From Unemployed to Employer: Providing more options at the NWA Job Fair

By Ray Ellen, Intermediary with CBI-Sunbelt in Lowell, AR

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On Monday, May 4th, 2009, CBI-Sunbelt attended the NWA Job Fair at the John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers, AR. It started at noon and lasted until seven that evening. As I walked back through the lobby at 11:45, I could not believe my eyes. The line was all the way out the door of the JQH Center! People were eagerly awaiting new opportunities and a chance to find something better for themselves. I could not wait to tell them what WE had to offer!

So why were we there? Are we always looking for new, high quality brokers and advisors? Yes! Was that our primary reason for setting up a booth at the job fair? No!

The number one reason we attended the job fair was to locate “corporate refugees” and inform them about our “401(k) Rollover Plan for Buying a Business”. Many of these refugees are former executives, managers, and supervisors who have recently been laid off and are now looking for an income. Many have leadership or executive experience as well as access to a 401(k). They are perfect candidates to buy a good business and start working for themselves.

About the 401(k) Rollover Plan

In addition to our Premier Lending Partner (PLP) program that has opened up more financing options for buyers (while the rest of the credit market is tightening), we also offer the option for buyers to use their 401(k) retirement plan without tax or penalty to buy a business. As recently reported by 1Worth Sparkman in the Arkansas Business Journal;

[CBI-Sunbelt] works with the Whitlock Pyle Group in Houston, which can take a 401(k) or any approved retirement account, and roll it into a new 401(k) profit sharing plan that will help fund a “C” corp. The result is that a buyer can typically use some or all of their retirement savings as the down payment on a business. As long as the business performs well, the retirement savings continue to grow.

About the Job Fair

With the NWA unemployment rate hovering around 25.4%, we knew there would be a big turnout. In 2008, organizers stated that they had about 1,500 participants and expected that number to double this year. Most of the patrons were only searching for a job that provided some form of immediate income or salary, but we asked them to think outside of the box; be their own boss; buy their next income and then we showed them how! We saw a lot of “job seekers” smile and realize that they do have more options, even in this economy. We gave them opportunity and asked them to think differently about their future. The response was exactly what we had hoped! Almost everyone we talked with had at least thought about owning their own business, if not owned a business previously. Job seekers walked up to our booth looking for a “job” and left thinking as an entrepreneur, a future business owner. There are many leads to follow up with and I hope to attend more of these in the future!

It was a pleasure to be a part of and just one more way that we, CBI-Sunbelt, help people sell and buy businesses!

1source: Arkansas Business Journal
source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


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