Small Business Support Benefits
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You gain an experienced business partner …. someone who also cares about your business, will meet and communicate with you regularly, connect you with other experts, networks and resources, and ensure you build a sustainable business.
Benefits include helping you:
- analyse & understand your current business situation
- identify your strengths & weaknesses
- clarify your needs
- discover opportunities to build your business
- brainstorm ideas
- create budget(s), cash flow & financial forecasts
- develop a comprehensive business plan
- set a plan of action
- stay on track to achieve your goals
- manage & mitigate risks
- gain expert advice
- develop new skills
A range of support provided includes:
A Small Business Financial Counsellor (SBFC) to help you financially assess your business, as well as develop a comprehensive financial and business plan. The SBFC will remain in regular contact with you to help achieve your goals &/or manage risks.
A personal Business Coach who will meet with you monthly to help identify your goals, personal attributes, trading environment, develop a high level action plan and monitor progress.
Business Mentors who are experts in your industry, will be made available for feedback, advice and help you develop a direction for your business.
Access to Training, Resources & References to enhance your knowledge and skills.
Ongoing connections to Networks providing forums of experiences, ideas, expertise, support and opportunities for potential market expansion.
All services are Free for the first 12 months – saving you tens of thousands of dollars.
If you choose to continue this support for another year, services from our Small Business Financial Counsellor (SBFC) will remain Free of charge, however additional professional support required will be at a cost – significantly subsidised to remain affordable for your business.
The Accelerated program is free for 6 months. Ongoing, the SBFC will remain a free service with additional services at a subsidised cost.
This free service has been made possible due to a proud partnership with the Victorian Government as well as Financial Counselling Australia Foundation and the ANZ Bank
Places are limited so we recommend you express your interest as soon as possible.
- Classified as a Small Business (turnover less than $2,000,000 p/a)
- Located in a classified drought-affected area of Gippsland Victoria (East Gippsland and Wellington Shires)
- Business dependent on the agricultural industry (directly or indirectly)
Please Note: Eligibility priority may be given to businesses operating within outer regional/rural locations within the drought-affected areas
This service is available for up to 2 years.
The first 12 months are free of charge. If you wish to continue utilising the service, you will continue to receive support from our Small Business Financial Counsellor (SBFC) for free, however additional training, mentoring, coaching or other professional opportunities will be provided at a significantly subsidised cost to ensure affordability.
An intensive Accelerated Program is an available option. The complete program and services will be condensed and applied within a 6 month period, including meetings with our professional consultants and networks conducted more frequently.
Again, any service required after this period will be at a subsided cost, however ongoing support from our SBFC will continue free of charge.
Our Small Business Financial Counsellor (SBFC) is a highly experienced business consultant with personal knowledge of both the agricultural industry and the Gippsland region. They are a certified Rural Financial Counsellor and understand how to value a business, what makes a strong; viable business, as well as identify its strengths, risks, and market opportunities.
Our SBFC will meet with you personally on a monthly basis either at your place of business, or at our Bairnsdale office. They are also available to contact anytime with any questions or concerns, working closely with you to make any necessary changes, develop financial and business plans, as well as a market strategy to increase profitability and become a sustainable business.
SBFC will specifically:
- Analyse your business viability
- Understand your needs and goals and what to do to achieve them
- Assist in developing comprehensive financial, business and marketing plans
- Develop budgets and cash flows
- Manage &/or reorganise debts and negotiate with creditors if needed
- Monitor, motivate and help you achieve your action plan
- Identify and mitigate any potential risks in achieving your goals
- Arrange Coaching, Mentoring, Training & Other Resources as necessary
- Refer you to other support and professional services as needed
- Advise you of eligible Government Programs you may benefit from
- Communicate useful information that will benefit you or your business
- Connect you with business, industry and other support Networks
You are able to have access to our SBFC for up to 2 years free of charge
A dedicated Professional Business Coach will meet with you personally on a monthly basis for over an hour each visit, applying a proven coaching system that give you the tools and resources to thrive as a business owner.
After undergoing business analysis and a financial assessment with our Small Business Financial Counsellor, the Business Coach will initially help you develop a bespoke plan to suit your individual needs by assisting you:
- Clarify future plans and goals for both you and your business
- Break down goals into achievable actions and milestones
- Understand Market Trends and Opportunities to develop your business
- Review your business model and structure
- Identify and apply necessary changes
- Help you develop a marketing strategy
- Recognise your personal traits, strengths and skills necessary
Once established, your Coach will:
- Monitor your progress against your action plan
- Identify and remove barriers to success
- Recommend fit-for-purpose training
- Update you with current resources, networks and other useful information
- Make recommendations to our Small Business Financial Counsellor where necessary
Business Coaching is free for up to 12 months. If you choose to continue using this service, it will be available at a subsidised cost for up to an additional 12 months.
