Veteran Franchisor Background – Guidant Financial

Guidant Financial  |  |

A Rolling Start  |

Published in the November/December 2012 issue of print Search & Employ®  |

Since 2003, Guidant Financial has helped more than 8,000 individuals invest $3 billion into small business and franchising. The company is the nation’s largest provider of rollovers for business startups (ROBS). This mechanism enables men and women to use their retirement funds to start a business or franchise without taking a taxable distribution. An individual rolls over his or her existing 401(k), thrift savings plan (TSP), or other qualified funds into a new corporation.

Many entrepreneurs do not realize that this option is available to them – or that this method of financing can be combined with other financing methods to produce the entire amount required. The advantages of using a ROBS mechanism include:

•  eliminating personal liability by avoiding the use of real estate as collateral

•  increasing business success rates by taking money that would be used for loan interest and instead investing it back into the business

•  maximizing resources by combining one’s own funds with those of a business partner or spouse

•  faster business openings because the financing can be done in three weeks or less

Guidant Financial is a part of the Operation Enduring Opportunity campaign, which is led by the International Franchise Association ( and Joining Forces ( The campaign aims to put 100,000 veterans back to work by the year 2014. As part of Guidant’s commitment, the company provides special offerings for veteran entrepreneurs, including:

•  a complimentary copy of the book Making the Jump into Small Business Ownership by David Nilssen and Jeff Levy; Nilssen is the CEO and co-founder of Guidant Financial

•  a 10% discount on the company’s iFinance ROBS services

•  through December 2012, the opportunity to apply for an iFinance funding scholarship.

One recipient of this scholarship, United States Air Force veteran Mark Larson, was looking for both a job and a business he could buy or start when he found Guidant Financial.

“Working with Guidant Financial was very simple. I was concerned about how difficult it would be, but those fears were unfounded. I was walked through each step, and the attorney I was paired with was great.” Larson is now realizing his dream of owning a wine tasting room.

Another Guidant scholarship recipient is Army veteran John Hartigan. He applied his years of experience in consulting, construction, vending, and Internet business and formed the Technology Management Group.

His company provides information technology and professional services, including: secure facility construction; network infrastructure; furniture design and provisioning; and environmental management. In business less than a year, the company’s many customers already include the voice and data network firm ANH Communications and Switzerland International Air Lines Ltd.

Hartigan’s advice for men and women wanting to leap into entrepreneurship:

•  pick a business that you would enjoy running

•  have patience during the extensive paperwork process

•  network as much as possible

•  set a realistic schedule

Hartigan credits his time in the military for much of his success as an entrepreneur. “The key takeaway for us is that the fundamentals that we learned being a service family have translated into being successful in the business world,” he said.

About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers