The idea that there are millions of dollars in grant funds — free money — waiting for the small business owner to tap into them is true and at the same time, not true.
In most cases, grant funds are not designed to start a new business. There are some specialized businesses that may qualify for start-up money, but 99.9% of the businesses would be ineligible to receive start-up funding.
Yet there are millions of dollars available to help fund existing small businesses and employment programs, particularly in the non-profit arena. The trick is to be able to research grants and find those that are most aligned with your company’s mission and/or project.
Grants fall into two categories: government and corporate. They all come with strings attached and very specific requirements for those who will be awarded the funds. Funders look for businesses and organizations that already exist, that will use the money for a worthwhile project, i.e. jobs in inner cities, providing training to specialized groups, etc., and that will develop a self-sustaining program.
For small businesses that are looking for funding for expansion or for equipment purchases, it takes a creative mind to find a grant that could apply to your specific needs while filling the requirements of the grant funders. That is where the services of a professional grant writer are invaluable.
For example, a company may want grant money to fund an expansion of their sales force and they need to add more space as well as hire more people. Well, a for-profit company may not be eligible for any grant money. However, the company could form a non-profit agency that trains veterans or welfare moms in sales skills, leases or buys space to accommodate the workers and gives the new trainees a place to work by leasing them to the for-profit company.
Writing a grant proposal is a very specialized skill, but it can be learned. Grant writing in and of itself is a potentially lucrative profession. The IRS has established a pay range for grant writers of $50 – $150 per hour. There companies who provide training on this, an in some cases students actually work on a real grant proposal while taking the course and with their work is critiqued by a certified professional grant writer
For those who don’t want to do it themselves or who don’t have the time to do it themselves, they can hire a professional grant writer to research and write the grant proposal. An organization will generally pay between $1,000 – $3,000 for a complete grant proposal and even higher for large proposal amounts. There are also grant review services that help grant seekers tweak their proposals for the best possible chance of funding.
Grants for small business funding are out there. The trick is to know how to present your needs in a way that best aligns with the grant funder’s mission. It isn’t easy, but it is definitely attainable and very much worth the effort.
Guide to Getting Small Business Grants
Do You Know that Small Business Grants Can be Waiting for You Almost ‘Round the Corner’?
We are living in the times when governments understand the value of small businesses for the global economy. Small businesses are the pushers and testing grounds for new trends, they provide lots of jobs for the masses, they make any society more stable and happy. So governments have created special funds, programs, associations to provide government grants for small business.
You can be surprised to find out that there are so many types of grants that you can be missing and that can help you out almost instantly – minority small business grants, small business grants for woman, federal grants for small business, business start up grants and even free small business grants. All these types of grants act as a real proof that they really help many small businesses to succeed.
There are two typical issues about getting small business grants.
WHERE to Get Small Business Grants.
Start with doing local search for ‘small business grants’, ‘small business bank loans’, ‘venture funds’ and ‘angel investors’. This will give you a pretty big list of places to apply for help.
If you are in the USA – there are some major organizations that provide this type of financial assistance – for example, Small Business Administration (SBA) that has many departments that fit all possible types of businesses or help. It can also be wise to check the catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance – there you can find many good places to apply for the grants.
For businesses outside US there is also a way to succeed. Government, public or private organizations in your country must be giving some help to new small businesses within the framework of these institutions:
– economic development programs, funds, departments, opportunities, initiatives; – banks (usually they have special small business loans and programs); – venture funds, companies, firms; – credit partnerships; – angel investors (this type of business got very popular recently).
The list is big, but it means that you do not need to trust one business grant opportunity. The more opportunities, the better for you!
HOW to Get Small Business Grants.
There is no magic formula to safe getting of grants.
But you can increase your chances using these simple tips.
Build a good business plan. Surely you are starting your business with some plan, but here you need to be very convincing, well-prepared to any questions. People who read this plan must understand and feel that the only element necessary for your success is the money, the grant.
Keep in good contact with your grant agent (manager, officer, anyone who is in charge of all details). Don’t be a pusher, but make sure that you are in control of the situation. A lot will depend upon this person, maybe not the final decision, but a lot. Make sure he/she can reach you at any moment. And would be great if you have his/her contact details, the more, the better.
Try to find someone who already got a grant from the institution or organization you apply to. If it is possible, find out all details before applying there: what problems this person had, what questions asked, what impressed the grant givers, etc.
If you are unable to get a grant, you can also explore crowdfunding. This is an emerging new method of financing that is collaborative and makes use of the Internet to raise small amounts of money from a large number of people.
And the last advice, if in one place it did not work, don’t give up. You can either appeal or try another place.
Only those who knock at the door can see it open.