Of all the reasons why startups and small businesses fail, a lack of money is one of the most common. In fact, in 29 percent of cases, small businesses have to shut their doors because their owners ran out of funds.
Do you want to avoid having this happen to your company? Of course, you do, and one of the best ways to do it is to make sure you have access to adequate funding upfront.
Applying for government grants for business owners can help you get the money you need without having to go into debt. Read on to learn more about these grants and get some awesome tips on how to apply for them (and get approved).
Why Apply for Government Grants for Business Owners?
A lot of business owners choose not to apply for government grants. They might assume that they don’t qualify or think that their chances of approval are too small. Before you write off grants completely, be sure to consider these benefits that they have to offer:
First, the most obvious benefit. Government grants put free money in your bank account!
Unlike small business loans, you don’t have to worry about paying grants back. There aren’t any interest fees to deal with or late payment penalties. It’s like getting a gift from the government to keep your business afloat or get it off the ground.
It’s true that there are some strings attached to grants. For example, you have to use the money in a specific way (which is outlined in the grant’s description). They’re definitely still worth considering, though.
Grants are also much more accessible than a lot of business owners realize. There are tons of different government business grants available, as well as a variety of grants offered by private companies and nonprofits. The information regarding these grants is very accessible, too.
With a few quick online searches, it’s easy for you to learn about the different opportunities available to you. You can also figure out right away which options seem like the best fit for your company.
If your business qualifies for a specific grant, you get the added bonus of boosting your company’s credibility. It helps your business become more visible as well.
When more people learn about your company and what you have to offer and find out that you’re being awarded grant money from the government, they might be more inclined to buy what you’re selling or invest in your company in a bigger way.
Getting approved for one grant can also snowball into your business getting approved for more grants. Once you qualify for one, other government agencies, as well as other organizations that offer grants, might start to take you more seriously. This can lead to them wanting to gift you additional funding.
Top Five Grant Application Tips
There are definite benefits that come with choosing the grant application route. Applying for grants can be nerve-wracking and time-consuming, though. If you’re unsure of where to begin or want to increase your chances of having your application approved, remember these five tips:
1. Do Your Research
First, it’s important to do your research and learn about all the grant options that are available to you. Start searching online for different government grant programs. Then, make a list of the ones that seem like they’re a good fit for your company.
If you take the time to do your research now, you’ll be able to save yourself time later. You’ll avoid applying for grants that are way outside of your reach or that don’t align with your business’s goals.
2. Ensure Eligibility
Once you have a shortlist of potential grants, do a deeper dive into them and ensure that you’re eligible for them. Consider the eligibility criteria and determine whether or not you fit the bill. If you don’t, move on to the next one.
Again, this saves you from wasting time applying for grants that you didn’t qualify for in the first place. It helps you narrow your focus and give your time to the grants you’re most likely to receive, too.
3. Get Application Materials Together
Once you’ve chosen the grants for which you want to apply, it’s time to get your application materials together. Some materials you might need include your tax documents and copies of certifications or personnel qualifications.
You also need to think about how you’re going to craft your grant proposal. There’s a lot of information you’ll need when you’re writing a proposal for a particular grant, including the following:
- Details about your company
- An explanation of the need you’re trying to fulfill
- Your solution for how you’re going to use the grant to solve the problem
- An explanation of how you’ll track the impact your organization makes after receiving funding
- Details of your budget and your plans for the funds
The more clearly you can address these points, the greater your likelihood is of having your application approved.
4. Submit on Time
Pay close attention to the deadlines for each grant and make sure you submit your application on time. A late application will almost always disqualify you, so write down the due dates as soon as you begin the application process.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Finally, don’t be afraid to seek out assistance from a professional. According to the experts at RDP Associates, there are lots of grant consultants out there who can help you learn about grants you might not have known about otherwise. They can also guide you through the application process and ensure you fill everything out in the correct way.
Start Applying for Grants Today
Now that you know more about the benefits of applying for government grants for business owners and how to increase your chances of getting approved, you need to get to work! Remember the five strategies outlined above as you begin the application process, and you’ll be well on your way to getting the funding you need for your company.
Do you want to learn more about small business financing? If so, visit the Startups section of our site today. You’ll find tons of informative free resources here.