Medium to long-term business loans
Most businesses need a financial helping hand to either get them off the ground or expand and a medium to long-term business loan can be one of the best ways to get funding. It’s not as easy as it once was to find business loans, but the major banks still all offer them and if your business plan, credit score and homework is all in place, it’s certainly worth applying.
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When you’re looking for a medium to long term business loan, we want to give you as much choice as possible, so you can choose what’s best for you. Some lenders don’t want to be included on comparison websites, so we can’t promise to show you every single one. We show high street banks at the top of the list, with other lenders further down. We rotate the other lenders on the 1st of every month, so the ranking order changes regularly. You can find out more about how we work here.
Medium to long-term business loans
Setting up a business or expanding your current one can be expensive. Some people opt to fund it themselves but for many, this is impossible and chances are you’ll need financial support.
The reason many business owners prefer a medium to long-term business loan is so they can be certain that they will have funding in place to support their enterprise for several years. In turn, this will help them plan and budget.
Here, we take a closer look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of medium to long-term business loans…
Longer term loans
A medium to long-term business loan typically enables you to borrow money to help your business for one to five years.
The loan is repaid in monthly instalments, with interest added to the amount you owe. There are two types of business loan:
- Fixed rate of interest: Your payments won’t change over the term of the loan.
- Variable rate: The amount you owe could vary over the loan term.
Make sure you know which you are getting into as this could have a real impact on budgeting for your business.
Advantages of a medium to long-term loan
A medium to long-term business loan can help with all the costs associated with setting up a business, from cashflow to expenses and paying staff.
The longer the term of your loan, the lower your monthly payments will be, as you are spreading the cost over a longer period of time. This can be useful when you are trying to get your business off the ground, as it means you won’t have to make high monthly payments at a time when there will invariably be plenty of other set-up costs to consider.
Disadvantages of a medium to longer term loan
Taking out a business loan over a longer period may mean that your payments are lower than if you’d opted for a shorter term loan, but remember that ultimately this means you will pay more interest overall.
How much interest will you pay?
The amount of interest you must pay on a business loan will depend on your individual circumstances, including how much you want to borrow and over what period of time. If your business is just starting out, the lender will usually want to look at your personal credit rating to give them an idea of how responsibly you manage your money. The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to be offered a loan at a competitive rate of interest.
Alternatives to medium to long-term business loans
As well as loans, there are several other ways that business can secure funding. You may, for example want to use a business account overdraft which can provide you access to funds as and when you need them, making them useful for any unforeseen expenses. Business overdrafts are usually available for any period up to 12 months.
Alternatively, you may want to consider a business credit card. These can provide a useful way to manage staff spending and usually give up to 56 days interest-free credit.
Other options include cashflow finance, which enables companies to borrow against the value of their unpaid invoices, and borrowing against assets, for example your business’s property or equipment.
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Choose a fixed or variable rate Business Loan.
- Make extra payments, which could reduce interest paid over the life of the loan
- Option to swap between interest only or principal and interest repayments
- Redraw allows you to make extra payments and access these funds later.
- Provides certainty in knowing what you’re up for with each repayment
- Protects you from potential future interest rate movements.
Make tax time less taxing
Keep track of your Business Loan balance and financials online (and at tax time, export details of interest paid to your accounting software).
Terms and loan security
The term of your Business Loan will vary depending on security offered (you may swap if your situation changes):
- Loan term up to 30 years when residential property used as security
- Loan term up to 25 years when commercial or rural property used as security.
- Loan term up to 5 years when unsecured (guarantee may be required)
- Establishment fee
- Monthly loan maintenance fee
- Other fees apply.
Here are some important points to consider before applying for a business loan:
- Security – depending on your circumstances, business loans can be unsecured or require security in the form of residential, commercial or rural property. A guarantee will also be required by company directors for corporate borrowers
- Credit history – all borrowers, owners, directors and guarantors must have clear credit records. All statutory payments and ATO liabilities need to be up to date and not under arrangement
- Banking and borrowing history – existing bank accounts and lending products must be within their approved limits
- Domicile – your business must be registered in Australia
Looking to borrow less than $50,000?
Consider our range of business credit cards. Terms and Conditions apply.
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Developing a Strategic Plan
Free Online Strategic Planner for creating a 3-page strategic plan based on the structure used in this white paper. Use it to organize your thoughts, structure your ideas and compile a short but comprehensive strategic plan for any size and type of organization.
