Beginning a business can be challenging and frustrating. You need a significant amount of capital initially for such things as real estate, supplies, and wages for employees and this tends to be the factor that makes or breaks a business.
Luckily, there are usually grants that you can apply for that can be crucial in getting your business off the ground. It can be a highly competitive process for these grants with many small business owners vying for them but there are certain steps that you can take to put you in a better position in being approved for them.
1. Find the right grants
Your chances of receiving a small business grant will be better if you are able to find the right ones. When searching online, results will be minimal if you only use the keyword “grant”. Expand your terminology to include contributions, awards, subsidies, non-repayable loans, and rebates. This will give you the best chance of locating all types of assistance you may be eligible for. It does not hurt to apply for grants that may be related to your business or industry because you may get approved for a grant using this method.
On the other hand, you may maximize your chances of an approval by narrowing down the scope of your search. For instance, if your business is in the printing industry, search for grants that fall under that umbrella. That way you can confirm that you are eligible to receive a grant and not waste your time on an application for a grant you are not qualified for.
2. Provide accurate information on the application
Providing accurate information when you are applying should be a no-brainer but sometimes errors and omissions are made and this could mean the difference between acceptances, delays, and rejections. Make sure that all information that is required is included and correct. It should go without saying that being dishonest on any part of the application should be discouraged as it will almost always lead to the rejection of an application if discovered.
Re-read your application a few times before submitting it to ensure accuracy of the information. Sometimes it takes another pair of eyes to notice something wrong so considering having someone read and edit your application may be beneficial as well.
3. Stand out
Since small business grants are always in high demand and the process is extremely competitive, offices that receive the applications are usually busy and overwhelmed. Therefore, it is easy for your application to get lost in the pile. As a result, you want your application to stand out above the rest. Before submitting, make sure that your application includes a detailed business plan outlining every aspect of your business.
A strong business plan will include profit potential, target market, any rate of return you can offer investors, and skills that you and employees bring to the table. You should also specify detailed steps on getting your business off the ground. All of this information will demonstrate to the Grant Officer that you are serous in your business venture and that you are willing to put in more work than other applicants.
4. Check in
As mentioned, grant offices tend to be inundated with applications and as a result you may sometimes feel neglected or that your application is not receiving the attention it deserves. Do not be afraid to check in with the Grant Officer on occasion and make inquiries regarding the status of your application. This demonstrates your ongoing interest in receiving the grant to start your business. It also gives the Grant Officer an opportunity to ask you any questions they have and you the ability to provide information that complements your submitted application.