Through the red tape

PAPERWORK: The difficulties getting a business off the ground and keeping it afloat can work as a deterrent especially when it comes to problems with accessing finance, the most common barrier to innovation.

PAPERWORK: The difficulties getting a business off the ground and keeping it afloat can work as a deterrent especially when it comes to problems with accessing finance, the most common barrier to innovation.

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Australia is a nation full of ideas. It’s one of the things I love about doing the Kochie’s Business Builders program. We have the opportunity to get out there and meet hundreds of great people with big, exciting ideas doing great things. There’s just so much passion in the eyes of a small business owner.

It makes me wonder though, how many potentially great small business ideas have gone by the wayside because of the difficulties in getting a business off the ground. Ask anyone running their own operation, and they’ll tell you the same thing. It’s no walk in the park to get through the paperwork of registering your business, getting an ABN, setting up all your accounts and least of all getting some start-up capital.

But that’s just the beginning. Once you get started there’s GST, PAYG, Workers’ Comp, payroll tax, BAS reports, super to pay – a never ending list of documents to fill out and lodge. These are the less glamorous things involved with being a business owner which people don’t talk about as much. When it comes to getting finance for your business, things just keep getting harder.

It’s no secret that a lot of small businesses struggle to get loans approved from the bank. And while there are a number of alternative lending options, these are still in their infancy. Over 50 per cent of businesses still choose the bank as their first port of call for finance.

Peter Strong from the Council of Small Business of Australia says part of the problem is greater scrutiny over the banks from the Australia Prudential Regulatory Authority, which leads to tighter lending and a heightened compliance burden on borrowers. This, in a country where he says it is easier to get a personal loan than a business loan.

Problems with accessing finance is holding us back as a country; it’s the most common barrier to innovation, and as a result only five per cent of Aussie businesses expect to be innovating this year, well behind our neighbours Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore. The red tape that’s involved with not only starting a business but keeping it afloat, is not the way to promote growth and inspire a new generation into business ownership.

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Small Business First and Fairfax Media may earn a commission on deals through smallbusinessfirst.com.au.

Readers should shop around for the best deal to suit their needs. Pinstripe Media, David Koch's family business, is a founder of Small Business First.

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