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Securing business funding:
tips for accessing capital

tips for accessing capital_business funding

Gathering the funds you need for your business can feel like a mountain to climb, especially when every rand counts towards turning your entrepreneurial dreams into reality. You might be wondering where to start, which options are best suited to your needs, and how to increase the likelihood of securing that much-needed business funding.

Many small businesses face this hurdle and need help understanding financial terms and processes.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) contribute to more than half of all jobs worldwide, according to the World Bank. This signals just how crucial it is for these businesses – not only for their success, but also for global economic health – to access funding.

Here, we guide you through various funding avenues available today – from traditional loans to innovative online platforms and government grants – laying out practical steps you can take in an easy-to-understand way.

Understanding business funding and finance for your small business

As you explore funding options for your small business, having knowledge about various choices is essential.

Whether you consider traditional bank loans or explore alternatives like crowdfunding and angel investors, each has unique advantages and disadvantages.

Types of funding available

There are many ways to get money for your business, each with pros and cons.

  • Traditional loans come from banks or credit unions. They often have lower interest rates but need a good credit score.
  • Alternative lenders offer loans, too. Their process is much faster and easier, but they might charge more interest.
  • Some people use their own money to start their business. This is called bootstrapping. It’s risky, but you keep full control.
  • Friends and family can sometimes lend money. It’s important to treat it as seriously as a bank loan.
  • Government grants are like gifts for your business. You don’t pay them back, but the government body has strict qualifying criteria.
  • Crowdfunding provides a platform for lots of people to contribute small amounts of money. In return, they might get a product or a share in the company.
  • Angel investors give money for part ownership in the company. They also offer advice and contacts.
  • Venture capitalists invest large sums of capital in businesses with high growth potential. They also want a share of the company.
  • Business incubators and accelerators help start-ups to grow by providing money, workspace and support.
  • Invoice factoring lets you sell unpaid invoices for quick cash, but at a lower value than the invoice amount.

Traditional funding

Applying for a bank loan is one of the most common methods to achieve this. Bank loans are flexible and can be used for various purposes like expanding your business or purchasing new equipment. A bank will typically assess your financial history, credit score and ability to repay the loan.

Small businesses may find it challenging to obtain bank loans, but don’t let that discourage you. Though interest rates may be higher, banks usually offer flexible repayment terms to make managing your finances easier. Something to be aware of is that if you ever face difficulties repaying the loan, banks usually accept collateral like property or equipment as an alternative.

Alternative funding

As a business owner, you’re always looking for the best ways to secure funding. While traditional loans have been a popular choice in the past, today’s market offers a diverse array of alternative funding options that might be a better fit for your unique business needs.

Have you ever thought about crowdfunding? By raising small amounts of money from many people online, you can gain the support you need from your loyal supporters and customers. Or, perhaps, you’re interested in seeking out an angel investor who truly believes in your business. Not only can they provide the funding you require, but they can also offer valuable advice and guidance based on their own experience.

If you’re waiting on unpaid invoices, invoice factoring can turn them into immediate cash to keep things moving smoothly. With these flexible funding options, you don’t have to rely solely on banks or big loans to achieve your business goals.

Benefits and drawbacks of each type

Each funding option presents distinct advantages and potential drawbacks for small businesses. A clear understanding of these can guide your decision-making process.


tips for accessing capital_business funding


Funding type



Traditional funding (eg bank loans) Lower interest rates

Long-term financing options

Structured repayment plans

Strict eligibility criteria

Lengthy application processes

Potential requirement for collateral

Alternative funding (eg online lenders) Quicker access to funds

Less stringent requirements

Flexible loan terms

Potential for higher interest rates

Shorter repayment terms

Potential for less favourable terms

Government grants No repayment required

Support for specific sectors

Access to networks and mentoring

Competitive application process

Limited availability

Specific qualification requirements

Angel investors Capital without debt

Business expertise and mentoring

Networking opportunities

Loss of some equity

Investor involvement in decisions

Potential for conflict

Take the time to consider each option carefully and how it aligns with your business strategy and growth plans.

