A Veteran’s Guide to Small Business Loans in Australia

Lending expert discussing small business loans with veteran

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Lending expert discussing small business loans with veteran

Key Takeaway Table

Key Point Description
Why start a business as a veteran?
Choosing a path of entrepreneurship can help veterans smoothly transition to civilian life by helping them engage with the community and reach financial independence. Starting and running a small business can also help veterans develop new skills and gain control of their time and income. There are also government programs that can help them should they choose this path after service.
Factors to Consider Before Starting a Small Business
Starting a business may be exciting, but it requires significant preparation. A veteran must think of a business idea corresponding to their skills and lifestyle while also addressing a gap in the market and providing a good product/service to consumers. Most importantly, veterans must be prepared financially, which they can achieve through small business loans.
Small Business Loans Overview
Small business loans can be obtained from bank and non-bank lenders. Banks will have higher approval criteria but will have the best rates and terms. Meanwhile, non-bank lenders will approve loans despite bad credit and tax debt but will have higher rates and shorter terms. Everything will differ depending on your circumstances, business needs, and the lender you choose, so you should carefully review all factors before applying.
Small Business Loans Available for Different Industries
For B2B businesses like manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution, you can avail of invoice finance, equipment and asset finance, and trade and import finance. For B2C businesses like retail, foodservice, and personal care services, you can avail of secured and unsecured loans and overdrafts.

After active duty, many veterans look for their next path in life. One path available is self-employment, particularly becoming a business owner. Business is both lucrative and fulfilling— it’s a great way for veterans to find a sense of purpose and direction after serving in the Australian Defence Force. Since starting and running a business requires significant capital, veterans can turn to small business loans to get the funding they need to achieve their goals.

Why Start a Business as a Veteran?

Here are some ways you can benefit from taking an entrepreneurial path after active duty with small business loans for veterans:

smooth transition

Smooth Transition

Building and growing a business can provide a renewed sense of purpose, helping you transition to civilian life while staying engaged in meaningful work.

Confidence

Skills Development

Starting and running a business can be a continuous learning experience, which can allow you to develop new skills in areas like finance, marketing, operations, and management.

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Flexibility

Starting a business provides you the flexibility to choose your own schedule and pursue a business that’s aligned with your interests and values.

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Financial Independence

Entrepreneurship offers the potential for financial independence and the opportunity to build wealth over time.

government

Government Support

Various government programs and initiatives are in place to assist veterans in starting and growing businesses. Through Self-Employment Assistance (SEA), veterans and their family members can get training and personalized mentoring to help them develop a business plan. They can also get SEA allowance and rental assistance if they are eligible.

Factors to Consider Before Starting a Small Business

Once you have your mind set on starting a business, you need to consider a few things before making the jump. You must first consider your unique circumstances so you can choose the right industry and business type. Ask yourself the following:

Overview of Small Business Loans

There are a number of business loans available for those who want to start their own small business. You can get loans from traditional institutions like banks, or you can get them from non-traditional sources like online or private lenders. Depending on your needs, creditworthiness, debt, and industry, you may have access to different types of loans.

The terms, rates, approval process, and requirements will differ across lenders. Banks will likely require a high credit score,  full financial documentation, and/or property and asset security. Since they assess risk thoroughly before approval, banks may take longer to approve your loan. However, they offer the lowest interest rates and the most favourable terms and monthly repayments.

Meanwhile, non-bank lenders typically have more relaxed approval criteria. Some may require few or no financial documents at all. Some lenders will approve loans despite a low credit score or existing tax debt. Since their criteria are lower, non-bank lenders can approve loans fast, with turnaround times as fast as 1-2 days. However, you may be charged higher interest rates, and your loan terms may be shorter.

Business Loan Opportunities Based on Industry Type

Business to Business (B2B)

B2B refers to businesses that focus on providing products or services to other companies, which may use them or resell them. Businesses that operate on a B2B model are essential to the operations of other companies and can help connect them to the right suppliers.

Examples of B2B businesses

Loans available

These are some of the common types of loans you can access if you choose to start a B2B business:

1. Invoice Finance

When you provide goods and services to other businesses, the payment isn’t usually upfront. It can take time for the payments to come in, which can land you in a tight spot financially. Invoice finance allows you to access cash even when their clients’ payments haven’t arrived yet. You can access up to 85% of an invoice’s value within the same day of writing the invoice. You can use the cash to pay for pressing matters like payroll, bills, debts, and more. You can also use the cash to take on new contracts.

2. Equipment and Asset Finance

Many B2B businesses need large equipment to operate. These include construction equipment, manufacturing machines, and large transport vehicles. These equipment are a huge expense, which can be difficult for new business owners to take on. Equipment and asset finance is a way for you to get equipment upfront so you can start business operations right away. Lenders will give you the amount you need to purchase the equipment, and you can pay it back over the course of the loan term. The equipment itself is the security, so lenders can approve the loan quickly.

3. Trade and Import Finance

Trade and import finance loans are designed to navigate buying and selling goods across borders. Business owners can use trade finance loans to bridge the gap between the time they pay for goods and the time they receive payment from customers. These loans can help businesses free up cash for working capital or other pressing expenses. Overall, trade and import finance can help you mitigate the risks associated with importation, so you can engage in international trade with confidence.

Business to Consumer (B2C)

B2C businesses are ones that directly transact with consumers. These businesses are what people most interact with to get products and services for personal use.

Examples of B2C businesses

Loans available

Here are some loans available to B2C businesses:

1. Secured and Unsecured Loans

B2C businesses can have access to both secured and unsecured loans. Most lenders offer secured loans, which means you must use a property or an asset as security against the loan. In the case of a loan default, the lender can legally seize the assets. Meanwhile, unsecured loans do not require a property or asset as security. Instead, you will be asked to submit guarantees from the business or yourself as the business owner.

2. Overdrafts

Overdrafts are a short-term cash solution meant to cover operational expenses or any unexpected costs. Lenders will give you a predetermined credit limit. You can draw any amount of cash within the limit. Once you repay the amount, the limit will reset, and you can borrow the funds again. Interest will only be charged on the borrowed amount. The process for getting an unsecured overdraft is fast and simple. Lenders can give fast approvals with low document requirements for applications up to $500,000, and you can get terms for up to 5 years.

Find the Right Loans to Support Your Small Business

Business ownership is a great way for veterans to gain income while reintegrating into civilian life. If you're a veteran looking to start a business, many resources can help you get started, including programs from the government and non-profit organisations. You can also obtain various small business loans to start your entrepreneurial journey. 

Loan experts can direct you to the right loans for your industry and specific needs. Talk to us today to find out your options.

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