Grant Writing Guidelines for Businesses
Aspiring entrepreneurs may benefit from grant funding opportunities in their local area, especially if they have exhausted all other avenues. First-time business owners may have difficulty obtaining loans or the interest of investors. Some resort to working multiple jobs or selling their cars to start their own business. Fortunately, those eager to start their own business do not need to sell their souls in the process. In fact, grants usually do not require the receiver to pay anything back at all. This removes the unnecessary stress of having to fund a business from start to finish. In order to receive a business grant, the owner must draft a grant proposal, business plan, and then apply for an appropriate grant that meets the needs of the enterprise.
Follow the information below to find out more about how to obtain small business grants:
Drafting a Grant Proposal
The majority of grant applications ask for the same information; however, they often come in different formats. Some grant applications may have a list of questions to answer. Others will ask for a proposal outlining the details of a target project. Entrepreneurs should start by writing a rough draft. Forget about making it look and sound perfect, instead focus on getting all of the main ideas on paper. Examine the draft and then elaborate on key points that readers will like best. Use the grant reviewer's guidelines for clues as to what type of business they are looking to support. Be sure that the ideas communicate clearly. Read it aloud to see how it flows. Grant proposals usually require several revisions before they become worthwhile. Use the eight basic components of a solid grant proposal, including a summary, introduction of the business, the needs assessment, business's objectives, the business's plan of action, evaluation, future funding plans, and the budget to keep it afloat. Expound on all of these critical factors to make sure it reflects the business in a positive light. Lastly, proofread the grant proposal to fix any glaring errors.
How to Apply for a Grant
After drafting a solid proposal, the application process comes next to obtaining business grants. The first step involves researching the type of grant that the business needs to succeed. Many entrepreneurs receive rejection letters simply because they do not know what grant they need for their business. Be sure to read the guidelines before submitting a grant application. Legitimate business grant opportunities can be found at the Small Business Association (SBA) or Small Business Development Center. Non-profit organizations, associations, corporations, and even private investors may offer small business grants for specific causes. Be sure to have a business plan ready to support the request for small business grant money. Entrepreneurs can file a business grant application online or postal mail.
Purpose of a Grant
The grant proposal is an instrument to help entrepreneurs procure funds for an enterprise. A grant proposal contains a "problem statement" to persuade grant reviewers to issue funds for the business's needs. The "problem statement" presents the business's objective in a clear and concise fashion. It addresses why the business needs funding. Entrepreneurs should use logical reasoning to inform grant reviewers of why the enterprise needs funding to accomplish its goals. It should dictate every finite detail of the business and how the grant will help it become successful.
Types of Grants
The federal government does not reward grants for small businesses. Non-profit organizations, larger businesses engaged in government-sponsored research, state and local governments generally receive grants from the federal government. Small businesses can obtain grant funds from non-profit organizations and state agencies, such as the Small Business Administration and local economic development department. Entrepreneurs can receive help directly from their local Small Business Administration to receive information on obtaining small business grants. Some business owners may acquire a business grant if they are not high-strung on location. Small communities may provide grants to help their local economies flourish. Entrepreneurs of certain ethnic backgrounds may acquire a small business grant from non-profit organizations and associations looking to help minorities and people with disabilities build successful lives. In fact, some welfare-to-work programs have started to provide grant funds for low-income families who wish to pursue self-employment in landscaping, daycare, and janitorial services.