Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell has renewed calls for the federal government to provide HECS-style loans to businesses to help them stay afloat once JobKeeper ends in March.These ultra-low or zero-interest business loans would be government-funded and help boost cashflow, and similarly to the student HECS-HELP loan, would only be repaid once the business hits a certain agreed level of revenue.Carnell says that “somewhere between 25-30% of businesses are still really struggling.”“[That may be] because of the industry that they’re in, border closures, shutdowns, COVID requirements - a whole range of reasons why they’re not recovering at the same sort of rate as other businesses,” she says. “There are some [businesses] that are tracking in the right direction and they will be alright, but there needs to be an option for those that aren’t.”
At a time when online shopping is surging and eCommerce has become an undeniably crucial avenue for reaching customers, two companies have joined forces to help Australian small businesses pay for their social media advertising with Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL). BNPL service Zip today announced it has teamed up with social media giant Facebook to allow small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to use Zip Business when funding their marketing campaigns on the platform. Zip Business gives SMEs access to unsecured business loans of up to $500k, with interest only charged on the amount you end up using (not the total amount you’re approved for). According to Zip’s co-founder Peter Gray, the partnership is part of efforts to address cashflow issues that might hinder many small businesses from taking their digital operations to the next level. “92% of small businesses believe they would have generated more revenue in the previous year if their cashflow was better,” he said. “Partnering with Facebook is an important step not only in the expansion of Zip Business, but in helping small business owners to capitalise on the recent growth in the eCommerce sector and to get ahead.“With 14 million Australians using Facebook every day, the social network is an increasingly important advertising channel for small businesses.” The Zip-Facebook service is still in testing, with the roll-out to start initially with Facebook’s prepaid advertisers. This marks the second big collaboration for Zip Business, which launched back in August to offer lines of credit to SMEs on eBay.
After a tough year for many businesses, things are looking up at long last. New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that revenue rose for 24% of businesses this month. Indeed, with more Australians now out and about, Christmas could present a great opportunity for your business to boost its sales even further so you can start off the new year strong and in the green. “One in five (22%) businesses indicated they have capital expenditure plans over the next three months, with about three quarters (73%) of these businesses expecting to spend the same or more than what is usual for this time of year,” ABS’s head of industry statistics, John Shepherd said. Whether you’re looking to purchase more supplies or build out your digital presence to attract online shoppers, having extra funds at the ready could make all the difference over this busy holiday season. That’s when an alternative non-bank business loan comes in. With applications that take just minutes and funding in 24-48 hours, these business loans are an easy way to secure the finance you might need over summer. With that said, there are a number of different loan options out there, some of which might suit your business needs better than others. Scroll down for four types of business finance to help you get the ball rolling for December …
After years of misery, the drought spell may finally be breaking for New South Wales, with 82% of the state now declared drought free.But farmers aren’t just rejoicing with a celebratory dance in the rain. New research shows they’re also using this good fortune to fast track their business’ growth. For one, there’s been a surge in agribusinesses buying new farming equipment to prepare for this year’s crop season. The value of business loans lent out for agricultural machinery is up by over 100% in NSW since this time last year, according to figures released by the Commonwealth Bank today. “We’re seen asset finance for ag machinery, particularly tractors and harvesters, increase significantly,” Commbank’s executive general manager of regional and agribusiness, Grant Cairns said. “Across the country, new asset financing for tractors is up 119% - the highest volumes we’ve seen in the past three years, and financing for harvesters is up 108%.”Cairns said those huge percentage jumps aren’t surprising, given how many incentives farming businesses have right now to invest. “Nationally, farm values are up, commodity prices are holding firm, interest rates are at record lows, seasonal conditions have been good, there is strong consumer and retail demand for fresh produce and there’s Government incentives like the instant asset write off scheme,” he said. For context, the instant asset write-off (now extended till 30 June 2021) allows businesses earning up to $500 million per year to claim immediate tax deductions on multiple asset purchases - capped at $150,000 each. This means the write-off would be able to cover ‘big ticket’ items like tractors and harvesters, giving farmers the opportunity to shave off a chunk of their 2020/21 tax bill.RELATED: Small business loan approval sits at 70%: how to apply for yoursThinking of making an investment for your own business? If you need a hand funding your next piece of machinery, get started with one of the equipment finance options below.
