Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast w/ Dennis Schooley - Found & CEO of Schooley Mitchell

June 03, 2024 00:24:06
Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast w/ Dennis Schooley - Found & CEO of Schooley Mitchell
All Things Considered Franchising Podcast
Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast w/ Dennis Schooley - Found & CEO of Schooley Mitchell

Jun 03 2024 | 00:24:06

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Show Notes

In this episode of "All Things Considered Franchising," host Scotty Milas sits down with Dennis Schooley, the founder and CEO of Schooley Mitchell, to dive deep into the world of cost reduction consulting within the franchising industry. With a background as a Certified Public Accountant, Dennis established a strong reputation in the franchising industry with over 275 franchises in the US and Canada in 2004 and 2001, respectively. He is known for creating a robust cost-reduction consultancy model that balances professional ethics and business resilience.

Scotty and Dennis discuss the principles and processes that have helped Schooley Mitchell grow to over 275 franchises, adapting through various economic climates while maintaining stringent ethical standards and professional integrity. Dennis provides an in-depth look into Schooley Mitchell's business model, emphasizing the importance of a dedicated support system for franchisees. Dennis tells Scotty, “People buy from people they like.”

Dennis also touches on the importance of sales aptitude and networking skills for franchisees, highlighting what sets Schooley Mitchell apart in providing extensive backend support and vendor relationships. As he explains to Scotty, “There’s an altruistic value here: you’re helping other businesses or nonprofits towards their own goals.”

Key Takeaways:

Scotty Milas can be reached at [email protected] and at (860)751-9126.

Dennis Schooley can be reached at linkedin.com/in/dennisschooley

#allthingsconsideredfranchising #scottmilas #businessownership #franchiseopportunities #dennisschooley #schooleymitchell #franchiseesuccess #secretsauce #businessresilience

