AEON, Inc.

Franchise Q&A with Eric Meyer, CMO of AEON, INC

How was your franchise/opportunity originally conceived and started?

After being the first telecommunications consultant in the world and creating several successful companies, CEO Richard Minervino Sr. decided to turn his telecommunication resale business into a franchise opportunity in 2017.

Richard Minervino Sr. created the AEON franchise as a Home Based business opportunity. With the use of our WowBox technology we simplify the sales process for our franchisees and position them as a trusted advisor to their clients. The leadership team at AEON has a phenomenal background in running large organizations, and has defined the marketing and business development model used to attract and generate interest in our services.  

What was your original vision for your company? How has that changed over time?

The original vision for AEON was to utilize the telecommunications sales agents and channel partners to sell our various products and services. These sales agents don’t own their customer base and are often at the mercy of the telecom provider. We took this business model and made it into the AEON franchise.

Now AEON franchisees own their customers and build equity over time as they grow their customer base. AEON can now build up a loyal franchise owner with the aid of the WowBox and AEON Sales Portal. 

What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a franchise?

Location is key to owning a successful franchise. The more businesses you have in your territory the better, and being in close proximity to your client’s is only going to help you to succeed as a franchisee.

Why should someone choose your franchise over other similar franchises?

The AEON franchise is unique and is truly the only telecommunications franchise opportunity in the market. But if you were to compare AEON to another home based business, there are two competing factors that make AEON stand out, Support and Time to Market.  We support our franchisees every step of the way, from pre-to-post sale and customer support.  The time it takes to get your franchise up and running is far less than most franchises.

What makes your industry attractive?

Telecommunications is an ever-growing marketplace and a $6.5 trillion worldwide industry. AEON’s IT franchise is a new way of servicing the growing communications needs of customers here in the United States and throughout the world. The products and services that AEON offers are always in high demand.

What types of qualities do you look for in potential franchisees?

Although there may be a number of viable franchisee profiles, AEON Management believes that it should try to attract franchisees that meet the following criteria:

  • Strong sales and customer service abilities - Are you comfortable meeting new people and holding a conversation? We take most of the sales work out of the picture, but the franchisee still needs to make a connection with their client. They do not need to be an industry expert! With our Wow Box Technology, the background is not as important as it once was.  The Wow Box does all of the heavy lifting for the sales presentation.
  • Good with Timing and Schedule Management - The busy schedule of an AEON franchisee will keep the owner busy during the week. Each franchisee will need to be punctual to all WowBox meetings and keep on top of their schedule.
  • Problem Solver - A franchisee should be able to think on their feet and must be a proficient problem-solver.  They must be able to relate to clients, they must be able to negotiate, and they should not be abrasive or combative with any client.
  • High personal standards - Excellence, honesty, and integrity are critical for the franchisees to have. The customer is their number one priority, and servicing clients and delivering the services upon which AEON has built its reputation is very important.
  • Able to meet initial investment requirements - AEON franchisees should have about $65,900 in investment capital to account for working capital, start-up costs, marketing dollars and initial franchise fees to get their AEON off the ground. Financing is available through our third party partners. Do they need assistance with financing?

Ideal Candidates for AEON

  • Proficient Salespeople
  • Former Telecom / IT Professionals
  • Entrepreneurs/Investors
  • Families – Husband / Wife Teams who would like to start a business

What do your franchise fees and royalties cover?

We have no royalties, but we do have a System management Fee that covers the wholesale cost of the goods and services sold from our carrier relationships. And  1% of your gross sales goes into a Marketing fund.

How do territories work for your franchisees?

Franchisees will not receive an exclusive territory.  We will be offering franchises to be located within specific territories, the size of which will be determined in our sole discretion.  Ideally, we would limit the number of franchises to be operated in a territory to 1 per 10,000 businesses then being operated within the territory.  Franchisee is entitled to sell approved goods and services throughout the District of Columbia and the 50 states comprising the United States of America.  

