Q&A with Mike Rozman, CEO & Co-Founder of BoeFly
So you’ve decided to buy a franchise. Great! Of all the benefits franchising offers would-be business owners, the question still remains, “Where will I get the funds to finance my business?”
Entering the world of business financing can be intimidating, especially for those new to business ownership. Recently Franchise Gator sat down with Mike Rozman, CEO and Co-Founder at BoeFly, an online loan exchange that connects small business owners with business lenders, to discuss how their streamlined process can make securing a business loan easier for potential franchisees.
How does BoeFly differ from other services that assist in lending to franchisees?
“Since 2010, BoeFly has helped franchisees from more than 600 different brands so we understand a franchisee’s needs. BoeFly is unique in that we help franchisees secure efficient, competitive financing by combining amazing US-based customer service with patented technology and a marketplace of lenders from around the country.”
What can a potential franchisee expect from the qualification process?
“Prospective franchisees typically start by getting their bQual Report to become educated about how lenders will ultimately judge them. This takes less than 5 minutes to complete. From there, franchisees can sign-up to work with a dedicated BoeFly financing expert who will stay with them throughout their financing search.”
“Next, we hold a detailed kick-off call, scheduled at the franchisee’s convenience, to fully understand the franchisee’s financing needs. BoeFly collects the documents we know banks will need – and we do this using secure technology to keep the franchisee’s info safe. Then we match the financing request with the right lender from our large network, from community banks to big national players. From there, the franchisee is connected directly with their lender and they are full speed ahead to close their franchise loan.”
Can you tell us more about the bQual™ product?
“Franchisees can use bQual to best understand their financing position, often before they ever buy a franchise. bQual gives a franchisee their consumer FICO score, their FICO SBSS score (required by the SBA) and their credit report all without impacting their credit. It’s like getting a mortgage prequalification before you go home shopping.”
What kind of qualifications do you look for in a potential borrower?
“Because BoeFly is not a direct lender we don’t have specific qualifications. That said, we know our lenders’ criteria and it does vary greatly. We know some lenders will require collateral and a certain equity investment while others are only are concerned with the franchisees credit score.”
Why would a potential franchisee have an easier time getting funding through BoeFly vs using a traditional bank?
“Each bank has its own criteria and only rarely will they share this openly with applicants. For instance, there are banks that only lend to franchisees from brands with 500 or more units. Our job at BoeFly is to match a franchisee with the right lender from an array of lenders – some right in the franchisee’s community and some which the franchisee has never heard of before.”
Can you tell us about franchises that have had success with BoeFly?
“We’ve helped franchisees from more than 600 brands so the list is long. To name a few, we’ve helped franchisees from mature brands like Checkers, Jamba Juice, Meineke, Brightstar Care and Papa Murphy’s, as well as large emerging brands like Tropical Smoothie Café and Nothing Bundt Cakes, and start-up brands like Delta Disaster Recovery, Duck Donuts and Hard Exercise Works. “
Do you have a favorite success story?
“I think my favorite success stories center on franchisees who are new to franchising. Very often these folks are anxious about the unknown and might have even heard a horror story about someone who got the run around from a bank who promised the world but failed to deliver. Take Jeff Slama, a first-time franchise owner with AAMCO who had always dreamed of business ownership. Jeff was slightly anxious about the financing process since he had never applied for a business loan before but was directed to BoeFly by AAMCO and we were able to match him with an SBA loan to fulfill his dream.”
Can BoeFly help an existing business get lending as well?
“Yes, BoeFly helps existing franchisees and new ones alike. Existing franchisees can use BoeFly for a range of needs like opening new units, remodeling their existing locations, purchasing equipment or refinancing existing debt. For instance, take Jim Campbell, a Checkers franchisee looking to become a multi-unit operator. Jim turned to BoeFly to secure financing for his third restaurant and we were able to help him locate expansion capital with an SBA loan.”
How do franchisors work with BoeFly?
“Leading franchise brands have incorporated BoeFly to help their franchisees. Many brands provide bQual, BoeFly’s financial education tool, to ensure franchisees best understand their financial wherewithal. Brands also turn to BoeFly to have asset verification and background checks completed on franchise applicants which reduce the load on the brand and frees them to focus on helping the franchisee in other areas, such as site selection. And brands, of course, use BoeFly to ensure their franchisees are most efficiently navigating the financing journey. The sooner the franchisee has financing, the sooner they can be open! Finally, franchisors leverage BoeFly to track their franchisees’ progress. BoeFly has created a real-time dashboard so the brand can have a clear view into what was for too long a foggy process.”
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About Mike Rozman
Mike Rozman is CEO and Co-Founder of BoeFly. Mike is passionate about helping small business owners most efficiently secure competitive financing to start a business or grow an existing business. He’s been committed to bringing innovation to the franchise industry so brands can successfully address the unique capital access needs of their new and existing franchisees. Previously, Mike was the President and Co-Founder of Edgeware Analytics, the company that served as the founding platform for BoeFly. Prior to starting Edgeware in 2003, Mike was a Vice President at JPMorgan Chase in its Global Bank.
Mike earned a dual-MBA from Columbia Business School and the London Business School and a BS from Boston College. Mike serves on the International Franchise Association’s Supplier Board and in 2013 became a Certified Franchise Executive.