Ask yourself these questions before choosing business funding for you

Choosing the right type of business funding can help your company grow. Before jumping in, think carefully about these key points:

  • How much money do you need?

Work out the exact amount your business requires. This helps avoid borrowing too much or too little.

  • What is the money for?

Be clear about why you need the funds. It could be for new equipment, more staff or bigger premises.

  • Can you repay a loan?

Look at your business’s income and costs to make sure you can repay any money you borrow.

  • What’s your credit score like?

Lenders look at this to decide if they should give you money. A higher score means a better chance of getting a loan.

  • Are there risks involved?

Understand that things might not always go as planned, which could affect paying back loans or using funds.

  • How fast do you need the money?

Some funding takes longer than others, so plan if you’re in a hurry.

  • Do you want to keep control of your business?

Taking on investors might mean giving them some say in how things are run.

  • What kind of lending terms are available?

Shop for the best loan terms, including interest rates and repayment schedules.

  • Could your industry impact funding options?

Some sectors have special grants or loans because they’re considered essential or fast-growing.

  • Are there benefits beyond cash?

For example, some investors also offer guidance and contacts, which can be very valuable.

How your credit score and business health impact your chances of getting funded



business funding_business health



A good business credit score is essential in securing financial aid for your business. It’s like a report card that reflects your financial responsibility and how you manage your business’s finances. A high credit score shows that you pay your bills on time and keep your debt low, making you a low-risk borrower. Lenders are more likely to approve your funding requests because they believe you’re reliable and trustworthy.

Your business’s strength is also crucial in securing financing. Lenders and investors prefer to work with established businesses with a positive revenue track record. You’re more likely to receive loans, funding or investments if you’ve been around for a while and have a steady income stream.

In addition to your credit score and business strength, lenders and investors want to know that their money is in good hands and that it will be put to good use. Therefore, they’ll assess your business’s financial health and potential for growth and profitability. A strong business plan, industry knowledge and a solid understanding of your target market can help demonstrate your business’s potential.

Government funding sources for small businesses

The South African Government provides various funding sources for small businesses, including the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), Co-operative Incentive Scheme (CIS) and Black Business Supplier Development Programme (BBSDP).

These programmes offer financial support to help small businesses grow and thrive in the market.

Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda)

Seda provides support to small businesses. They offer guidance on business planning, financial management and marketing. The agency also helps with accessing funds and sourcing government grants.

This agency is a valuable resource for entrepreneurs. It offers workshops and training programmes to equip small business owners with the necessary skills for success. Seda’s expert advice and assistance can be instrumental in growing your small enterprise.

Co-operative Incentive Scheme (CIS)

The CIS is a government funding source designed to support small businesses. It provides financial assistance for establishing co-operatives, helping them with feasibility studies and business planning.

This scheme also offers funding for equipment, machinery and other resources required for cooperative ventures.

Small businesses can benefit from CIS by accessing support through grants that do not need to be repaid. By leveraging this opportunity, entrepreneurs can strengthen their cooperative businesses, fostering growth and sustainability in their operations.

Black Business Supplier Development Programme (BBSDP)

The BBSDP supports black-owned businesses by providing funding and resources to help them grow. It aims to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of these enterprises through financial assistance, business development and capacity-building initiatives.

By participating in this programme, small businesses can benefit from mentorship, networking and market access opportunities, which are crucial for long-term success. The programme’s focus on empowering black entrepreneurs creates a more diverse and inclusive business environment while fostering economic growth within local communities.

Non-repayable business grants

Non-repayable business grants offer a valuable source of funding for small businesses, providing financial assistance without the repayment requirement. To learn more about how to access these grants and maximise your chances of approval, keep reading.

