Landing a business grant is not an easy process. Particularly with government grants, there is a lot of red tape involved with the application and awards process and you’ll likely need plenty of patience as such proceedings tend to take a lot of time to finalize. However, applying for a grant is worth a shot, especially if you’re in a line of business that provides some sort of societal good.
Do you want to apply but don’t know where to start? The Plan Writers offers you this step-by-step guide to securing a business grant.
Your Step-by-Step Guide to Securing a Small Business Grant
Step 1. Search Federal Grants
The federal government offers grants for small businesses that participate in certain tasks that the government (through bills passed by Congress and signed by the President) has deemed to be beneficial for society. For instance, small businesses that engage in scientific research and development may qualify for federal grants from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.
Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and grants tool to search through a list of business grants that may be available to you. Additionally, Grants.gov also lists federal grants that are open to small businesses around the country. Take a look and compile a list of ones for which your business may be eligible for.
Step 2. Search State and Local Grants
The next step is to research grants that are offered on a state and local level. Visit your state government’s business development website as well as your local chamber of commerce’s website. Typically, states and cities offer business grants that address a need with which that region is faced. For example, the Washington State Department of Agriculture offers grants to Washington food and agriculture producers to sell their products domestically and internationally, while the Ohio Development Services Agency provides grants to companies that create jobs.
Step 3. Prioritize your List of Grants
Now that you’ve compiled a list of federal, state, and local grants for which your business qualifies, it’s time to prioritize that list. The reality for most small business owners is that they have very little free time on their hands. If you’re strapped for time, then applying to grants that have the highest priority to you is your best bet on getting a business grant.
In order to prioritize grants, you’ll need to rank them according to the following factors:
Amount of money awarded
Likelihood of your business being awarded the grant
Level of ease/difficulty involved in submitting the application
How often the grant is awarded
Step 4. Write your Proposals
Writing a business grant proposal and completing an application is similar to presenting a business plan to a room of venture capitalists. Think of your proposal as a pitch to investors, but instead of wanting financial returns from the deal, the investor (in this case a government or other entity that is awarding the grant) wants to see societal gains as their return on investment. Ensure that your proposal is professional, enticing, and convincing. Writing a successful proposal will increase your chances of getting a business grant.
Step 5. Be Patient and Realistic
With most grants being handed out by government agencies, you can expect to come across some bureaucracy when submitting your application and waiting to hear back. That’s why it’s important to be patient. It’s also important to remember that only a handful of businesses that apply will receive much consideration from the grants committee. Never make plans for grant money unless you receive final confirmation from the awarding entity that you’ve secured a business grant.
Step 6. Carry Out Grant Activities
If you’ve been awarded a grant, then congratulations! Now, the real hard work begins.
Your business was awarded a grant so that it could carry out meaningful work that benefits the community, country, or industry. The money you’ve received is to help you get started in that goal, so carry out your grant activities as you promised in your grant application. Spend every penny you received in the grant wisely and always keep your promised mission in your business’s crosshairs. You vowed to develop more efficient solar panels, to provide on-the-job training to recent trade school graduates, or to start a battery recycling program, so roll up your sleeves and get to it!
Securing a business grant is a difficult task, but not impossible. With the help of The Plan Writers, you can get a grant and start your business. Contact us for a free quote and start growing your business.