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:06] Speaker A: Hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of All Things considered. Franchising, powered by Scott Milesfranchisecoach.com. i am your host, Scott. Scotty Miles. All things considered franchising is a podcast dedicated to the entrepreneur people who are researching and exploring business ownership for the first time or looking to diversify a portfolio. We concentrate mostly on franchises, although we do step outside the box every once in a while and talk about independent opportunities. Scott Milo's franchise coach is an organization I started many, many years ago that helps people build a roadmap, a business model, and then introduce them to potential opportunities that fit their criteria, what they're looking for skill sets and help them through the validation process so they can eventually make a validated decision. The services, guidance, and education that we [email protected]. is at no cost to our clients. I have a, I'm really honored to have the next guest with me because when I look back over my years and people that have been in the franchising industry, we always, and this is not a knock on him, but we all have these father figures, people that kind of, that low, that, that personality that just kind of, you know, steps outside the box a little bit, doesn't necessarily have to stick his nose inside the tent every time there's a question or an answer or a conversation. But he is well known in the franchising industry, and that is Dennis Schooley, who is founder, CEO now of Schooley Mitchell, which is a well known opportunity, and I guess it's cost savings for organizations. Dennis, welcome to the show. [00:01:49] Speaker B: Well, thanks for having me, Scotty. And I'm not sure that just means I've been around a long, long time. [00:01:55] Speaker A: Right? Yeah, you know, you know, it's interesting, and that's a good lead in. You know, you and I have been around a while, and you and I have seen a lot of transformation over the years in the franchising industry. And one of the things that has always impressed me about schooley Mitchell and your organization is that you have really stick to your guns in your principles and processes while tweaking certain things along the way. You know, you went through the pandemic, you've weathered recessions, and you've always stuck to your morals and principles and processes as a franchise and as a franchisor and somebody looking in from the outside, that is always impressive. Tell us a little bit about Schooley Mitchell and just that thought about how you've succeeded so far with over 275 franchises since 2004 in the US, 2001 in Canada. But you've really kind of just kept this mainstream on track, the train on the track. [00:02:59] Speaker B: Well, I mean, thanks for that opinion, frankly. And it's been a lot of effort, a lot of money, a lot of time that we put into establishing what you just said. And, you know, our origins are in the professions, and hopefully my personality doesn't belie this, but I'm actually a CPA. And so I come from that background of professional services to business clients. And so all the people that are here, and we have over 130 people working in our head office now, all of that same, we're all pulling on that same rope trying to operate a professional business, make it resilient through, like you said, through things like recessions and pandemics and inflation and things like that. And that's what we created in the first place, to try to deliver to our clients through our franchisees, no matter what the environment. And I thank you for recognizing we've been able to do that for a long time now. [00:03:46] Speaker A: Yeah, sticking to your guns is pretty hard, and I use that term loosely, but sticking to your process is probably a better way to say it. And sticking to your principles as a franchisor, as a leader and someone who has led organizations and been on the franchisor side as well, it's not easy. I mean, especially in your organization where you have 130 people, plus you probably have 130 or 140 opinions. I mean, if you gave everybody a half an opinion, actually. [00:04:17] Speaker B: But between our franchisees and our head office, we have over 500 opinions. [00:04:21] Speaker A: There you go. I forgot about the franchisees. You're absolutely right. So when you have your executive meetings and you're laying out the strategies on how to save organizations money to make your franchisees successful, I mean, that's what it boils down to, keeping your franchisees interested in the business model, having them become financially successful as entrepreneurs. What are some of the things that you're discussing internally to, you know, I mean, as I said to you earlier, there's not a lot of change within your organization and what you do, except adding categories, I would think. [00:04:59] Speaker B: Yeah, and I was going to say that, I mean, even though there's been stability and professionalism and we've stuck to our ethics, we've certainly evolved and changed things over time in the sense that when we first started 25 years ago, basically we just did telecom consulting, and that's the only cost category that we did. We now have 16, and we're going to be adding three or four more before the end of this year. So there has always been evolving within our business, and yet we've got a road that we're going to follow. So we just think that that's the best model and it's a congruent model. Scott, you know, I mean, the really, the basic thing that we say from our franchisee to our client is, look, I can't make a nickel till I give you a dime. And that's the way that our system works. And really it's congruent between the client because if the client doesn't win, the franchisee doesn't win. If the franchisee doesn't win, we don't win at corporate either. So all three entities are really pulling in the same way to try to make for an efficient and less cost operation for that particular business. And that's what we do. [00:05:59] Speaker A: Your franchisees are what I would consider, and people that come to me for coaching and help researching and exploring are people that have a, quote, business mind, but also have a sales aptitude. There has to be a sales aptitude to be able to sit down, whether it's a CFO, a controller, somebody who's in the finance department, a department head, tell us a little bit about where you see the strengths of your franchisees