Professional Small Business Mentors are experts in their fields, passionate about business and keen to pass on their skills and experience.
Mentors are experienced in all business disciplines and you will have access to Mentor(s) with knowledge specific to your needs. They can assist you:
- Work ‘on’ your business rather than ‘in’ your business
- Increase your business & marketing skills
- Set a direction for your business
- Improve your motivation & confidence
- Increase sales & profits
- Identify opportunities & bring fresh/different thinking
- Assess the Pros & Cons of new ideas
- Connect to other organisations, networks & events
- Resolve Time Management issues
- Apply improved business methodologies
5 x 1 hour Mentoring sessions are available for free for up to 12 months. If you wish to continue utilising the service, it will be available at a subsidised cost for up to an additional 12 months.
We can refer and connect you with a range of other support services and opportunities including:
- Emergency relief for household essentials if you are in financial dire straights
- Professional Agencies that can help with personal and family concerns, including mental heath, care, mediation and legal matters
- Employment services to support your business, or employees that you may no longer afford
- Training opportunities to enhance required skills (tailored to your availability)
- Networks specific to your industry, market &/or business support
- Events & seminars beneficial for your industry &/or target market
- Government programs and initiatives as they arise
- Grants & funding available for business development &/or operational improvements
Training will depend on your specific needs as identified with your Coach and Financial Counsellor.
It can be in the form of a formal qualification, short course or workshop delivered using a range of options suitable to your availability, including remote online learning, group training, tutoring or self-paced resources.
A range of training options can be either essential business skills, or personal/professional development. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Business software applications
- Understanding the market
- Financial Literacy
- Time Management
- Leadership & Management for success
- Employee Relations
- Social Media Marketing
- Work Health & Safety
- Product Development & Market testing
- Website building
- Strategic Planning
- Risk Management
- Mental Health in the Workplace
Depending on the type of training, it will be offered either free of charge, or significantly subsidised/discounted
Our Financial Counsellors are highly experienced with debt management.
They will assess your level of debt against your current financial situation, and identify options to improve your current debt, or access funds to develop your business (only if viable to do so).
If you are in significant debt or you have creditors demanding repayment, our Financial Counsellors will assess your ability to pay, develop feasible options and an agreed repayment plan, and can be authorised to negotiate with creditors on your behalf towards a successful outcome for all parties.
This service can go a long way in reducing your stress levels, smooth cash flow, secure your assets, improve credit rating and stabilise your business.
If your plan is to exit the business via selling or passing on to someone you know, our program remains beneficial using either the 12 month or 6 month Accelerated Program.
We can work towards ensuring your business attracts buyers by demonstrating strong profits, limited risk/diverse revenue opportunity, and its potential for longevity.
Our consultants will help you identify your sell target, timeframe and actions that will position yourself in the best case scenario.
If you plan to pass your business on to a family member or friend, they are welcome to join the program to offer them the best possible opportunity for success.
There is a wide range of networking opportunities businesses would benefit from. It is recommended that you become a member of at least 1 network group.
This can be in the form of an online group forum, industry events & seminars, community group, market specific, demographic specific or emotional support groups.
Examples include but not limited to:
- RFCS Gippsland Small Business Support Clients (this program)
- Grow Gippsland
- Small Business Mentoring Services
- Local Business Network
- Chamber of Commerce
- Tourism Associations
- Rotary Club
- Trade, Service & Industry Groups
- Professional Associations
- Women in Business
- Shire Council Partnerships
Networks are an opportunity to share ideas, learn from each other’s mistakes and successes, access support and resources, stay abreast of market trends, gain referrals, and overall improve your potential to increase/expand your market.
If you are a current eligible small business who has an idea that will diversify from current products/services, than this program will be beneficial – particularly the Accelerated Program. Our consultants will assess your current business viability, and put an action plan in place to complete market research ensuring demand, undergo a risk assessment and mitigation activities, and most importantly make sure you have all the resources necessary to make the idea a success (without negatively impacting your current business).
If you are an individual with a unique business idea, we can recommend other services that will help you towards developing the product/service, as well as offer references, templates, tools, networks and checklists to help you move toward your goal. We cannot provide any further assistance.