Small business grants opportunities are out there! In this post we address some critical things that might serve as a roadblock to a small business owner getting the grant they apply for.
Grants: They are out there – but are you ready?
Small business owners ask us all the time for grants which they can apply for that will support their new or established business. That is why we always keep an updated list of grants on our website which every small business owner should visit regularly.
Yet, in many cases small business owners are not successful in attaining a grant.
Grants represent a great way to access capital for a business, however there are several things which small business owners should be aware of before applying. Below, we provide a list of some important things which will help any small business owner in their pursuit of a small business grant.
1. Do your research
The people who provide Grants to small businesses are usually from non-profits or the government. In most cases grants have a specific purpose. Many times, small business owners will just “Apply” for a grant without seeing what type of grant is out there. One simple thing to do is to use a grant database to find the right program to apply for.
Grantors want to give funds to those who help the organization reach its goals. Some of the best examples are grants that support minority small businesses or veterans. If you are neither then don’t apply because you surely will get rejected.
2. Think like a grant reviewer
A great way to think about your grant application when you write it is to think like a grant reviewer. That is, if you are going to be the person or team reviewing the grant you are writing what would they be looking for.
Most grants have a list of what they are looking for in the grantee. Take that list and make your own list of grant requirements and use that to guide your application. Even have someone else review your application with the list you provided as a guide. Most grants are graded on a scale or rubric, so this is a helpful technique when writing your application.
3. Keep accurate records of what you are applying for
One common mistake that many small business owners make is that they do not save information regarding what they applied for. Then, when the grant reviewer(s) asks questions, or for supporting documents, the small business owner shows either insincerity or disregard for the grant which leads to q quick decline.
So – Take notes. Keep a file. Do whatever is necessary so that you are ready when the grant reviewer asks questions or for supporting materials.
4. Grants are usually not like EIDL and PPP
Over the past few years, small business owners have had a taste of PPP and EIDL programs. For the most part, there were few guardrails which small business owners had with the pandemic funds being doled. Regardless, there were a bunch of knuckleheads who did not follow the minor rules (Actual Rules Here) and paid the price for it (Fake 940/941s. More Lamborghinis, Rolexes and Real Estate, Oh My).
Grants have technical components that one must usually follow, and nobody is entitled to grant funds. Grant applications should demonstrate that the business owner is worthy of the funds.
5. Make sure that you are writing like you can write
On many occasions I have seen grant applications declined because they are poorly written. I have sat on grant panels myself and seen some awful demonstrations of the English language. Nobody expects a trucker to write like F. Scott Fitzgerald but run on sentences, misspelling, failing to proofread, and just not being to the point is what I have seen kill an application. Even for the worthiest small business owner. So, if you have been writing using slang or short texting words, a word to the wise – do not use those in grant applications.
If you are unsure if you are writing a good piece, send it to me anytime and one of my team members or I will look at what you wrote (email@example.com).
6. Make sure you have the following:
In many cases, grant organizations will ask for the following things. If you need any assistance with any of these things, which are pretty much what every small business should have regardless, contact our team of advisors now.
- Articles of Organization or Incorporation
- Corporate Financials (P&L, Balance Sheets)
- Business Bank Statements
- Tax Returns
- Business Plan
- Operating Agreements
- 2 Year Corporate Financial Outlook
- Website Address
- Company Overview
7. Use a grant writer
Most small business owners are not grant writers. In fact, most small business owners do not have the time to write grants or are not experienced in writing grants. Therefore, companies like ours (contact our team of advisors as we write grants) exist to help small business owners.
We are well schooled in the grants that are out there, as well as how to effectively write those grants.
If you are a small business owner and you want us to write one or more grants for you, we have a bunch of different grants and grant writers who will help you at an affordable rate. If you are interested contact our team of advisors now.
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Dr. Thomas W. Tramaglini is the Managing Director for BRP Onesta, a company that supports small businesses. By offering a host of important and affordable services that small business owners tend to not have time to do themselves, the team at BRP Onesta can help small businesses grow infinitely. Although located in on the famous Jersey shore, BRP Onesta serves clients in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada.