually enough motivation to get them through the toughest of days. With 4 Pillars you are joining a community of likeminded business owners always willing to share ideas, mentor new offices and support each other through the growth of their business.