- Funding is difficult for almost all startups, so how can yours get some? There are several ways such as government and non-government grants.
- Bank loans or small online lenders while not ideal, are other possible methods.
- Finally, private financiers and business/tax incentives can also help your business get the capital it needs.
Starting a new business can be a wonderful but pretty stressful endeavor. More often than not, the story goes something like this: slowly but surely you are getting sick and tired of working for someone else. After a period of being stuck in limbo, you decide to dust off that idea that has been in the back of your mind for ages. Or perhaps you have a light bulb moment, you see the perfect opportunity and decide to grab it. And then, everything screeches to a halt, because where on earth are you going to get the funding?
Government and non-government grants
The Australian government has shown an admirable dedication to supporting small businesses. At any given moment there are dozens of opportunities for grants, be they federal, state, or even non-government funded. If you happen to be successful in securing one of these, they can actually account for up to 80% of the funds you need. Government grants are so numerous, they are divided into categories, and a neat breakdown is offered on the Federal Government website. If you get one of these, in most cases you aren’t expected to repay it but will need to complete audits and write regular reports, as per the requirements.
A bank loan, although not ideal, is a very popular option. Of course, when getting a bank loan, always do your research and don’t be afraid to shop around. If you don’t want your business to collapse under debt, you need to be careful to find the best deal available. Many of Australia’s leading banks have decided to support small businesses by offering low-interest, or even zero-interest unsecured loans.
It goes without saying that you will not want to rush into any kind of a loan that might turn out to be too expensive for you down the line. This is why you will always want to compare as many loans from as many banks as you humanly can. Only once you are certain that this loan makes sense for your future SME should you take it out.
Maybe you have your own savings, the money you have been putting away for a rainy day. Or perhaps some of your friends or family members are looking to invest. Think about the people around you who have cash, and might be in need of a solid investment opportunity. If none of them are willing to take the risk with you, and you think you truly have a revolutionary idea on your hands, why not ask the people, your potential clients, and customers, whether they would be willing to fund you.
Crowdfunding platforms like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter have become a veritable source of investment capital for small business. You might be surprised to find out just how much money can be raised with a successful crowdfunding campaign if enough people believe in your project.
The biggest problem with crowdfunding campaigns is that they tend to favour startups and companies that are coming out with innovative and revolutionary products. If you are looking to open something more down-to-earth, you might discover that crowdfunding does not work as well.
Small online lenders
Those who might balk at traditional loans, or fail to meet the requirements (for instance, those with a less than stellar credit score), can always turn to smaller lenders. Companies like ALC Commercial specialize in providing small business owners the financial support they need. In comparison to banks and other sources of funding, online lenders also have another advantage: they are fast. Unlike with a bank loan, the approval process and transfer of money is typically much shorter and only lasts a few days.
Business and tax incentives
If money is tight, it’s probably worth it to look into different incentive programs offered by the federal government. For instance, insurance against business risks is something any business could use. And tax reimbursements and payroll rebates could be just the thing that makes the difference and pushes you into the black.
Maybe you don’t have enough in savings, or maybe you feel insecure about risking everything and putting your retirement money on the line. While finding the money to start a business is by no means an easy task, it is far from impossible.
If you think you have a solid idea, the courage it takes to go at it on your own, and the perseverance and work ethic it takes to make it, don’t let the problem of funding bring you down. Think of it not as an insurmountable obstacle, but your first step toward financial independence.