As a small business, perhaps just starting out, it would be great to have some help especially where funding is concerned. There are ways that a small business may qualify to receive a grant. It’s a matter of knowing where to look and who to ask, but at the same time, you, as the business owner, will have to write and present a proposal.
The process may be tricky and it needs to include the right information. It can be quite challenging, involving a fair amount of stress. Here are some tips that should help you to write a grant proposal for your small business.
1. Have A Business Plan
Before you do anything, make sure you have a business plan first. Have all information or questions at hand. For example, how much are you looking for? Do you have an operations plan? What do you forecast over the next three years. Be ready, because, when you’re prepared with all this information, funders know that you’re serious and not just looking for a handout.
2. Tailoring Proposals
It’s important to tailor your proposals when approaching an organization for a small business grant. Think of it like a job resume; don’t make a generic one, but instead, make it so that it’s as if you wrote it specifically for them. Do some research into the organization. Find out, if possible, what amount on average are they offering to others. Again, if possible, make contact with others who have successfully received a grant. Ask for their advice on what worked for them and if they can offer any other advice that could tip the scales your way, then write your proposal accordingly.
3. Follow Instructions
There will be certain rules or guidelines that you need to pay attention to, so make sure that you take your time and follow whatever instructions that have been given to you. If you’re working with a specific funder, he or she will let you know what kind of content or format is expected from you. This is why it’s important to tailor proposals specifically for that particular funder or organization. If, for example, the funder will allow only 40% for your project, you need to heed this and not ask for 75%. Even if your proposal is otherwise exemplary, in all likelihood, it will still be turned down.
Keep in mind that funding organizations will receive a high volume of proposals. You could just be ‘one of the rest’ or you could immediately stand out by catching their eye. Make your proposal reader-friendly. So, for example, you might want to include a table of contents for your proposal. This allows the funder a quick look or summary of your proposal which may impress them. It makes it easy to understand who you are, what your business is all about and what your mission and needs are.
5. Contact A Representative
Before you start with writing your proposal, it’s a good idea to contact a representative of the organization. This gives you an opportunity to gain valuable insight into what they’re looking for. You can get information on the format, the length and any other procedures that they favour and with this information, you can have a good start, giving you some confidence. Another thing you could request is a proposal that was accepted for funding and this could help you form the basis of your template.
Be prepared for a long process. This is not going to be as easy as some people think. It can be hard, stressful and frustrating work. Sometimes, there may be cutbacks, which make matters even more difficult. There’s also stiff competition from others. However, you can give yourself the best possible chance by doing some of the things mentioned above. You can also include a one-page cover letter. Also, keep the funder in mind; why would they give you the money? You need to assure them that they too will be getting something from this. Keep in touch with the grant officer. Demonstrate how a grant will benefit them, your business and fulfill specific needs to help others benefit.