Recommendation: Review the paper on this page before using the planner.
Click here to see feedback from past users of this planning tool (opens in a new window) and click here to see a sample plan (use back button on browser to return to this page).
1. Introduction to Strategic Planning
If you don’t know where your business is going, any road will get you there.
What is a Strategic Plan?
Entrepreneurs and business managers are often so preoccupied with immediate issues that they lose sight of their ultimate objectives. That’s why a business review or preparation of a strategic plan is a virtual necessity. This may not be a recipe for success, but without it a business is much more likely to fail. A sound plan should:
- Serve as a framework for decisions or for securing support/approval.
- Provide a basis for more detailed planning.
- Explain the business to others in order to inform, motivate involve.
- Assist benchmarking performance monitoring.
- Stimulate change and become building block for next plan.
For inspiration (and a few smiles), have a look at some of the quotations and examples of bad advice included in other pages!
A strategic plan should not be confused with a business plan. The former is likely to be a (very) short document whereas a business plan is usually a much more substantial and detailed document. A strategic plan can provide the foundation and frame work for a business plan. For more information about business plans, refer to How to Write a Business Plan, Insights into Business Planning and Free-Plan: Business Plan Guide Template.
A strategic plan is not the same thing as an operational plan. The former should be visionary, conceptual and directional in contrast to an operational plan which is likely to be shorter term, tactical, focused, implementable and measurable. As an example, compare the process of planning a vacation (where, when, duration, budget, who goes, how travel are all strategic issues) with the final preparations (tasks, deadlines, funding, weather, packing, transport and so on are all operational matters).
A satisfactory strategic plan must be realistic and attainable so as to allow managers and entrepreneurs to think strategically and act operationally – see Devising Business Strategies for further insights.
Free Online Strategic Planner for creating a 3-page strategic plan.
See a sample strategic plan – use the back button on your browser to return to this page.
Basic Approach to Strategic Planning
A critical review of past performance by the owners and management of a business and the preparation of a plan beyond normal budgetary horizons require a certain attitude of mind and predisposition. Some essential points which should to be observed during the review and planning process include the following:
- Relate to the medium term i.e. 2/4 years
- Be undertaken by owners/directors
- Focus on matters of strategic importance
- Be separated from day-to-day work
- Be realistic, detached and critical
- Distinguish between cause and effect
- Be reviewed periodically
- Be written down.
As the precursor to developing a strategic plan, it is desirable to clearly identify the current status, objectives and strategies of an existing business or the latest thinking in respect of a new venture. Correctly defined, these can be used as the basis for a critical examination to probe existing or perceived Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats and Opportunities. This then leads to strategy development covering the following issues discussed in more detail below:
2. Key Steps towards a Strategic Plan
The first step is to develop a realistic Vision for the business. This should be presented as a pen picture of the business in three or more years time in terms of its likely physical appearance, size, activities, structure, scale offerings etc. Answer the question: “if someone from Mars visited the business, what would they see (or sense)?” Consider its future products, markets, customers, processes, location, staffing etc. Here is a great example of a vision:
I will come to America, which is the country for me. Once there, I will become the greatest bodybuilder in history. I will go into movies as an actor, producer and eventually director. By the time I am 30 I will have starred in first movie and I will be a millionaire. I will collect houses, art and automobiles. I will marry a glamorous and intelligent wife. By 32, I will have been invited to the White House. Attributed to Arnold Schwarzenegger who was elected Governor of the State of California in 2003.
The nature of a business is often expressed in terms of its Mission which indicates in a factual way the purpose and activities of the business in terms of operations, (unique) characteristics, functions, customers, offerings, sectors/segments, scale/scope/penetration, methodologies, technologies, resources etc. Just answer the questions as to what the business really is and does in qualitative terms. If planning for a startup, base the mission statement on the business as it would be once operational – be realistic and practical rather than aspirational.
For example, “to design, develop, manufacture and market specific product lines for sale on the basis of certain features to meet the identified needs of specified customer groups via certain distribution channels in particular geographic areas”. A statement along these lines indicates what the business is about and is infinitely clearer than saying, for instance, “we’re in electronics” or worse still, “we are in business to make money” (assuming that the business is not a mint !).
Also, some people confuse mission statements with value statements (see below) – the former should be very hard-nosed while the latter can deal with ‘softer’ issues surrounding the business. The following table contrasts hard and soft mission statements.
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