Q. 1 Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.

Ans : 4 Pillars is one of the largest independent debt relief and financial rehabilitation companies in Canada. Our sole mandate is to represent the needs of the debtor, to be able to advocate for and to help the debtor find and implement the most effective debt relief strategy without any conflict of funding or how our fees are charged. We help resolve immediate financial crisis whilst ensuring our clients’ long term financial goals are brought closure not pushed further away. We offer extended financial education and support to help ensure our clients live debt free, achieve their financial dreams and never face financial crisis again. We have over 60 offices located right across Canada

Q. 2 Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).

Ans : Reg has over 40 years of service, finance, and management experience and leads the dynamic team at 4 Pillars Consulting Group Inc. as a founder and President.

Reg took his entrepreneurial spirit & proven skills and ventured into the world of self-employment in the mid 90’s started consulting to corporations struggling to meet their financial obligations to their creditors, this eventually evolved to fill a gap in the consumer insolvency industry and to provide debtors needing additional support, education, their own dedicated representation and a comprehensive financial rehabilitation plan. Reg’s goal is to ensure a debtor always has choice and access to their own advocate through an insolvency and has a lofty goal of one day eliminating consumers facing repeat financial crisis by constantly improving the financial literacy and education offered to debtors

Over the past 16 years Reg has served as President and managing partner to 4 Pillars and has also acted as the Chief Restructuring Officer to various private and public companies.

Reg’s experience and knowledge in the financial and insolvency world has allowed him to share, train and educate others. Today 4 Pillars has grown to 63 offices operating across Canada and their role is to advocate for and support consumers struggling with debt and other complex financial situations. 4 Pillars commitment always remains with the debtor during insolvency and throughout their financial rehabilitation to learn and manage money so they can plan for a prosperous future. Reg leads a very diverse and talented team at 4 Pillars.

Q. 3 What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?

Ans : 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.

Q. 4 What three pieces of advice would you give to budding {your industry/trade/specialty}?

Ans : Don’t give in, you will face constant challenges in business and you must face anything thrown at you, and sometimes you will have to dip really deep to get through the tough times but in the end it’s very rewarding.

Believe in what you do, you created a business based on a belief you can change an industry or a customer experience and when others in the industry tell you it wont work or its not the right time in ‘our’ industry, stick with your plan, if your business is improving a customer experience it is needed, and others in the industry may fear change.

Never under estimate the work involved. If you set goals and targets and don’t achieve them, the first thing people naturally do is quit or revise the goal. Its not the goal that was unachievable it was the fact you underestimated the work required to achieve that goal.

Q. 5 What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful {your industry/trade/specialty}?

Ans :

  • A passion to help people and to do the right thing
  • Make decisions based on the needs of your customer ahead of anything else
  • Be completely transparent, let the customer know exactly what you stand for and never deviate from that regardless of pressures and challenges you may receive from others in your industry.

Q. 6 How many hours do you work a day on average?

Ans : Much to the frustration of my wife sometimes the answer is ‘a lot’. We have offices in 6 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 our dedicated group means the entire management team are available to help them, when they are helping their clients.

Q. 7 To what do you most attribute your success?

Ans : 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 families is inspirational and constantly reminds us why we are in business and pushes us to do more to help them through the services we offer, meaning by constantly listening to and meeting the needs of our customers we stay one step ahead of the industry. Money is responsible for our attitudes, our confidence in and our relationships with family and friends. Money has a greater hold over all of us than we would ever care to admit and understanding this truly helps us understand what it means to face financial challenges and what it takes to resolve them.

Q. 8 How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Ans : We have a diverse strategy including online marketing, building national partnerships and our offices building local partnerships. Ultimately, we believe that our clients tell the story best and we all want to exceed their expectations, so they leave 5 star reviews and spread the word about the good work we do.

Q. 9 Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?

Ans : 4 Pillars has 60+ locations now. But we didn’t begin with a huge investment. We’re not a giant bank or faceless institution. Although we began with very limited financial investment, we had a huge personal investment to make this business work. We started out helping a few friends and struggling businesses with their debt problems.

Our early business was working mainly with struggling companies, a lot of companies we worked with were well beyond help and ultimately ended up closing. This exposed the owners to large personal debts to the business creditors they had been required to personally guarantee and CRA through director’s liabilities. We watched many business owners try and navigate the debt industry on their own, many going through bankruptcy as it was the only option presented and many settling for the first option available as they didn’t believe they had the right to their own representation, or the right to shop around for the best solution. Dealing with debt is one of the biggest financial decisions that is made and can have long lasting implications. We spotted a niche in the industry and that no-one in the debt industry truly represented the best interests of the debtor which was contrary to the financial services and legal industry and seemed a complete disservice to a debtor to not have this choice available.

Q. 10 What is the best way to achieve long-term success?

Ans : Out work those around you and have a passion for what you do. At 4 Pillars the owners work tirelessly everyday to out work, out think and out innovate its competition. The only way to achieve long term success is work every day like some one is trying to take away what you have built and never sit back and settle as customer needs a constantly changing and we are all in an environment that means you have to adapt to meet the increased needs of a customer or you could be out of business tomorrow.

Q. 11 Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?

Ans : I see our business continuing to disrupt our industry and we will continue to drive change through innovation and exceeding the needs of the consumer. We have an amazing team at 4 Pillars with people a lot younger than me ready to step to the plate, but I see myself always being part of the company I co-founded and built on a commitment and a passion to help people. Whilst I am still able to out work those around me and I am adding value and able to keep moving the company in the right direction I plan on sticking around.

Q. 12 Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Ans : I think it would be Uber, it has disrupted an antiquated industry by seeing an opportunity to better meet the needs of the consumer. The onslaught Uber faced and continues to face is not motivated by concern for consumers, who tend to love Uber, the attack is coming from the Taxi drivers who want the government to protect them from competition and are now scrambling to maintain their privileged position and force changes that will be detrimental to the consumer. Any time you remove choice from an industry and someone isn’t willing to step up and challenge a monopoly you stop the industry evolving and the consumer is ultimately the one that will always lose out. How many businesses have failed – or never come into existence at all – because their founders lack the commitment and resources to wage a legal and public relations battle like Uber has done? What great new products and services have consumers been denied as a result?