Mover and Shaker 

Dalton Franklin, 18, runs his own consulting company

Dalton Franklin, 18, runs his own consulting company

When summer finally rolled around this year, most teenagers breathed a sigh of relief, knowing they had almost three stress-free months ahead of them.

Dalton Franklin was not one of them.

By mid-June, the recent Montgomery Bell Academy graduate had put his own computer consulting firm, Simplicity, into full swing. When the idea to start his own business came to him earlier this year, Franklin knew it would be hard work—but hard work is what he thrives on. So, after gathering up a group of interested friends and sending job descriptions to local colleges, he assembled a team of young, talented minds and got to work.

Simplicity is all about convenience. On the back of his business card, Franklin states his company’s purpose: “Unlike other computer service providers, Simplicity brings affordable services from people you can trust directly to your home, according to your schedule, in a language you can understand.” The card also lists their services: advice about technology purchases, one-on-one instruction, and computer maintenance and repair. Franklin even haggled with the phone company for hours to get Simplicity’s phone number: EASY-797.

Launching a new business may seem like quite a task for someone who hasn’t even begun his freshman year in college, but Franklin has been working with computers as a network technician for Provident Properties since he was 15 years old. He spent three years doing business technology consulting, where he learned that most of the demand in the market is actually for the instruction of individuals who want to learn about practical uses for their computers, as opposed to custom developments and high-level solutions. Thus, the idea for Simplicity was born.

At the end of this month, Franklin will begin a new career—college. Originally slated to attend Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, Franklin decided to switch to Vanderbilt. “Things are going well for me right now, and I’d like to stay in town,” Franklin says. Now serving over 30 clients (and growing), Franklin is proud of Simplicity’s success in Nashville. In the long term, he would like to see the company expand to other regions. For now, though, he is looking to increase the number of local employees, as many of his current staff will be leaving for college this fall.

You might wonder how a teenager can balance such a professional life with a teenager’s scholastic responsibilities. The answer lies with Franklin’s seemingly unlimited energy. Tied up in meetings with clients and staff all day, Franklin still makes time to see his friends every night. “Working with Dalton has been motivational for me,” says close friend and Simplicity employee Rip Trammell. “Not only is Dalton driven and hard-working, but underneath his professional exterior he’s also a personable and fun-loving guy.” Franklin says his lifestyle is sometimes tiring, but he has no regrets. After all, he’s doing what he loves.

Longtime client Jeff Morris, owner of Goldie’s Deli, notes that Franklin is “very aggressive for an 18-year-old.” He adds that Franklin “is always energetic and excited about the work he does for me. He goes out of his way to help us with our computer software and whenever we have a problem, he’s right there to fix it.” Luckily, Franklin notes, he hasn’t encountered any discrimination based on the age of the majority of his employees. “There are so many kids in this field, from ages 18 to 25, that it’s never been a problem—even when I was doing much more complicated stuff in the past.”

In the future, Franklin would like to continue his involvement in the field of technology. Eventually he’s interested in pursuing entrepreneurial consulting—coaching start-up companies and helping them get on their feet. The quintessential people person, Franklin loves helping others. “I’m glad he got into technology,” says his mother, Beth Franklin, “because now he can bring his knowledge of computers to people like me.”

For more information on Simplicity, visit their Web site at www.simplicitycorp.net or call (615) EASY-797.

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