As 2020 comes to a close, the time is ripe for businesses to tie up loose ends, including any unpaid invoices, and to get cashflow ready for the holiday season.There might also be a resurgence in sales to prepare for, as research from Westpac and the Melbourne Institute shows consumer sentiment soared to a seven-year high this month. With this in mind, you may want to have extra funds ready in your back pocket just in case you need to buy more stock or hire more employees. “In these turbulent economic conditions, the ability to anticipate demand can be difficult - even at Xmas, which is traditionally a busier season for retail and other upstream industries,” business lender Octet’s head of marketing, Duncan Khoury says. “Invoice finance (otherwise known as debtor finance) can be useful by giving you quick, painless access to the funds tied up in your unpaid invoices, which are often business’ biggest untapped asset.”So if your slow-paying customers still haven’t responded to your nudge on their shoulders, invoice finance could be a great alternative solution. This type of business loan is secured against your outstanding business invoices, granting you up to 85% of your invoice amount upfront (you receive the rest, minus any fees or charges, once your customer pays). That way, you won’t be left high and dry if, say, you’re a wholesaler and new orders suddenly come in from a whole bunch of retailers. Approval speeds are also quick with online lenders like Octet, helping you stay ahead of the end-of-year rush. You may only need to wait 24-48 hours before you can start withdrawing funds from your invoice finance facility.Ready to compare your invoice finance options? We’ve made it super easy for you by rounding up a few eye-catching deals offering fast and flexible funding to Australian businesses.
Despite COVID-19 slowing down activity in many industries, the business loans market has remained busy throughout 2020. For over 250 days now, Australian banks have approved more than 500 loan applications from small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) a day. This is according to the latest data from the Australian Banking Association (ABA), which shows a whopping total of $41 billion has been lent out to SMEs and sole traders between 1 February and 7 October. ABA’s chief executive, Anna Bligh said that with the loan approval rate sitting at 70%, it’s clear Australian banks haven’t left struggling small businesses behind. “Australian banks are continuing to provide a lifeline to small and medium businesses across the country. The rate of lending has held up strongly despite the pandemic,” she said. “The banks’ commitment to small business has been supported by a number of Government and regulatory measures, including the RBA’s Term Funding Facility, changes to business lending rules, the instant asset write-off, and the SME loan guarantee.”These figures come after the federal government announced plans last month to scrap ‘responsible lending’ laws in order to further reduce red tape around accessing credit. The proposed shift from the current practice of “lender beware” to a “borrower responsibility” principle would essentially allow lenders to rely on the income and expense information provided by borrowers, helping to speed up the loan approval process. Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell said she supported the proposal as a step towards loosening unrealistic serviceability rules for small businesses. “We are aware of small businesses that have been asked for all sorts of documentation by the banks - even for loans that have been 50 percent guaranteed by the Federal Government - including director guarantees, which really means the family home. It’s no wonder small businesses owners are reluctant to borrow,” she said. “Importantly the banks will still be accountable to ASIC [Australian Securities and Information Commission] and the Government has pledged greater protections for vulnerable borrowers.”
Ever heard of a neo business credit card? Say hello to Melbourne-based fintech Archa. This week, Archa announced that it has become a principal issuing member of Mastercard, meaning it can access the card providers leading global payment network. The partnership will allow the fintech to launch its new neo business credit card along with an app with innovative tools to help businesses manage their expenses. “This is a really important strategic milestone for Archa. We’re thrilled to have the support of Mastercard as a critical foundation to our business model,” Archa’s chief executive, Oliver Kidd said. “We look forward to working closely with Mastercard over the coming years to support small businesses throughout the region.”
As lenders gear up for phase two of the government’s SME Loan Guarantee Scheme, new Commonwealth Bank figures have emerged showing NSW and Victorian businesses have snagged the biggest piece of the scheme’s funding pie to date. NSW and Victoria made up almost two-thirds of CommBank’s government-backed loans (38% and 26% respectively), while Queensland came in third place at 16%. “Obviously different lockdown measures have impacted some businesses more than others and many of our customers, particularly those in the greater Melbourne and greater Sydney area, worked with our bankers to quickly ensure they had extra cash flow in case they needed it,” CommBank’s group executive for business banking, Mike Vacy Lyle said. Under the first phase of the scheme, the government guaranteed half of all unsecured three-year business loans of up to $250,000 issued by participating lenders including CommBank, ANZ and 39 other smaller providers. Under phase two, the loan terms have been extended to five years, and loan amounts increased to $1 million. Almost 20,000 small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) took advantage of phase one, with CommBank approving loans for 9,400 of these firms. According to CommBank, nearly one-fifth of those businesses belonged to the property and business services sector (17%), while 16% came from retail, 14% from construction, and 14% from accommodation, cafes and restaurants - all industries that experienced high levels of disruption due to COVID-19.
For small businesses across Australia this may have been one of the most important federal budgets yet. On top of extended coronavirus stimulus packages like JobKeeper, the 2020-21 Budget was a ray of hope that more financial relief would be rolled out to help companies and the economy recover from the current recession. So what exactly is the federal government pledging to deliver to support small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through this period? From tax offsets to a new wage subsidy program, there’s lots in the pipeline to watch for. In fact, businesses are set to receive $31.6 billion in tax breaks - almost twice as much as households. But unlike households, the business tax incentives are only temporary, with an aim of encouraging more investment in jobs and ‘big ticket’ items (like new equipment and machinery) over the next few years. Read on for a snapshot of budget support measures for your small business:
As 2020 continues to be a financially tough year for small businesses, searching for ways to improve cashflow has become nothing short of essential. While business loans are a popular option, there may be a better solution for you if your struggle is with slow-paying debtors: invoice finance.