Since 1974, Promo Gear has been producing corporate gifts, clothing and uniforms – “Anything with a logo,” says Director David Hulett.
Based in Brisbane, Promo Gear has customers and suppliers across Australia and around the world. The business has been growing fast, nearly doubling turnover this year. Yet that growth has brought new challenges – including the need to access working capital rapidly when orders come flooding in.
Financing growth with flexibility
David says the last 18 months have seen enormous demand for personal protective equipment, face masks, sanitiser and related products. Promo Gear was ahead of the market in anticipating the need for rapid antigen test (RAT) kits, locking in suppliers before demand spiked. And as corporate events and promotions have resumed, the business has also seen more traditional product lines pick up.
With an influx of larger clients bringing in larger contracts, the business needed to act quickly to secure working capital to fund its growth.
“Some of the largest purchases that were happening over the last 12 to 18 months required payment upfront,” says David. “A lot of the federal government departments don't actually pay deposits. So we were self-funding all of our processes with deposit payments through cash flow.” When demand for RAT kits jumped, the business also needed quick finance to secure an ongoing supply.
At first, David and his team tried using procurement loans to fund purchases. Yet that didn’t give them the flexibility they needed to respond rapidly to new opportunities.
“We found that the process of approval for procurement loans could take six weeks, while in some cases we were delivering [products to customers] in three,” David says. The lengthy application process for each loan was also a significant pain point, along with the uncertainty of not knowing whether the business would have approved finance on time.
“We’re big planners,” says David. “We love structure and process. So once we actually realised that the organic growth of the business was almost out of our control, we needed peace of mind to know that we can basically flow through the growth comfortably, and have the support behind us to be able to do that.”
That was when their Business Banker suggested a solution. “He pointed us towards Stream Working Capital, which was the best thing that could have happened to us,” says David.
Seamless access to the capital you need
Stream Working Capital is a fully digital, self-service cash flow solution that enables businesses like Promo Gear to unlock the value of their unpaid invoices. It makes it easy to borrow funds quickly and easily using the invoices you nominate as security, rather than residential property or other business assets.1
With a Stream Working Capital Transaction Account2 in place, David and his team can log on to the online platform 24 hours a day, then choose which invoices they’d like to borrow against and when. Because the business’ borrowing capacity increases in line with invoices issued, Stream Working Capital helps power its growth without the need to seek a new loan for every contract. And because the business can connect its cloud-based accounting software directly to the platform, there’s no need to manually process files or scan and upload invoices.
“The process was very seamless, very simple and easy, user friendly,” he says. “You can select individual invoices if you only want to borrow against [them], and draw down on those funds instantly with the click of a button … It can be a matter of hours, and you’ve got the funds.”
Better still, with Stream Working Capital, Promo Gear only pays interest on the funds it draws down. "It's definitely a cost effective solution,” says David.
Expert support on tap
David says Stream Working Capital helped his team accelerate growth and chase new opportunities.
“It enabled us to very confidently and easily go in and actually compete for larger business straightaway,” he says. “Having that instant access to finance and knowing that you've got the support network of the CommBank business sector to be able to help you through, that is perfect.”
As well as easy access to finance, David says a key benefit has been expert support when he needs it. “The CommBank support crew is amazing … they're not trying to push product under your nose and try to sell to you. They're just trying to help you through and find a solution that best suits. It's quick, simple, easy, and very informative and clear. They're just trying to educate you and help you.“