Getting small business grants has historically been a significant challenge faced by small business owners. In many cases, entrepreneurs of smaller firms do not make the capital needed to ensure all of their needs are met never mind the funds required to one day expand the operation. As a result, they rely on loans and savings to finance their business.
However, it is possible for a small business to compete for grants but it can be difficult for small business owners to convince the government or other organizations that give grants to provide them with a grant largely due to the amount of companies vying for the same thing. Therefore, it is crucial that you as a small business make yourself look as attractive and competitive as possible when applying for small business grants.
1. Seek assistance
Many small business owners are rejected for grants because they do not know how to draft an appealing grant application. Your business could be viable but if the grant application is not appealing enough, you may not pass the review process. It is therefore, beneficial for a small business owner to bring in the services of experts such as an accountant, consultant and a public relations expert when drafting a grant application as they can comment on their respective areas of expertise as it relates to your business.
This is very important especially if it is your first time applying for a grant as you want to make sure everything is in order. Experts will advise you on the crucial things that you should include in your grant application to make it more appealing.
2. Make sure your application is accurate & complete
Many small business owners do not qualify for small business grants because they do not provide accurate and complete information in their applications. Some owners of small businesses do not know what to include in their applications to make them more appealing. Others ignore some information about their businesses deliberately hoping they will qualify for a grant if they conceal some details about their businesses.
The truth is that inaccurate or incomplete grant applications makes you less competitive because the lender does not have what is needed to make an educated decision or neglecting to include all information may make you look deceitful. The application is unlikely to pass the review process if the information provided is inaccurate or incomplete. Include all information the is requested as this will put you in a better position to receive the grant and prevent delays as lending officers hunt down the missing details.
3. Include a business plan
A grant application is ineffective if not backed by a well-prepared detailed business plan that gives background on your business and where the funds would be applied if your application were to be approved. One of the best ways to stand out from other applicant is by providing a detail business plan together with your application. Your business plan should demonstrate to the grant offer how the grant you are applying for will benefit your business.
This plan will enable the grant officer to understand your business better and determine its viability. Including a well-prepared business plan makes it easy for the grant officer to find important information about your business and demonstrates your willingness to go above and beyond what was requested of you. This will definitely increase the chances of having your grant request approved.
4. Keep in touch with the lender
Many small business owners assume that all that they need to do is submit the application to the lender and wait for their request to be approved. However, this is not the case because the lending office is busy with other issues and applications and yours may not get the attention it deserves. It is beneficial to always keep in touch with the lender and follow up about your grant application every few weeks.
This should obviously be done in a professional manner without harassing workers at the office. You need to be polite in all your queries and ask questions in a manner that no one will be annoyed. Call to ask if there are concerns or questions about your application that require your attention. This is a polite way of asking about the progress of your grant application without appearing pushy or impatient.