Queensland business owner Justin Cavanagh reflects on some of the issues he faced starting a business during a boom and continuing through the mining downturn, and how invoice financing saved his business and his home.
“Starting a business in boom times was a low-risk strategy. My wife Kelly and I financed it ourselves, we had the right capital and equipment to fund the first three months and if things didn’t work out, we knew we’d have no trouble picking up jobs again,” explains Justin.
Justin is the general manager of IMIS (Industrial Mining Inspection Solutions), a Queensland business servicing Gladstone, Rockhampton, Emerald, Blackwater and the surrounding region.
IMIS inspects equipment and does quality control and integrity testing on industrial sites for clients across the mining, manufacturing, fabrication and petroleum sectors.
The four-year-old business is going strong despite the once booming Gladstone economy experiencing a tightening.
“To grow the business, my wife and I eventually needed to find outside funding, and I’m very glad that we didn’t go with the option of an overdraft,” Justin says.
“With the downturn, the housing market has been hit hard in Gladstone, and if we’d gone with an overdraft, our business could’ve been crushed. It would’ve been a really tricky situation.”
He adds: “Having invoice finance instead of an overdraft removed the risk for our business.”
Justin opted for selective invoice financing through lender Scottish Pacific. According to Justin, this method of financing allows him to choose which invoices to put forward to receive funding against, enabling him to control his overall interest costs.
“We started using selective invoice finance in early 2016. It works well in our seasonally quieter times and in solving the immediate cash flow issue when you are trying to get a project up and running,” he says.
“It’s also given me the confidence to approach bigger potential clients, knowing our funding is there. It takes away that small business fear of whether you can fund a major job, and it helps me to do the right thing by my employees.”
The business, which employees six staff plus casuals, has since been able to concentrate on growth.
“Due to the cash flow changes made possible by [this facility], we have had the ability to take on larger jobs. The turnover for the business has increased 30 per cent in the past six months,” says Justin.