Guidant Builds Partnerships to Go Beyond Financing Start Ups
Guidant Financial’s CEO David Nilssen felt he and his team had great relationships with franchisors. The company, which focuses on providing SBA loans, 401(k) rollover financing and unsecured credit to start-up franchisees, wanted to further strengthen those relationships.
“Building those relationships has been challenging because we would only finance the first store,” he said. “But the franchisors need help with financing franchisees with second or third stores, and store upgrades. We just weren’t able to build relationships with the entire system.” In 2014, he decided to change that.
Guidant has entered into a partnership with MultiFunding, a loan advisory that helps existing small businesses access capital through SBA loans, peer-to-peer lending, merchant capital and more. The idea began to formulate when senior services franchise ComForcare asked Guidant to help with an overleveraged franchisee. According to Nilssen, Guidant and MultiFunding worked together to provide a bridge loan to take out layers of debt, eventually consolidating it into an SBA loan.
“It saved that franchisee’s business,” said Nilssen, “and it was a big win for the franchise system.” With that transaction, they learned they could work together to provide a one-stop shop for franchisees financing their first store on up. They’ve been since working with UPS Stores, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and others to put it to the test.
They’ve also partnered with online lending marketplace BoeFly.com: Borrowers put their loan package on the BoeFly site, while at the same time, lenders search the site to find customers they can finance. It’s a dating site, if you will, for borrowers and lenders.
Their partnership with BoeFly will give Guidant customers exclusive benefits of its lending marketplace and unlimited use of its bQual business loan prequalification tool.
For franchisors, it streamlines the process for qualifying their prospective franchise candidates, and helps them build out future stores faster.
Guidant offers one point of contact, an account manager, for each brand—“there is more than one organization involved in the funding so this makes it easier on the borrower and the franchise system,” said Nilssen.
He’s aggressive: Guidant put $290 million to work in 2014, and Nilssen is asking his staff to grow that to $350 million this year. He’s thinking that’s something: He reports it would account for 25,000 new jobs and $2.0 billion in economic impact.
“If we only did $325 million, I would be disappointed we didn’t hit the target,” he says. “But I would still be proud of the impact we had.”