But let’s take a look at two businesses that are already going gangbusters, and find out how they managed to fund their growth.
Yo-get-it: 18 stores and counting
Scott Bradley was 23 when he and co-founder Sean Towner founded frozen yoghurt chain Yo-get-it.
“When Sean and I first started Yo-get-it, none of the banks wanted to touch two 23-year-olds,” says Bradley, now 29.
But the friends, former construction project managers, we're not going to be put off their dream. Luckily Bradley had $70,000 up his sleeve from TV game show Deal or No Deal.
Adding their own savings to the pot, Bradley took a 41 per cent share of the company, Towner invested in 36 per cent, and friends and family invested in the remainder.
Along with their own difficulties in getting bank finance, Bradley says potential franchisees also faced an uphill battle.
“They’d go and try and get business loans, but even with the backing of Yo-get-it, if the franchisees didn’t have a house or generally 80 per cent of the cash up front, not even the big four banks would want to touch them.”
After some early success, a well-known businessman assisted the young entrepreneurs by putting his name to a bank loan, which he also had to personally guarantee.
Opsis: Too much work, not enough staff
Gill Walker, owner of specialist customer relationship management (CRM) company Opsis, is facing a sticky wicket. She’s got more work than she handle, but can’t convince anyone to inject the cash she needs to invest in more staff to grow the business.
“It’s a complete circle that I’m failing to break,” says Ms Walker, who has run the business since 2004.
“It seems from my experience that the only funding available requires you to put your house on the line. Our house is totally owned by my husband, so that’s not an option.”
Ms Walker said if she were to secure funding, she would likely spend it on a results-based salesperson to bring in work, followed by another staff member to help carry it out. For the moment, she is stuck in the “feast and famine scenario” – a situation many small business owners will relate to. “Work does not parallel billings either,” says Ms Walker.