Ever Considered Seeking a Grant for Your Business? Here’s How
Do business grants exist? A series of questions may arise in your mind whenever you think about business grants. Other questions include: Why would anyone give free money? Yes. Grants exist, and they are free because you don’t need to pay them back. While they are free, you can’t easily acquire them. To get a grant for your business is a daunting task and requires extra effort.
Despite the hardships to acquire a grant, many people are ready to strive and persevere the rough course. Their consideration is how significantly their businesses would benefit from the grants. A grant can help finance a start-up or expand a business. If you want to take the dive, get ready to search the web. Keep track of hundreds of grant schemes which keep appearing and disappearing.
The initial steps include identifying relevant grant schemes for which your business can qualify. It is also vital to understand the application process to see if it’s worth the plunge. To fully understand what entails applying for business grants, here are the steps.
1. Determine Your Objectives
Most funding sources require that you highlight the exact goals for the fund and how to meet them. You may state whether the primary objective is to expand the business to create jobs or enhance the local economy. Your objective must be realistic.
Some grant sources like U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provide an online course to help you learn about available funding options. They also offer education and counseling on business financing.
2. Write Down a Business Plan
A business plan is the most essential aid in any funding request. It serves as a guide to the funder to see your potential to succeed. It should show how the project to undertake will tie with the overall direction of your business. Your business plan must include the following key sections:
The Executive Summary
It is a one-page view of your business and includes the company’s mission statement, a brief history of your business and your goal statement.
This part outlines vital information about your company and includes the location, size, and your vision. The funder should see the nature of the business, the customer base and your unique strengths in the market.
Your Product or Service
Alongside pinpointing either what you make, sell or service you offer, this part should highlight how customers benefit. Does the product or service fill a societal need gap? You should show how your product competes with other businesses selling a similar product. Additional crucial information is your marketing plans.
Before taking a further step, it is advisable to involve a business plan expert to determine if your business plan is well prepared.
3. Gather Your Documentation
If your grant request is for expansion, you will need to include documents showing your three years sales, expenses and taxes. Any other additional proof of your claims will be handy. Even for a start-up, you will need to show your taxes for the funder to determine your accountability.
4. Searching For Possible Grants
There are many grant schemes available, and you should identify the few ones your business may qualify for. Ensure to ignore “ Free money” advertisements as they are all misleading. Some agents claim to offer software to help you become eligible for grants, for a fee. Federal trade commission has granted warning against such agents.
You can contact Singapore business support organization like Rikvin or visit free subscriptions websites that list grant givers. Such websites ask some questions that you should answer to help identify the grants you qualify for. GrantsOnline and GRANTnet are some of the sites you can visit.
After establishing a grant scheme that fits you, contact its administrators. The best approach is to send an email that addresses the specific section that deals with the scheme. You should seek to have personal contact with the scheme administrator. It helps to get more insight into the application process and whether it’s worth applying.
5. The Grant Application
Understanding the Grant You are Applying for
It is essential to understand if the grant you are applying for requires your contribution towards the project. Most grants are “matching funds,” therefore contact the granting organization to confirm their share of contribution. Also, understand the application timescale for the grant and plan to stick to the deadline.
Doing some research from past recipient of the grants is worthwhile. Such information is available on granter’s website. You can also explore the web using the grant name to see the past grant winners. Use rationality in your application. It’s impossible to have an art-oriented grant support your technology-based project.
The Application Process
It begins with a Request For Proposal (RFP) which outlines what the application package should include. Sift through the RFP to note the grant parameters to avoid disqualification at the early stage. Communicate your objectives cleary to the granter. It entails translating your goals into viable objectives.
For instance, your goals could be to open a supermarket to bring shopping closer to your community. Your objective should be to lease a central location and hire an expert store manager and trained attendants. Your objectives should be measurable if granted the fund.
Then, determine your budget based on the objectives. A research will be necessary to establish the cost involved. Ensure to provide a breakdown of the overall cost whenever possible. Since a funder may not meet your entire request, a breakdown will help to pick line items that match the granter’s resources.
Before submitting the application form, consulting a professional grant writer will help a big deal to spot errors that may disqualify you. An expert can also help match an RFP with your application. Maintain copies of your documentation so that you can repeat the application in the event of computer failure.
A grant offer may take six weeks to one year. Local grants take relatively short time compared to others like European grants. It requires patience and looking for more chances if you don’t succeed the first time. Wondering who are the grants givers? Visit site1 here and site2 here to see the several grants providers.
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