The process of finding a small business grant program and reviewing the requirements is time-consuming. Eligibility can be based on location, sales revenue to date, years in business, sex, race, and purpose of funding. Should your business embark on a small business grant seeking mission? Answer the following questions:
1. Do you have the time and resources to search for a small business grant program and apply?
2. Can you hire a consultant or learn the grant application process by yourself?
3. Does your business need the money now for expansion or can you wait up to a year?
4. If you do undertake the grant process, will it hurt your business taking away time from selling and marketing?
If you want to take a look at the small business grants available, the best place to start is the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA). The CFDA lists thousands of grants from all government agencies for free. Many business grants will be geared towards minority business development or rural business opportunity grants. Do not overlook the other assistance programs available such as surplus equipment and training.
If you do find a small business grant program available for your business, be ready to go through a lengthy, approval process. With funding cutbacks and high competition be prepared with the following grant tips:
Small Business Grant Tips
- Provide complete and accurate information in the application. An incomplete application may not make the review process or can add delay to approving your grant.
- Get to know your grant officer and their constraints, budget and concerns with approving your grant.
- Stand out among the crowd with a well-prepared business plan if required. Demonstrate your understanding of the business. Show how the money will bring the benefit the government agency wants.
- Bring in outside experts if necessary. An accountant or consultant can add credibility to your application process.
- Keep in touch. Make regular contact with the grant office in a professional, non-intrusive manner.
The task of locating and applying for a small business grant is not for the faint at heart. Take an honest look at alternative sources first, such as loans, personal credit lines, friends and family. Many successful companies today were grown the old-fashioned way…hard work.