that are successful, because this isn't a business that you're going to invest in and you're going to put up an ad in Facebook or in the old days, we put something in the yellow Pages, although some of our audience might not know what the yellow pages are, you and I can chuckle about that, where the phone is automatically going to start ringing. So talk about that sales aptitude, that networking side in regards to what schooley Mitchell offers clients in getting the message out. [00:06:57] Speaker B: Yeah, and I mean, we have a list of must haves related to that. And then there's a couple of basic skills that a person needs to have. So our list of must haves is that if someone has management or executive, sales, marketing or consulting experience, then we will talk to them because we know they can learn the things that we need to do to be effective as a franchisee. But if someone doesn't have one of those backgrounds, they're really not cut out for us. There's lots of businesses out there for lots of great people, but we want those people. But the two things that that person has to bring to the table are this. One, I have to be comfortable talking to other business people. So whether that's an owner or controller in a smaller business, or CEO, CEO, CFO in a larger business, as long as somebody's comfortable talking to those people. We're going to teach them what they need to say and how they have to control those conversations. But the other thing they need is just to be motivated to work at it, because our people just simply work a regular work week, and if they keep doing that, they succeed. The only people that don't make what they want to make are people that don't work at it, and we don't want them. [00:07:58] Speaker A: Right. Right. Now, one of the things that separates you from other related companies is the back end support within your organization. You know, 130 people, you're obviously providing, you know, good arm strength support to your franchisees. So the franchisee is coming in, they're going through the formal training, they're learning your best practices, systems, so forth. And now they get a client and they're reaching out to you for the assistance. Maybe you can walk some, one of our, some of our listeners, the listeners here on how that process works, because I've always been impressed with your back end support. And again, a franchisor, in order to be successful, has to have that back end support. [00:08:44] Speaker B: Yeah, 100%. And, you know, when we first started, like I mentioned a minute ago, we did just telecom, and we used to teach the franchisee how to do all the analysis work, which is, you know, one of the main things that we do. I mean, it's about getting clients and building relationships and getting referrals and getting renewals. That's what our franchisees do. That's stuff that, it's actually the fun stuff out there talking to people. [00:09:05] Speaker A: Right. [00:09:05] Speaker B: But we also used to teach them how to do the analytical stuff, which is not fun, you know, that's tearing through bills, that's being on hold for 3 hours, that's going through contracts. So we learned fairly quickly after we started that we needed to centralize that because some of our franchisees didn't like doing that part, others weren't very good at it. So consistency suffered. So it was years ago when we realized we need to centralize that and have all those skills at head office. So more than half of our 130 people are actually analysts. And so we've got specialists in every single department in terms of the expenses that we analyze, and they're the ones that do all that nitty gritty work. And it's not just a one time thing for each client. We look at their bills and their invoices every month for a three year period. So our people are doing that so our franchisees don't have to. We're squeezing out the nickels so the franchisee can bill their client for half the savings. [00:09:55] Speaker A: That's interesting. We're talking to Dennis Schooley, who is president and CEO and founder of Schooley Mitchell, which is a, I guess the best way to say it, and correct me if I'm wrong, is a cost reduction analysis company that provides a free service. Like you said, you're not getting paid until you actually show a savings to an organization. [00:10:14] Speaker B: No, that's right. We do the audit, the original work with, and we only share in whatever savings we create. So that's pretty good insurance for the client that they can have us look at it, make sure with our skills and our specific tools and assets that they're not overpaying. And if they're not, they don't have to pay us anything. If they are, then we're going to help them remedy that. [00:10:35] Speaker A: What are the advantages, and again, I think about pushback that some companies, CFO's, CEO's, may have. But what are the advantages to having an organization like Schooley Mitchell, a representative, someone who's fully trained in this, and then having a back end of analysts, a team that's going to help support them in the cost reduction savings versus doing it themselves, saying, hey look, if I really wanted to go out shopping, I can go out shopping. It really doesn't sound like you're just picking out some coupons in a magazine and then passing them on to the client. There's some really deep thought to all this and true savings, you know, that materialize over the months and years that you work with the company. [00:11:21] Speaker B: Well, we bring some special sauce to the formula, quite frankly. So we've got a database of 30,000 deals we've put together over time. So what that means is we know where the vendors can go. No matter how big the company is, they're still negotiating with their own invoice. That's it. And they can, you're right, if they take the time to do it, they can maybe get a small reduction. But we do that with that cloud of 30,000 deals and that knowledge that we know where they can go and the vendors know that we know where they can go. So that's what we bring to the table. We also have a database of over 4400 vendors. Now we don't sell anything, we're completely independent, we just provide advice. But we've got relationships with those companies where we know how to talk to people higher up. We're not generally on hold for that 3 hours where the individual person might have to be. So we know where to go to get those prices. And some companies will provide special schooley Mitchell