Show me the money: funding your business in these difficult times
At a recent Business Chicks member meet-up, some members shared anecdotally that their businesses are struggling to attract customers and that this was causing some cash flow difficulties. They explained that they understood what they needed to do to turn their businesses around, but didn't have the cash available to implement these strategies.
It's not surprising given that Australians are being hit by continuous interest rate rises (impacting those with a mortgage or other forms of debt) and the price of goods and services (including petrol) continues to rise. In these circumstances, there isn't too much spare cash lying around for consumer spending, which in turn affects the profitability of businesses.
This leads to the big question: in difficult times like these, where can you get the funding needed to keep your business afloat? Unlike in Netflix's Money Heist, you can't stage an elaborate heist to break into the Royal Mint and print off the extra money you need (or you could, but as a lawyer, I would strongly advise against it!).
Instead, I have put together this article to provide a summary of the different options available to your business. Being the savvy Business Chicks that you are, I have assumed that you have already considered ways to cut down on unnecessary spending and free up existing cash within the business and that you are seeking some extra support in the form of external funding.
Sources of funding
Firstly, it's important to understand the different types of funding that exist, and what each of these means in practice. Broadly speaking, there are three different types of funding you can seek for your business:
I have summarised what each of these are, and their key features, in the table below.
Government cash grants and support
We don't need to be convinced about the important role that women play in boosting the Australian economy (we're out here kicking goals and making it happen!). Thankfully, neither do Australian Governments both at the State/Territory and Federal levels.
According to information made available in their respective 2022-23 budgets, about one-third of small businesses in New South Wales and Australia are owned by women. Federal and State/Territory Governments also recognise the unique challenges that women in business face including an absence of entrepreneurial networks and mentors and difficulties accessing finance. The good news is that, in response, they have allocated a portion of their budgets to assist women in business, both in the way of cash grants as well as Government run support programs.
This is a link to a useful tool that will help you find grants, funding and support programs that are organised by the Government: Grants and programs finder | business.gov.au. I have used this tool to find some examples of Government initiatives that may be useful to Business Chicks members below:
Provides financial counselling and related services to small regional businesses facing hardship due to drought, the COVID-19 pandemic or the 2019-20 bushfires.
Provides women living or working in NSW with access to a fully subsidised online program to help establish a new small business or consolidate an existing small business.
Helps female entrepreneurs overcome the disadvantages faced in getting access to finance and support to grow their start-ups. Targeted support will be on a co-contribution basis.
The list above is not exhaustive. These programs can be updated and new programs added from time to time, so I suggest periodically checking in for updates.
There are likely other programs (available through Government and private organisations alike) to support women in business. It may require some strong detective work (a.k.a. intense Googling) to find.
I hope this provides you with a useful summary of the different funding options that are available to your business.
I am acutely aware that access to the law in Australia is notoriously difficult (and expensive!). If you are navigating the waters of seeking funding, and you'd like some support, don't hesitate to reach out. As a corporate/business lawyer, it is my bread and butter to help companies looking to raise money. I am always happy to have a general chat about your needs and help to point you in the right direction. You can find me at the Business Chicks fortnightly member meet-ups, drop me a message on LinkedIn or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Priti (pronounced "Preethi") is a first-generation Indian Australian and a self-proclaimed business law nerd. Priti helps businesses to raise funds as well as achieve their strategic objectives by facilitating the buying and selling of businesses. She recently graduated from UNSW with her Master of Laws degree.
Outside of work, she likes to explore different countries and cultures with her partner, go for runs and acrylic paint (she tends to paint pictures of dogs, and calls them her "pawtraits")
The information and links contained in this article are for general information only, and are not comprehensive or exhaustive. You should consider your own unique circumstances to determine which funding option is right for you, and whether you are eligible to apply for the Government grants listed. While this article gives a general summary of the difference between debt, equity and cash grants ultimately the terms of your funding will be detailed in the related paperwork, which should be read carefully. The author is not affiliated with any of the links shared.