Criteria for eligibility

To be eligible for business grants, loans or funding opportunities, small businesses should consider the following:

  • Demonstrate a clear and viable business plan that outlines how the funds will be used and the expected impact on the business’s growth and sustainability.
  • Maintain a strong credit score to show financial responsibility and reliability in managing debts and financial obligations.
  • Showcase a solid track record of business performance, including a healthy turnover, profitability and sustainable operations.
  • Comply with specific requirements outlined by the funding source, such as being within a certain industry or geographical location or meeting criteria related to company size or ownership structure.
  • Present clear evidence of how the funding will benefit the business and contribute to broader economic growth or societal impact.
  • Ensure all legal and regulatory obligations are met, including tax compliance and adherence to relevant industry standards and practices.
  • Exhibit a commitment to transparency and accountability by providing accurate financial statements and documentation to support the funding application.

How to apply

business funding_tips for accessing capital_documents

After confirming eligibility for non-repayable business grants, the next step is to prepare and submit a thorough application. Here are the steps small businesses can follow to apply:

  1. Gather required documents: Collect all necessary documents, such as financial statements, business plans, identification documents and any other paperwork specified in the grant application guidelines.
  2. Complete the application form: Fill out the application form accurately and completely. Ensure that all required fields are properly filled in to avoid delays in processing.
  3. Craft a compelling proposal: Clearly articulate your business idea or project proposal professionally. Highlight its potential impact and how it aligns with the grant’s objectives.
  4. Review and revise: Carefully review your application for errors, inaccuracies or missing information. Revise as needed to ensure clarity and coherence.
  5. Seek professional help if necessary: Consider leveraging assistance from business advisers, consultants or grant-writing professionals to strengthen your application.
  6. Submit on time: Pay close attention to the deadline and ensure your application is submitted before the cut-off date.
  7. Follow up: After submitting your application, follow up with the grant provider if any updates or additional information are required.
  8. Prepare for possible interviews or presentations: Some grant applications may involve interviews or presentations. Be prepared to articulate your proposal effectively if this is part of the process.
  9. Stay informed: Keep yourself updated on the status of your application by regularly communicating with the relevant authorities or organisations.

Pros and cons

Grants can be a lifeline for small businesses, providing vital capital without the burden of repayment.

However, they also come with their own set of challenges. Below is an overview of the pros and cons of non-repayable business grants:

Pros of non-repayable business grants

Cons of non-repayable business grants

No need to repay Highly competitive application process
Retain full ownership Stringent eligibility requirements
Can cover a variety of costs Limited funds available
Often come with added support Possible restrictions on how funds are used
Boosts credibility and business profile Extensive documentation may be required
It may not require credit checks Time-consuming application and waiting period

Securing non-repayable grants can give your business the boost it needs without the stress of financial repayments. Evaluate these pros and cons carefully to decide if this funding route aligns with your business goals and resources.

Other sources of business funding

Retail capital, equipment financing, invoice factoring, accounts receivable financing, crowdfunding and angel investors are alternative sources of business funding that small businesses can explore to secure the capital they need.

Each option has its criteria and benefits, so it’s essential to thoroughly research and understand the implications before pursuing any specific avenue.

Lula: an alternative business funding solution

Lula is an innovative platform revolutionising the financial industry, dedicated to empowering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa. Lula offers various funding options to support entrepreneurs’ business growth.

Lula offers personalised financial solutions and professional advice to help you obtain the necessary capital to accomplish your business objectives.

Lula business funding

Lula’s Revolving Capital Facility and Capital Advance make it easy for businesses to access up to R5 million in funding, with speedy processing times of just 24 hours. If you have a Lula business bank account, it could be as little as 2 hours.

What is the Lulalend Revolving Capital Facility?

Lula’s Revolving Capital Facility is an unsecured line of credit of up to R5 million that you can use whenever you need it. The best part about this facility is that you’ll only be charged interest on the amount you use, and you can borrow and repay the facility as many times as you need. This gives you the flexibility to manage your cash flow efficiently.

What is the Lulalend Capital Advance?

Capital Advance from Lula is a type of loan that provides a lump sum of funding for one-time expenses such as buying inventory, equipment or property. With a Capital Advance, you are only required to repay the amount you borrow, plus interest and fees. You can choose to pay back your Capital Advance earlier than the due date without incurring any penalties.