pricing for our clients. Well, a client could never get that on their own. As a matter of fact, one of our franchisees who used to work for one of the vendors in one of our cost areas said the reason he came to schooly Mitchell is because we got better prices from his own company that he could get as a salesperson for that company. That's what we bring to the table. The other thing is we do it every month. So if a client is going to spend all the time looking at their merchant services bills and their courier bills and their telecom bills month after month after month, I would suggest they got better things to do. They're better at making money at what they do. Let us take care of that. We're going to get more money out of it anyway, just to go back. [00:12:52] Speaker A: To the vendor less, so to speak. This manual of vendors that you have, are these vendors that you have created relationships with, you know, I can think of a word, you know, that we use frequently in franchising validation, are these vendors that have gone through some sort of validation that you have trusted, that, you know, that when you say to somebody, hey, if you're going to turn X over, we suggest you turn x over to this vendor, that there's some backup as far as the credibility to that vendor that you're recommending. [00:13:28] Speaker B: Yeah, well, the first thing I'll say about that is 80% of the solutions we bring to the table for our clients, they're not changing vendors at all. They're using the same vendors they've already got. So that's one thing. But to your question, to your point, yes, we actually have a vendor relations department, and that's their job is to build relationships with these vendors, understand who they are, vet them, make sure they're solid, and we've got a database. And if there's any bad stuff that happens, that's going to get noted in the database, or we might just kick them right out, and then they're not going to have a chance to win those jobs with our clients. So the vendors want to work with us. You may think they don't like us, but in fact, the vendors want to be on the side of the table with schooley Mitchell because they want to be considered with each solution. We don't guarantee them anything. We just guarantee them consideration. If they're good actors, that's what we do. [00:14:14] Speaker A: That's interesting. That's interesting. Dennis, we talked about sales aptitude people that may have a marketing background, a sales background, what other type of credentials or skill sets, you know, networking. But is there any other kind of anything hidden as far as features that you look for? Because one of the reasons I bring that up is that one of the things that I've always been pressed with is that you are involved in the franchisee awarding process and that you find time to speak to potential franchisees as the CEO president, because it's important to you, and it means a lot to you that you're bringing in the right people to set people up to be successful. So what are some of the things that you've seen that don't work in people and maybe touch a little bit more on some of the things that, you know, not the common things that we would see, you know, sales, hey, you know, high five, that kind of thing. [00:15:12] Speaker B: You know, it's funny you ask that, because during our discovery day, which we have every two weeks, and it's all virtual. But one of the things we talk about at the end, when we summarize things, is what are we looking for? And the first point that I make when we talk about that particular list is we want somebody that can smile, somebody that's got a little bit of personality. Because, you know, people buy from people they like. All things being equal or not equal, they still buy from people they like. Well, people like people that have a little personality, so we want to look for that. And it's not a science, it's an art. And over 2025 years, we've developed a pretty good system to judge if we feel somebody's going to be likable, because that's going to have a. That's going to be a person that's more likely going to succeed if they've got a bit of personality. So that might sound silly, but we do absolutely look for that. [00:15:59] Speaker A: Interesting. Let's switch gears here for a second. Again, we're talking to Dennis Cooley, who is president and founder and CEO, I guess chief bottle washer, you name it. Chief people officer of Schooley Mitchell. Dennis, let's talk about the franchising industry just for a few minutes here for our listening audience. You came out of the accounting background as a CPA and you went the route of franchising, taking a business model. My guess is that, and again, some initial research I did is that this probably started out as an independent business, and then you decided that you wanted to grow it. But the best way to grow it was through franchising. What's the best guidance education. You can provide our listening office audience on franchising. It may not be your business, but what is it about franchising that people should really take a closer look at the opportunities that are out there? [00:16:56] Speaker B: Yeah, well, one thing I would say to those wannabe franchisors is there does need to be some secret sauce before you go and franchise. And we made sure that that was the case. And, you know, we had a consideration back then. Are we gonna. We knew that we had an opportunity to build something pretty big, and that's what I always wanted. And that's happened. That's come to fruition. But we realized that we could do that by hiring people across our two countries, you know, Canada and the United States. But we didn't want to hire and fire and motivate people. We would rather have someone own their own business and be motivated in their own right, create a great system for them, take a small portion through royalties. And we felt that was a better model. The only thing is, you do have to have a secret sauce to bring to that formula, which we do, and we did. And so we've created great tools and systems for our franchisees to use. You know, that's where it's so valuable. I would say there are a lot of franchisors out there that they don't have a secret sauce, quite frankly. And the franchise candidate should be looking for the differentiator. You know, is this an easy market to penetrate by anybody else that can compete with me? Well, then it shouldn't be a franchise. Right. [00:18:01] Speaker A: Right. That's interesting. Now, what