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Small Business Advice & Solutions

4 Ways to get working capital for your business

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Is limited access to working capital holding you back from achieving the growth aspirations you have for your small business? A recent small business survey conducted by Xero found that in any given month, about half of Australian small businesses are cash flow negative, with more money leaving the business than flowing into it.

Years ago, the funding options available to small business owners were relatively limited, with bank loans and capital injections from private investors the most common sources of additional working capital. Today’s small business owner has plenty of choice – but it’s important to select the right working capital solution for your business. The right funding solution for you will depend on how much money you need, how long you need the funds for, and your financial position.

working capital

 

There are many different forms of funding – we explore some of the most popular options below. Read on to learn more about various types of funding and discover whether it might be right for your small business.

 

Invoice Finance

Invoice finance (also known as debtor finance) allows you to access funding using your accounts receivable ledger as collateral. These funds can be used for any business-related expenses – from buying new equipment to paying operating costs or unexpected bills.

Whom it’s best for: B2B businesses with cash flow gaps due to slow payment of invoices.

 

Advantages of invoice finance:

  • Simple application process
  • Great for smoothing cash flow, overcoming cash shortages and providing a sustainable cash flow solution longer term
  • You can access cash as soon as your client invoices are sent

Disadvantages of invoice finance:

  • May only provide you with a percentage of the total invoiced amount
  • Designed to support cash flow rather than as a loan for specific one off purchases

 

Unsecured Business Loan

An unsecured business loan is a short-term facility that provides funds which can be used for any business-related expenses. No collateral (security) is required which means that interest rates for this type of funding are usually quite high.

Advantages of an unsecured business loan:

  • Simple application process
  • No security required

Disadvantages of unsecured business loan:

  • Higher interest rates with relatively low amounts available
  • Usually requires repayment within 3 to 12 months
  • You may need to provide a personal guarantee

 

Line of Credit

A line of credit works in a similar way to a credit card – you can use it to pay for any business expenses at any time. With a line of credit, you can access funds up to a certain limit and only pay for the amount of money you use.

Advantages of a line of credit:

  • Simple application process
  • A flexible facility that allows you to access funds as you need them
  • Only pay interest on the amount of money that you use

Disadvantages of a line of credit:

  • Regular payments are required
  • Fees are usually payable regardless of whether the facility is used
  • The entire line of credit is repayable on demand

 

Business Credit Cards

Credit cards are one of the most common ways for small business owners to access additional funding. If you already hold a business credit card, there’s no application process and you can access funds immediately.

Credit cards are a popular option for meeting short-term needs or making a large once-off purchase, however they’re a high-interest option compared with most other working capital finance options. Before you use your credit card for a funding boost, ensure that you’ll be able to make payment when it’s due – fees for a missed or late payment are particularly high, which will further erode your cash reserves.

 

Which type of funding is best?

The loan that is best for you will depend entirely on your business's structure and what you need the loan for. For example, if you need help with ongoing cash flow and are a B2B business that invoices their clients for goods or services, invoice finance might suit your needs. If you are the owner of a cafe and you need a new coffee machine, a business credit card might work best.

It's best to consider what it is you'll need the loan for, how much you'll need and which repayment method suits your business the best prior to submitting an application.

 

What features should I look for in funding options?

Given that there are a number of different means for businesses to obtain cash flow finance, it is important to compare different products carefully and to be realistic about your cash flow needs and your business's ability to make ongoing repayments.

Firstly, eliminate any forms of finance that are not applicable to your situation. For example, if you don't have a significant business asset or property to offer as security, a line of credit will not be a suitable solution. Next, consider whether a one-off cash flow injection such as a business loan is a more suitable option, or if your business would benefit from a ongoing cash flow solution such as a Invoice Finance or line of credit.

 

Compare some of these business loan options 

Type

Average Interest Rates

Minimum Trading History

Financial

Performance

 

Term

Property / Additional Security

Non- Bank

Unsecured Business Lend

High

Min 6 months

Flexible

Max 24 mths

 

NO

Business Credit Card

 

High

N/A

Flexible

N/A

NO

Secured Overdraft

Low

Min 24 months

 

Good 

On-Going

YES

Sale Back - Asset Finance

 

Variable

24 months preferred

Flexible

Max 60 Months

 

YES

Bank Unsecured

Business Loan

Mid

24 months preferred

Good 

Flexible

NO

Debtor Finance Non Bank

 

Mid

N/A

Flexible

On-Going

NO

 

While it’s great that Australian small businesses have lots of choice when it comes to accessing additional working capital, assessing the options to understand how well they fit with your business can be overwhelming.

If you’d like to explore a more strategic approach to accessing finance for your small business, Cashflow Finance offers a free 30-minute consultation to understand your needs and identify the best funding options for you. Contact us today for more information or to book a call.

Cashflow Finance has supported Australian small business with flexible invoice finance, trade finance and equipment finance solutions for more than 30 years. Call us today on 1300 760 205.