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Small businesses get online financial boost to compare loans

26 February, 2009

Small businesses are able to quickly and easily compare business loan options with a new Victorian Government website, the Business Loan Finder.

Small Business Minister Joe Helper said the Brumby Government was taking action to assist small business with the new website he launched recently

“Small business owners can now quickly and easily compare their financial options at a glance with this powerful new online tool,” Helper said.

“They can simply go to www.business.vic.gov.au/loanfinder and compare a vast range of complex business loans, with the website providing the real monthly costs for each option.

“As a former small business owner, I understand the challenges faced by small business people, particularly when it comes to reviewing complex financial options.

“The Business Loan Finder will reduce confusion and save valuable time for small business owners.”

People using the website select some simple features they would prefer - such as amount of finance, at call or upfront loan, payback period, fixed or variable interest and type of security.

The website then accesses its database to provide detailed information on each loan option with those features and a real monthly loan cost for each option. The website is completely independent of any financial institution or lender and is free to use.

The new Business Loan Finder will also help small business operators to make credit applications. Step by step guides help with the creation of clear and coherent documents such as cash flow projections that are required to support a successful loan application.

The educational material in the Business Loan Finder site translates financial jargon into plain English and gives links to practical business templates on the Small Business Victoria website.

Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) chief executive Wayne Kayler-Thomson welcomed the development of the new website.

“The Business Loan Finder is a handy resource for small businesses when navigating the maze of loan products,” Kayler-Thomson said.

“This is particularly so in difficult economic times where having access to finance is important and obtaining loan finance can be difficult.”

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND MATERIAL:


BUSINESS LOAN FINDER – PRODUCT INFORMATION

The Business Loan Finder is a new online application designed to assist small businesses find and compare business finance products. It is a valuable resource for evaluating available finance options in a changing economic environment.

Key benefits:

Quick and convenient – Time-poor business owners and operators can sort through hundreds of loan options to get a customised list of results in seconds.

User friendly – simple layout and results format make it easy for business owners to compare loans on a cost basis, evaluate how competitive their current finance is and how much they could save by switching.

Transparent – it is the only application to give business owners a true indication of the total cost of a business loan as it includes establishment fees and ongoing loan costs in the final monthly cost figure.

Suitable for all businesses – business intenders, new start ups, established business, expanding or growing enterprises – all businesses should be aware of their financial options at any given time.

Educational and easy to understand – banking and financial terms are explained in a clear and unambiguous fashion. Further definitions and explanations of unfamiliar terms are easily accessible via the site and there is also information on how to maximise the change of obtaining a loan and managing good relationships with your bank.

Integrated – the site links to other business resources like business plan templates, cashflow calculators and other business planning resources on the Small Business Victoria website. This helps business owners develop financial plans that complement their broader business goals.

www.business.vic.gov.au/loanfinder

SMALL BUSINESS SURVIVAL CHECKLIST:


- Stay lean
- Be ruthless about non-revenue generating overheads
- Be obsessed with customers
- When making business plans, make sure there is a worst-case-scenario strategy in place.
- Understand every possible facet of your market.
- Introduce necessary measures to protect cashflow
- Consult mentors and advisers

Source: www.smartcompany.com.au

CASE STUDY SUMMARIES – BUSINESS LOAN FINDER


Ripple Products – Tracy Bialek


Tracy Bialek’s dedication to designing specialist products with educational and environmental messages began at a time when the environment was not firmly on the national agenda.

With five years under her belt, her privately owned company, innovative Australian design business Ripple Products, faces an exciting wave of change as it enters a stage of growth and push into the international arena.

With steady consolidation and reinvestment of her own finances, Tracy has grown the business to four employees without, until now, the need for private funding or additional outside finance. The need for growth has led to Tracy using the Victorian Government’s Business Loan Finder as a simple way to review her finance options.

Two Ruffians – Nick Young


Despite knowing that he needed to pay more attention to his business’s financial needs, starting up a new t-shirt design company as a sole operator meant that Melbourne-based Nick Young was often tied up in the design and production aspects of the business.

Using the Victorian Government’s Business Loan Finder website not only gave him options to finance his operation differently, it also made him think more carefully about where he wanted to be over the next 12 months.

Adam Stewart Furniture – Adam Stewart


After 12 years in his current site at the creative hub, North Melbourne Meat Market, Adam Stewart has decided its time for his business to move to a new home.

In light of the impending move, Adam is considering his growth options and reviewing the current financial situation of his business, which specialises in creating customised furniture pieces and crafted architectural joinery.

Using the Small Business Victoria Business Loan Finder tool, Adam says it has allowed him to review what’s currently available to him in the marketplace.

Next Marketing – Jo McDermott


When Jo Macdermott started Next Marketing, she knew that she never wanted it to be a one-person operation. With that in mind, Jo developed a business plan that enabled her to employ staff in the first year of the business’s operation.

Jo considered a range of financial options including securing additional finance through her home loan but decided that there must be a smarter way of doing things and that’s where the new Business Loan Finder opened her eyes to the wide range of financial options currently available to her.

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