Studies of business failures show half of all new businesses are wound up within three years and three quarters close within five years. Getting the right advice from the start makes you think about your proposed business plans and prevents you from making a bad investment or becoming a business fatality.
Most businesses fail because of poor management, inadequate cash resources and poor cash control. You should not go it alone unless you really understand the world of accounting and finance. A good accountant will be as committed as you are to making the right choices for your business.
The Government of South Australia have developed GRANTassist to provide businesses with access to up to date information on State and Federal Government assistance and programs relevant to your businesses. GRANTassist can help you locate the assistance and program initiatives most relevant to your business needs. The GRANTassist tool allows you to search for programs in the Food, Beverages and Wine sectors, and can provide advice, business development assistance or financial support to help you improve your business.
The language of business is money – and if you cannot talk this language you are financially illiterate. Even if maths is not your strength, it is most definitely in your interests to learn how to cost your product, calculate profit margins, prepare budgets, and analyse and interpret financial statements – profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and tax returns. The effort will pay off in a much deeper understanding of the dynamics of your own business, and you will be in a strong position to manage your finances day to day and plan for growth.
The Government of South Australian provides a range of advice and support services for small businesses principally through the Department of State Development,Business Enterprise Centres and Regional Development Boards.
The Australian Government provides assistance to small businesses through AusIndustry, and can also help with general information on:
- Business planning
- Cost control
- Maintenance and prevention
- Advertising and promotion
An increased number of Federal and State government based grant programs are becoming available for South Australian food businesses, so we’ve compiled a list of all the current grants to make it easier to connect to the opportunities. View the current grant opportunities.
Further grants may be found on GrantsLink.
Get yourself grant ready!
Thinking of applying for a state or federal grant for your business but not sure where to begin? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Read the rules (all of them)
Grant programs have clearly defined, specific guidelines and criteria to be met if your application is to be successful. The first thing to do is to read all the paperwork. This will help you work out which grants are suitable for your project and whether you meet the application criteria.
- Check that you are eligible. Some grant programs will require you to be a registered company, and most will have set criteria regarding your turnover and the size of your business.
- Read the guidelines and make a list of the information you will need to answer the questions and make your case. This is likely to include recent financial reports, a company profile or a copy of your business plan.
- Check the guidelines for required and optional additional material such as letters of endorsement from the company board, proof of access to funding (if your financial contribution involves a loan or lease agreement, for example) and technical specifications for equipment.
- Download the application form and use it as your checklist to prepare. This is the easiest way to make sure you know at the beginning whether you need to ask your accountant to prepare information, and whether you also need documentation from your legal representative (for example evidence of intellectual property or patent ownership).
Get your house in order
Depending on the grant program you are applying for, there may be a requirement for you to be able to supply documentation of or proof of existence of:
- Employment contracts
- Occupational health and safety policy
- Gender equality policy
- Risk management system
- Food manufacturing safety and audit systems (including disaster plans and food recall plans if applicable)
- Organisation chart
This also applies to programs such as the business evaluation programs offered by the Department of Industry.
It’s not unusual for most of this to be in your head if you own or manage a small business, but now’s the time to sort it out and get it down on paper. Businesses who have their systems organised and are doing all the right things in terms of regulatory processes and industrial awards are more likely to be successful.
Crunch the numbers
Most grant programs offer funding on a matched basis of either 2:1 or 1:1. This means you have to have the money to fund your component of the project, or be able to demonstrate how you will access this funding. The rules about how grant funding can be applied will be detailed in the grant program guidelines. You need to be sure for example, if you want funding support for equipment, the grant you are applying for allows the funds to be used for this purpose.
- Check the eligible and ineligible project costs in the guidelines
- Work out the full project budget and make a list of the milestones for the project, including estimated times for completion (many grant programs also specify maximum completion times)
- Don’t forget your contributions to the budget may include in-house engineering or construction labour in some cases too
- If you’ve invested in research and development or commercial assessments relevant to your project prior to applying for a grant, this investment may be able to be included in your contribution for some grant programs. Even if this doesn’t apply, evidence of your research will strengthen your case.
Make the call and make the case
If you’ve read through the guidelines in detail and think you meet the criteria, then make the most of the expert support of the contacts for the relevant grant program. Ring them – that’s what they are there for. Program advisors can answer all your questions and will work through the eligibility criteria with you. They can explain how the funding agreements work and when you would be paid.
- Make sure you have met the requirements for making your business case and that you’ve answered the questions in the application specifically and clearly.
- In some cases (but not all), it is possible to have someone from the grant program look over a draft of your application and give you some feedback before you submit it officially – use this option if it’s available to ensure you’ve made the strongest and clearest case you can.
Do it their way
Many federal grant programs have the capability for you to work on your application online, and to go back to it to edit as you need to prior to submission. (The option to do this will show on the relevant grant program website).
Other programs will specifically request online submission and will specify the size and format for attachments for supporting documentation.
Follow these instructions to make sure you aren’t eliminated from the process before you’ve even had a chance to make your case! (If you prefer not to submit your financial data online, contact the grant program advisor to see if you may provide them in hard copy and the best way to go about this.)
And finally, be aware of the deadlines. Most grant programs will not accept late submissions.
Want to know more?
A variety of grant programs for individuals, businesses and communities to help you to develop solutions to local and national problems, fund ideas and initiatives or provide assistance in times of hardship.