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Accessing finance to grow your business

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Last updated on October 24, 2016

Small and medium businesses often struggle to fulfil their dreams of expansion due to a lack of finance. The lack of working capital can limit the capacity of a business to expand and needs to be planned for correctly.

The first step is to determine if the finance is likely to be needed for short- or long-term circumstances.

Short-term finance might be required to cover extra stock purchases or debtor variations, while long-term finance might be necessary for capital expansion such as purchasing new building works or major equipment purchases.

Flexible alternatives to borrowing, like leasing or renting equipment or vehicles might also become more viable options as your cash flow stabilises.

There are various sources of finance, including :

  • loans from a bank or other type of financial institution
  • using your personal properties as security
  • equity finance
  • grants.

Loans from a bank or other financial institution

If you have decided to borrow money to grow your business, you need to consider what terms of finance will suit your needs. It is important that you match the nature and terms of the loan to the purpose for which the finance is being used.

For example:

  • short-term finance such as bank overdrafts, or debtor finance
  • medium-term options like personal or term loans, or leasing
  • long-term loans

Find and compare loan options for your business with the Infochoice Small business loan tool.

Having a business plan that is both realistic and manageable will help when you approach a financial institution. Whether it is your family or a bank manager, any possible investor will want to see that you have well-planned and achievable strategies that will make your business a success.

Using personal property as security

You can use your personal property as security to raise capital to start or grow your business. Personal property can be any form of property other than land, buildings or fixtures. It can include tangibles such as cars, art, machinery and crops, as well as intangibles such as intellectual property and contract rights.

The Australian Government introduced the national Personal Property Securities (PPS) to help businesses use their property as security to raise capital. The register can help you manage credit risk, check for debt owing on goods planned for purchase, and search and register security interests in personal property.

Equity finance

Equity finance is extra capital provided by you, the owner, or investors into the business, often in exchange for some control of or input into the business.
The two main external providers of equity finance for private businesses are venture capitalists and business angels.

  • Venture capitalists typically take on a very specific, limited range of investment, often large amounts of funding used for unique, high-growth businesses destined for flotation on the stock market. Refer to the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Limited's website.
  • Business angels are more likely to consider investing in a broader range of businesses, including lower-risk businesses that are still in the early stages of potential. They will often expect to make their own skills, experience and contacts available to the company.

Grants

Grants and other funding programs may be available from the Australian, state and territory governments and, in some cases, from local councils to grow your business. Refer to our page on grants, funding and assistance for further information on grants currently open.

Government funding for starting or buying a small business is rare.

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