How To Apply And Win Business Grants
As I’ve mentioned, there can be a lot of competition for grants. There is often hundreds of small businesses applying for a single grant.
It’s something you need to take seriously if you expect to win.
In this section, I’ll go over the most important things to do to improve your chances of winning grants.
DO’S AND DON’TS OF WINNING BUSINESS GRANTS
Let’s start with some basic do’s and don’ts of trying to win grants.
- Make a schedule – Many grants are only open to applications once a year. Schedule time to put together an application ahead of time.
- Write a business plan first – Most grants ask for a business plan. More importantly, you should know how exactly the grant money will help your business. Here’s our guide to writing a simple business plan.
- See what companies have been funded in the past –This can help you determine which grants you have a good chance of winning. If they funded similar types of businesses, that’s a good sign.
- Get help from local business organizations –I went through many types of local business organizations that provide assistance to small business owners. This includes helping you find grant opportunities and presenting your business in the best light.
- Consider professional help – If you come across a grant that requires a well-written cover letter or essay, consider hiring a professional freelance grant writer if you can afford it. (Usually only worth it for big grants.)
- Wait until the last minute – Many grants require you to become a member of an organization or get a certification or license. You may not have time to meet the eligibility conditions if you wait too long.
- Use a template for all grant applications –Each grant application should be tailored to each specific grant. Otherwise you’ll include a lot of irrelevant information and not include important answers that were asked for.
- Apply for every grant – There are many grants that your business will have virtually 0 chance of winning. It’s better to spend more time on the most relevant grants, than to spread yourself too thin and have lower quality applications on many grants.
QUICK TIPS FOR GETTING MORE GRANTS
There are a lot of simple things you can do to improve your chances of winning grants. Most are easy to understand, but you need to make sure you keep them in mind.
Here’s how to get more grants:
- Always look for new grant opportunities (Setting up a Google Alert is a good idea).
- Make sure the time spent to apply for a grant is actually worth the grant amount.
- Read over the individual application instructions to each grant. Some are similar, but few are the exact same.
- Double-check that you are eligible before spending a lot of time on an application.
- Provide specific numbers on how the grant will be used and how it will help.
- Double-check your spelling and grammar.
- Submitting your application early may make you look more prepared than late-submitters.
- Back up claims with credible citations.
- Be realistic when mentioning your business’ costs or revenue.
- Find a book from your library on grant writing if you want to write better grant proposals.
COMMON QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
At this point, you probably have a few questions in your mind, hopefully I can clear them up here.
HOW DO YOU QUALIFY FOR A SMALL BUSINESS GRANT?
When you read about “qualifying” for a small business grant, most people are talking about eligibility.
Each individual grant specifies which businesses are eligible to win it. Anyone can apply for a grant, but if you don’t meet the eligibility criteria, you have zero chance to get it.
Of the grants listed on this page, almost every small business can apply for the grants in the government and corporate grant sections.
If you’re a woman, you have several grant opportunities on top of that.
The majority of the rest of the grants I included here are for a specific type of business, so you’ll need to look at them individually and see if your small business is eligible.
DO YOU HAVE TO PAY BACK SMALL BUSINESS GRANTS?
No! That’s what makes them grants.
Unlike loans, grants do not require you to be paid back, and can be used for just about anything business-related.
Some grants do require you to report back how the grants were used and how they helped, but that’s usually for them to get more publicity or to try and help you further.
WHAT IS THE LIMIT ON THE NUMBER OF GRANTS I CAN APPLY FOR?
There are rarely any limits on the number of grants you can apply for. However, you can only apply to each grant once per business you run.
Sometimes, a program offers multiple grants per year. Most of them allow businesses to submit applications multiple times, but a few do not. Check the grant details to find out.
WHAT TYPE OF CREDIT DO YOU NEED TO GET A GRANT?
Credit is rarely a factor when determining the winner of a grant.
However, you’ll likely need decent credit to get your business up and running in the first place before you can even apply for most grants.
Additionally, most grants require that your small business be in good financial standing, meaning that you don’t have any unreasonable debt that can’t realistically be paid back.
HOW MUCH MONEY CAN I GET?
This varies widely based on each grant.
One business might win a grant for $500, while another might win $500,000. The amount of each grant should be something you consider when you’re deciding which grants to apply for.
There are many small business grants out there if you’re willing to work for them.
If you want to win grants, you’ll need to take it seriously and beat out the competition. Don’t be afraid to apply to smaller ones, because they will often have less competition than the grants for high amounts.
If you still have any questions about grants, please leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it.