This capital can be used for any business purpose, including:

  • Inventory
  • Equipment
  • Renovations
  • Working capital
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Hiring staff
  • And more!
How do I qualify for funding from Lula?

To qualify for funding from Lula, your business must:

  • be located in South Africa,
  • have been operating for at least 12 months, and
  • have a minimum monthly turnover of R40,000 or an annual turnover of R500,000.
What are the interest rates and fees?

Lula has a fixed monthly cost, not an interest rate. The monthly cost is a percentage of the principal amount funded and is determined by the credit assessment of your business.

How do I apply?

Applying for funding from Lula is quick and easy. You can apply online in just a few minutes, and we will get back to you with a decision within 24 hours.

Retail capital

Retail capital offers small businesses a reliable source of working capital through their innovative merchant cash advance solution. This funding option provides quick access to funds by leveraging your future card sales, making it an attractive choice for businesses with fluctuating revenue.

With retail capital, there are no fixed monthly payments or hidden fees, giving you the flexibility to repay based on your sales volume. This means that when sales are high, you pay more, and during slower periods, the repayments adjust accordingly.

It’s a straightforward and accessible way to secure the capital needed to grow your business without being tied down by rigid repayment terms.

The application process for retail capital is also streamlined and efficient, allowing small businesses to access much-needed funds without the extensive paperwork and long waiting periods often associated with traditional loans.


business funding_tips for accessing capital

Equipment financing

Equipment financing is a smart way for small businesses to get the necessary tools and machinery without tying up a lot of cash upfront. Instead of buying equipment outright, you can spread the cost over time, making it more manageable.

This option frees up your working capital for other important business needs like inventory or hiring new employees. By using equipment financing, you can keep your business operations running smoothly while still having access to the latest technology and tools.

When opting for equipment financing, consider factors such as interest rates, repayment terms and additional fees. It’s essential to compare different lenders and their offers to find the most suitable option for your business needs.

Invoice factoring

Invoice factoring allows small businesses to improve cash flow by selling their unpaid invoices to a third-party company at a discount. This provides immediate funds rather than waiting for the customer to pay.

It’s beneficial for businesses that need quick access to capital or have slow-paying customers, and it can help with operating expenses, payroll and growth opportunities. However, it’s important to carefully consider the costs and terms associated with invoice factoring before deciding if it’s the right financing option for your business.

Small businesses often use invoice factoring when they need working capital quickly, but might not qualify for traditional bank loans. The process involves evaluating the creditworthiness of your customers since the factoring company will be collecting payments directly from them.

Accounts receivable financing

Accounts receivable financing allows small businesses to quickly access cash by using their unpaid customer invoices as collateral. It involves selling outstanding invoices to a finance company at a discount in exchange for immediate funds.

This can help improve cash flow and provide the necessary capital for business operations without waiting for customers to pay. Small businesses can use this type of financing to cover expenses, invest in growth or manage day-to-day operations more effectively.

By leveraging accounts receivable financing, small businesses can avoid the challenges of long payment cycles and ensure they have the financial resources needed to keep their operations running smoothly.


Crowdfunding is a way to raise money for your business by getting small amounts of money from many people, often through an online platform. It’s a popular option for start-ups and small businesses that need help accessing traditional funding.

With crowdfunding, you can showcase your business idea or product to potential investors and customers interested in financially supporting it. This method can also help you test the market demand for your product or service before fully launching.

However, running a successful crowdfunding campaign requires a strong marketing strategy and engaging content to attract backers who believe in your vision.

When using crowdfunding as a funding option, you need to have a compelling story that resonates with potential backers and clearly explains how their support will make a difference.

Building trust and transparency are crucial when seeking financial backing from the crowd.

Angel investors

Angel investors are high-net-worth individuals who provide financial backing for small businesses or start-ups in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt. They can offer valuable expertise, mentorship and capital to help your business grow.

Angel investors look for a compelling business plan and a clear vision for a company’s future. You’ll need to demonstrate potential for high returns on their investment and how you plan to use the funds effectively.

