Written byShaun McGowan
In business, working capital is the life-blood of your operations. It’s how you pay your staff, keep the lights on, and keep your business running on a day-to-day basis.
Although it might not be used to buy massive pieces of machinery or a major asset, it’s essential to staying afloat, particularly when the world faces unknown challenges (like a pandemic!).
So whether you need a little top-up for your everyday cash flow, or you need a short-term working capital loan to cover staff costs, this is everything you need to know.
A working capital loan is a term loan that allows a business to borrow an amount of money relative to how much revenue the business generates. Working capital loans also refer to a broader collection of finance products that lenders will allow you to use for cash flow purposes.
Some types of working capital finance will function slightly different than others, but in general, your working capital loan will work just like a short-term business loan - you’ll agree to borrow a specific amount while will be repaid over an agreed term.
Depending on the type of business you operate, your credit profile, and the lender you apply with, you can generally borrow anywhere between $5,000 and $500,000 (or more) for anywhere between 1 month and 60 months.
Working capital loans are consistently popular with small-business owners, which is no surprise considering the vast majority of businesses in Australia fit into the SME category.
The reason they’re so popular is simple; although the types of SMEs in Australia vary considerably, they all have the same issue - access to working capital.
This is where working capital loans and other business finance comes in to help - now let’s look at some of your options if you’re looking to increase your business cash flow.
Sorting your way through business finance options can be exhausting and confusing - there are just as many individual products as there are lenders!
The truth is, most business finance is fairly similar and easy to understand. Below, we’ll discuss some of the most common types of business loans you can use for working capital, and a quick summary to cover the main benefits of each.
You can learn more about each type of finance (including details on how they work and how you can qualify) on their individual pages below.
Unsecured Business Loan
A business loan that doesn’t require any security and can be used for any purpose/s.
Fast to approve, but may have higher interest rates than secured finance.
Ideal for short-term finance needs.
Secured Business Loan
Similar to an unsecured loan but with better rates and options.
Commonly used for larger loans or for longer-term finance.
Line of Credit
An amount of money you can access as you choose to, made available by a lender for a set period of time.
Provides great flexibility in how and when the money is used, and reduces interest charges if repaid in full and used sparingly.
Similar to a line of credit, an overdraft is instead a backstop form of finance that allows you to access funds when your business bank account goes into the red.
A unique form of finance where you sell your outstanding invoices to a third-party financier, who will pay out a percentage of the invoice value upfront, and the remainder (minus a fee) once they have collected the payment from the other business.
Business Credit Card
As with a normal credit card - which functions similar to a line of credit and overdraft - a business credit card is rarely the best choice but may provide certain benefits to specific businesses and individuals
Working capital loans are designed to provide fast access to cash when it’s needed, particularly by SMEs and when there may not be sufficient documentation to apply with your bank.
The most important part of the process will be demonstrating your capacity - i.e. your ability to repay the loan over the term - to the lender
You can apply for a small business loan with banks or non-bank lenders. Non-bank lenders will offer the fastest approval, while banks will often offer the most competitive rates.
If you’d like to compare how the GetCapital Working Capital Loan measures up with other similar loans available, you can speak to our MoneyMatchmaker™.
If you can access and qualify for any of the loans above, you’ll often be able to compare a number of competitive, personalised options.
However, if you’re not able to qualify for any of the working capital loans above, there is still one other option you might consider: caveat loans.
Caveat loans are often the last resort for business owners, and will generally only be suitable if the business owner:
The terms and interest rates for business caveat loans will vary between lenders - as you are using the equity in your property as security, it’s crucial that you understand the total cost of repayments and are able to service the loan over the term.
Shaun is the founder of Money.com.au and is determined to help people pay as little as possible for financial products. Through education and building world class technology. Previously Shaun co-founded CarLoans.com.au and Lend.