about the franchisee side? Somebody who's listening to this and saying, hey, look, you know, I'm in this corporate rut where I was displaced. People look at franchise sometimes as going out and buying a job. I tell people that if that's what you're looking to do to be a business owner, then that save your money, put it into the stock market, do something else, put it in the cd, and wait until you get a job. But if somebody's considering really seriously thinking about getting out of corporate America or not going back into corporate America or maybe even diversifying a portfolio, they already are a franchise. Well, they're already franchised, but what is it about a franchise? You think that people should really consider becoming a franchisee and investing in a franchise besides doing it themselves? [00:18:50] Speaker B: Well, you know, there's a lot of reasons why franchises started in the first place, and that was because a system was developed, hopefully with some secret sauce of some type, and it becomes replicable. And so what that means is that it's kind of proven that it can work. All I have to really do as a franchisee is learn how it's working for the people that are doing it and being successful and commit myself to do those things. That's what a franchise is. Franchises shouldn't have people that are so entrepreneurial that they don't want to follow a system that's been established and yet there's a lot of autonomy. And that's why people want to get into a franchise, for the system, for the support, for the tools. And yet they can run their own business. And it's not buying a job if you're in a good system. Now some are, but in the case of a model like this, for example, you can run it on your own or you can hire people if you want to. There's an exit strategy at the end of the day because every client's got an annuity attached to it. Those are things you should be considering when you're looking at an investment into a system. And those are reasons why a franchise system should start up in the first place, is they bring those things to the table. But if you think about us, for example, and you think about running a professional business, because that's what we are, you know, we're like an accountant or a lawyer or a financial planner. We don't do a tax or law, but we're like that. So when you think of that, every email, every letter, every checklist, every agreement that you would ever need in running a professional business is already in our system. Now that's a value. And why someone would want to join a system like this rather than trying to create all that on your own, that's really a part of what a good franchise system should provide to. [00:20:31] Speaker A: And it's interesting because you brought up exit strategy, and it's Scott milesfranchisecoach.com dot. We talk a lot about exit strategy, and if you're building an annuity that you can sell because there isn't an attachment to that, it creates an exit strategy, a profit center for something down the road or maybe even transferred into family or pass it on to children or something like that. Dennis, any last words you'd like to share with our audience today about franchising schooley Mitchell? Maybe you could tell us the website. I know they can reach out to you on LinkedIn. It's Dennis and it's Schuley. Schedule. O l l e y. But any last comments before we let you go? [00:21:13] Speaker B: Well, you know, I think we tick a lot of boxes in our particular business for people that are our business people. We're looking for business people that want to deal with business people. You know, we're not a, b, two c concept, but, you know, we have things like residual income flow. We're recession proof. We're scalable. We do have a great exit value. There's an altruistic value here, too, that because, you know, every time you make a nickel, like I said earlier, you're giving somebody else a dime. So you're helping other businesses or nonprofits towards their own goals. And that's a pretty big reward to our franchisees, too. So, you know, all those things, fairly low cost of entry, very low overhead. Most of our people work from home. Those are all the things that we bring to the table. And, you know, there's a lot of people looking for those boxes to tick, and we generally tick. [00:21:56] Speaker A: That's interesting. Yeah. I mean, I always think of the cliche, the saying that in a model like yours, and it's a very impressive model, is that you can keep it as simple as you want, build it as big as you want, and stop when you want to. I mean, it's not complicated. While you may have a number of different categories versus cost reduction savings, it's not a very complicated process or a lot of moving parts to manage as a franchisee. [00:22:29] Speaker B: It's really not. I mean, our basic message, we got better scripts in this, of course, but our basic message to people is, look, we know you're spending more than you should on this, this, this, and that. Can I have a shot to get you some money back? That's it, right? It's really that, right? [00:22:41] Speaker A: Yeah. Well, Dennis, listen, we appreciate you connect with Dennis on LinkedIn. Schoolie Mitchell website. Schoolie mitchell.com. i think it is, if I'm correct. That's correct. [00:22:53] Speaker B: That's correct. [00:22:54] Speaker A: Reach out to. Or if anybody has any questions about the business model, feel free to reach out to me. Dennis, it's been great sharing information with you. Your expertise and guidance is, you know, is well appreciated within the industry. So we hope to get you back in the next six months for an update on what's going on. So that would be great. Yeah. You and I could probably sit here and have a conversation about the industry in general. We could probably talk for hours. But anyway, this is Scott. Scotty Milos, your host of allthingsconsideredfranchising.com dot. You can review all of our close to 100 episodes now. Creeping up on 100 pretty close to it. Now on all things considered, franchising.com dot. You can check us out on all the podcast channels as well. You can also reach [email protected] if you have any questions regarding business ownership or researching and exploring opportunities, there's no obligation to the process. Until next time, this is Scott. Scotty Mila saying so long, Dennis, once again, thank you very much. [00:23:58] Speaker B: Thanks for having me, Scott.

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