Former AFL professional footballer Tom Rockliff has swapped kicking goals on the footy field for helping business owners score finance goals in the world of commercial brokerage.
Tom played for the Brisbane Lions from 2009-2017, including captaining the team in 2015, before moving to Port Adelaide Football Club, where he played until his retirement in 2021.
He now works as a finance broker for Commercial Point Finance in Coomera on Queensland’s Gold Coast, helping clients navigate the best ways to gain finance to grow their business.
Below Tom lists his best tips for business owners looking to snag that all-important loan.
GET THAT FINANCIAL INFO TOGETHER
“We have business owners come to us for all sorts of reasons, but generally speaking it is because they need to upgrade or purchase a new piece of equipment, or they need working capital to get them through a period of tighter cash flow,” Tom says.
“For an SME, they may issue an invoice that won’t be paid for six weeks, so we know cash flow is a challenge for many small businesses.
“When you’re applying for a loan, the best thing is to gather as much financial documentation as you can.
“It definitely helps us find the best loan because some lenders will need financials and quarterly BAS (Business Activity Statement) statements, whereas others will lend based primarily on bank statements.
“So it can vary, and by providing all that information, you’re opening up more options.”
GET RID OF THAT CREDIT CARD
“After we’ve got the necessary information, we can then collate that info and present it to a range of lenders,” Tom says.
“All liabilities are taken into account and, similar to when applying for a home mortgage, that includes credit cards.
“Any credit card will negatively impact your application, so, if you can, it’s best to get rid of it.
“Any BNPL applications, even if on your personal credit history, will have the same impact, so be mindful of these when going through the application process.
“We also advise clients that they only want to be making one application to one loan provider, so your credit history isn’t popping up with multiple applications, which can also be a red flag.”
REMEMBER TO RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
“Brokers are there to guide you through the process as we have a greater understanding of the lending options and unique areas,” Tom says.
“It can be hard to obtain finance from the Big Four at times, particularly if you have an opportunity that needs immediate funding, so knowing what other lenders are out there and their offerings can be very useful.”
NEGOTIATING THE BEST DEAL AND FINDING THE RIGHT LENDER
“When looking for the right lender for clients, if they have one point of contact to take a phone call and go through the specifics of the loan application, that’s a big plus in my book for the client.
“Just because a business owner may have been knocked back in the past doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not a good fit for a loan today.
“What I love about Banjo Loans is I can call them up and go through the scenario and explain the backstory, because the computer programs they run through won’t tell the whole story.
“If for some reason they can’t do the loan, they will at least point me in the direction of another lender that may.
“Banjo also has some fantastic products like the equipment finance solution (Asset & Equipment Finance Express), which offers non-property backed clients’ loans with no deposit up to $150,000, which is great for businesses looking to expand.
“This is for hard working businesses that want to keep moving without jumping through too many hoops. The Asset & Equipment Finance Express package just requires one-plus years as an ABN and GST registered business, 12 months of bank statements and a goods invoice to get started.
ONE MORE THING
“Approach applying for a loan like you are studying for an exam. That means do your research, get all your documentation and notes together in one place where you have total oversight, ask an expert for help when you come across a tricky problem, and when it is the big day, put your best foot forward.”