Melburnian Taury Feng had made a career in manufacturing but was ready for a change. In 2018, he took a leap of faith and dived into the world of small business, becoming the franchisee of SpudBar QV – an Australian baked potato chain.
The first year in small business can be a steep learning curve, and Taury hit a few stumbling blocks as he adjusted to his new vocation. He faced the common small business challenge of uneven cash flow, coupled with unforeseen expenses, so he turned to Prospa to help keep his fast food franchise moving.
Entering the hospitality industry
In 2016, after seven years as a welder, Taury was ready for a new challenge. A shifting professional landscape and inspiration from friends guided him towards hospitality.
“A couple of my mates have a fish and chip shop, so I thought I might give running my own restaurant a crack,” he says.
Taury wanted to be a franchisee so he didn’t have to worry about marketing and starting from scratch. He continued welding while looking for an opportunity.
“It took about 18 months to find the right fit,” he says. “I enquired about other franchises, but when I saw a SpudBar opening, a light bulb went off in my head.”
Taury liked the idea of healthy fast food and saw a franchise with growth potential.
In October 2018, he used his savings to franchise SpudBar in Melbourne’s QV Centre. Although he’s got four people on staff, Taury does a lot of the work himself, prepping, serving, washing and cleaning each day.
Initial stumbling blocks
When first starting out, Taury was prepared for ongoing expenses like rent, staff wages and supplier payments. But there were things he hadn’t accounted for.
“There are business registration fees and business insurance every year,” he says, “Those were surprises. Because I was new to the industry, I didn’t take those into account when I was getting started.”
And that’s before the business incurred other unexpected costs, like broken equipment.
“Those costs hurt! Unforeseen expenses can really hurt small businesses.”
When everything hits at once
June can be a stressful month for small business owners, especially first-timers like Taury. Tax time was rolling around, and Taury had bills, unforeseen expenses and other operating costs piling up.
“I was finding it hard to manage cash flow,” he says. “I needed to pay tax, suppliers, staff and rent, and I didn’t have the funds to do so.”
Taury turned to the major bank he’d been with for 11 years for help but they wouldn’t support him. “I was a bit disappointed,” he says.
Then Taury saw an ad for Prospa on social media. He filled out the quick online form and within 10 minutes, a representative called to explain his options. He decided to apply for a small business loan.
“It was simple and straightforward. The rep got the ball rolling really quickly and the money was in my account that night.”
The funds enabled Taury to pay off his outstanding invoices and payments, which gave him confidence heading into the new financial year. From this experience, Taury realised he needed a way he could manage unexpected cash flow gaps more easily. He turned to Prospa again, but this time to set up a line of credit.
Taury’s new “financial safety net” came in handy when his dishwasher broke in September 2019. Using his line of credit, he was able to get a technician out straight away.
“The line of credit meant I didn’t have to use the money in my business account, and I could run the business as normal,” he explains.
Confidence to focus on the business
Taury now spends less time worrying about how he’s going to manage unexpected cash flow gaps, and more time focusing on making his franchise a success.
“The line of credit eases my stress so I can focus on tomorrow,” he says. “I don’t have to be standing there stressed about the cash flow.
“I’ve already recommended Prospa to a couple of the other SpudBar franchisees. I told them if they need some financial help to give Prospa a call.
“Prospa has provided me an umbrella. I know if something goes wrong, I have that financial cover. I know they have my back.”
If you need a safety net so you can focus on your business and stop worrying about day-to-day finances, talk to Prospa on 1300 220 215 or apply for a line of credit online.
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