Kerley begins the interview by talking about what we do. “Benetrends has been around for 30 years, helping entrepreneurs fund the business of their dreams. We are actually the original architects of a strategy that allows an entrepreneur to use their retirement funds, such as an IRA or a 401(k), 403(b), to purchase their business, tax deferred or penalty free.”
- Now that’s interesting, because one of the underpinning philosophies under your various tax deferred elements is arm’s length detachment, like Self-Directed IRAs. How do you work around that?
This is totally different than a Self-Directed IRA. In a Self-Directed IRA you are only allowed to make investment in a passive investment. With the 401(k) Rollover or ROBS program as the IRS calls it, you are allowed to buy and purchase an active business and be a participant and employee within that business. In fact, you can take a salary from those proceeds to pay yourself until the business gets up and running.
- You’ve got to love that! Over 3 decades you’ve been doing this, is that how long the company has been in existence?
Yes, we started back in 1983, Len Fischer, our founder, started this process. We also do SBA Loans, Securities Backed Loans, Business Insurance, and a variety of other solution for small business owners.
- When did you start offering franchises?
We don’t offer franchises; we help people fund franchises. All the entrepreneurs at the Franchise Expo South looking for a new business, Benetrends is helping them fund the business of their dream.
- That’s brilliant, do you attend many of the expos around the country?
Typically, we travel to most of the expos, there are three of the Franchise expos, we go to the IFA and other business events as well.
- How big is the company and where is it corporately located?
We have 70 employee and have representatives out in California, St. Louis, Atlanta, Denver, but we are based out of North Wales, PA, just outside Philadelphia.
- Is there a particular area of the country that has been showing more interest? Give us a view of the landscape out there.
Well, typically as you would expect, California is always a hot spot, but Texas is right up there as well, the same with New York and New Jersey.
- The last few years it seems like the economy has been struggling, and a s a result its creating a mixed bag, to me it sounds like it could be creating more opportunity for franchises, or for franchises to be able to get out there, simply because they have to find something to do. They had golden cuff links, and now they have to walk away with a severance package, they may have had a 401(k), are you seeing a lot of that?
Absolutely, we call it them corporate refugees, they are either tired of working on the corporate mouse trap or have been downsized and are looking to start a business, they are probably our best type of clients.