Building strong relationships with angel investors can also open doors to further funding opportunities and strategic partnerships that can benefit your business in the long term.

Navigating the world of securing funding from angel investors requires careful consideration and preparation, but it can significantly boost your company’s growth trajectory if done correctly.

Tips for successfully securing business funding

Thoroughly research and understand your funding options before making any decisions. Prepare a solid business plan and show a healthy turnover to increase your chances of securing funding.

Maintaining a healthy credit score and being persistent in negotiations can also improve the likelihood of successfully accessing capital for your small business.

Thoroughly research and understand your options

Before seeking funding for your small business, it’s crucial to thoroughly research and understand the different options available to you. Start by considering traditional funding sources such as bank loans or lines of credit and alternative options like Lula.

Each option has benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to assess them carefully based on your business needs and financial situation. Also consider how your credit score and overall business health impact your eligibility for different funding sources.

By exploring and comprehending all available avenues for securing capital, you can make informed decisions aligning with your business goals.

Have a solid business plan

One critical factor in securing business funding is having a well-structured and comprehensive business plan. Your plan should clearly outline your business goals, target market, financial projections and strategies for growth.

This document shows potential investors or lenders that you have a clear vision for your business and have thoroughly researched the market and industry trends. A solid business plan makes it easier for potential funders to understand your business concept and assess its viability, demonstrating that you are prepared to make informed decisions about your company’s future.

A detailed business plan showcases your understanding of the market and helps you articulate your long-term vision effectively.

Show a healthy turnover

To secure business funding, it’s crucial to demonstrate a healthy turnover. This shows potential lenders or investors that your business is effectively generating revenue and managing its finances.

A healthy turnover indicates that your business can repay any loans or investments, making it a more attractive prospect for financial support. By maintaining consistent sales and managing expenses efficiently, you can show potential funders that your business is sustainable and has growth potential.

A healthy turnover can also enhance your credibility when applying for funding. It demonstrates to lenders or investors that there is demand for your products or services in the market, which reduces their risk in supporting your business.

Maintain a healthy credit score

Maintaining a healthy credit score is crucial for accessing business funding. It shows lenders that you’re responsible with finances and can be relied upon to repay loans. To keep your credit score healthy, pay bills on time, minimise outstanding debt and avoid opening multiple new accounts simultaneously.

Regularly monitor your credit report for errors and address any issues promptly to ensure an accurate reflection of your financial reliability.

A good credit score increases the likelihood of approval for business loans or investment opportunities, providing access to essential capital for small businesses. By maintaining a healthy credit score, entrepreneurs can secure favourable financing options and pave the way for sustainable business growth and success.

Prepare a professional and persuasive application

Once you have maintained a healthy credit score and established the financial health of your business, it’s time to prepare a professional and persuasive application. Start by thoroughly researching funding options that best suit your business needs.

Craft a solid business plan outlining your goals, strategies, and financial projections. When applying for funding, present a track record of healthy turnover to demonstrate the potential for successful repayment.

Additionally, ensure that your application is professional, well-structured, and tailored to the specific requirements of each funding source. Be persistent in following up on your application and be prepared to negotiate terms if necessary.

Be persistent and willing to negotiate


tips for accessing capital_business funding


To secure business funding, being persistent and willing to negotiate is important. Keep going despite initial rejections; keep exploring different funding options and be open to negotiation.

This may involve discussing terms, interest rates or repayment schedules with potential lenders or investors. Persistence and flexibility can help you find the right funding solution for your business needs.

Remember that negotiations are a two-way process, so be prepared to articulate how the funding will benefit your business while also understanding the funder’s concerns. Proactively seeking opportunities and demonstrating a willingness to work together can make a positive impression on potential funders.

In conclusion, securing business funding is crucial for small businesses to thrive. You can make informed decisions that benefit your business by thoroughly understanding the various funding options available, such as traditional and alternative sources.

Maintaining a healthy credit score and presenting a solid business plan when applying for funding is essential. Remember, negotiation, persistence and professional application preparation are necessary to successfully securing business funding.

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