Why has your franchise model been successful?

Our franchise model is unique and new to the franchise world, but a is a proven, successful business model with a huge marketplace and continues to grow year after year. 

Where do you see your franchise in 5 years and 10 years?

AEON management has indicated it would like to grow at a rate that does not exceed its ability to replicate the factors that have contributed to its own success – control the growth and maintain quality of the operating units.  By controlling the growth and limiting the franchise opportunity to qualified buyers in markets that can be supported with reasonable management costs, the likelihood of success for AEON is greatly increased.  Thus, in looking at the next five years, AEON expects to award 177 franchises.

What is your favorite advice for new franchisees to help them succeed?

Follow the plan, and if you are new to the business world, you might feel better knowing that AEON offers a robust and comprehensive training program along with ongoing support. 

What would you tell potential franchisees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a franchise?

AEON requires what is considered a low cost franchise investment. Our franchisees will need at least $65,900 in investment capital to get started and we break that number down in detail on our website. There are many funding options available to help small business owners, and most franchises including AEON can help refer you to potential lenders.

On average, how long does it take to start a new franchise from the franchisees point of view?

Some franchises have a long, arduous training process and the time-to-start-up is substantial. At AEON, however, you could be signing your first customer and collecting your first check within just two weeks.

What was your background and experience before founding this franchise?

For more than five decades, Mr. Minervino has worked in telecommunications. He got started at Southern New England Telephone earning 85 cents per hour. In no time, he moved up through the company’s ranks to become the top salesman. He knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur, so he borrowed $3,500 from the Telephone Credit Union and started the world’s first communications consulting practice. He and his company were the first in the industry, traveling worldwide as a Telecommunications Consultant. He served clients on every continent except Antarctica before Booz Allen Hamilton — a famous management consulting firm — recruited him to help them start a communications consulting practice.

Mr. Minervino was more than the first communications consultant; he used his bright mind and knack for innovation to develop a microwave system in Puerto Rico, which circumvented the Puerto Rican Telephone Company before it was deregulated for Commonwealth Oil, Mitsubishi, and Union Carbide. His long client list features some of the biggest business names in American business: IBM, Dean Witter, Duracell, A.T. Cross, Perrier Group, Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton, and others.

He is skilled at innovating and developing in his industry. He owns a number of copyrights and patents for communications solutions and so much more. For example, his invention and development of call accounting — which he personally sold to dozens of insurance companies including Phoenix Mutual, Aetna, Conn. Mutual, and more — made a difference in those companies’ bottom lines. Here are a few more of the companies he has worked closely with:

  • Wall Street firms
  • Ogilvy & Mather, Grey, J. Walter Thompson, and other major ad agencies
  • Oil companies
  • Fortune 50, 100, 500, and 1000 firms
  • 86 IBM locations
  • IT&T for facilities in the Virgin Islands and Central America

For his work with IT&T, Mr. Minervino worked closely with Harold Geneen, the company’s chairman. Additionally, he was Leon Hess’s consultant, designing the security and communications facilities for all Amerada Hess locations, including the refinery in St. Croix.

He has had his hands in everything, developing billing and operational support systems for wireless and long distance resale industries (hundreds of companies including Nextel, Citizens Utilities, and AT&T) as well as a student billing system for over 50 institutions of higher education, including Harvard.

He developed billing and operating support systems for the wireless and long distance resale industries serving Nextel, Citizens Utilities, AT&T, Bell South and hundreds of others. He developed a university student billing system for Harvard University and 51 other colleges and universities.

Mr. Minervino has had a long, productive career so far, and is the founder, owner, and CEO of all of the Minervino Companies. These companies have been able to stay on the cutting edge, evolving over the years to offer a wide variety of services to meet all our clients’ needs.

Across five decades, Mr. Minervino has held onto his core philosophy: “You can’t go wrong doing the right thing.”

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