There is free money out there for your business.
The trick is learning how to ask for it.
If you are looking for money for an existing or new enterprise, you’re likely to encounter difficulties finding grant funding, but it’s not impossible.
Search for the Exceptions
Grants are generally given to non-profit organizations for programs and services that benefit the community or specific group of the general public.
Most funding institutions don’t provide grants to individuals who will use the proceeds to start or develop a for-profit business.
As with any rule, there are exceptions.
But usually when an individual does secure a grant that assists his or her enterprise, it is typically for a very specific objective — such as developing products that improve the quality of healthcare — and not general operating purposes, says John G. Porter, Ph.D., executive director of the American Grant Writers Association.
Here are 8 tips for small business grant writing from Inc. Magazine.
1. Don’t Chase the Money
Make sure your mission and purpose fits closely with the funding entity’s mission and purpose.
2. Prepare to Do Extensive Legwork
Identifying state agencies, private foundations, and other organizations that give grants to individuals or small businesses requires considerable time, effort, and research.
3. Determine Your Approach
Once you identify potential funders, determine how you intend to approach them.
4. Get to Know the Funder
Don’t write the proposal first and then go looking for funders.
5. Do Whatever the RFP Says
Follow the requirements of the funding notice or application to the letter.
6. State Measurable Not Fluffy Objectives
A common mistake in writing a proposal is failing to distinguish between a goal and objective.
7. Spell Out How You Intend to Spend the Money
The person giving you the money has to make sure you know how to spend it.
8. Consult a Professional Grant Writer
Expect to pay from $1,000 to $3,000 for a grant proposal for private or foundation funding and $4,000 to $15,000 for a grant proposal for government funding, since such grant applications tend to be more intricate.