No business grant will be awarded just because you have a great smile, a good sob-story, or feel you deserve a long vacation on the beach. However, a grant could give you the chance to take your dream to the next level without having to spin off so much of your energy to the constant search for funds.
Keep in mind that most grants are not "free money" to fund your own unique concept. Instead, most grants, especially any government-related grants, are more like contracts. By awarding the grant, the grantor basically contracts with the grantee's company to provide a specific service or product that's been designated within an overall program budget. So, in order to qualify, your company must be able to deliver exactly what they are looking for.
Also consider the time and effort you'll have to put into each grant application you submit. Some businesses pretty much run on grants, so the application process is accepted as a necessary ongoing cost of marketing. But other companies might come up with the same dollars quicker by just getting out there and making sales. Only you can determine which strategy will give your business the better return of investment from your time spent.
Anticipate that any grant will expect you to articulate your business plans and how you're actually going to make your goals happen. So if your business strategy and operations are still vague, start bringing your business concept into focus now, so you'll be ready when the right opportunity comes along.
For help with planning your business and preparing your business plan:
Check Idea Cafe's Business Plan section
How much do you need?
Find out online in seconds: Idea Cafe's Instant Biz Financing Calculator
And don't just wait for your ship to roll in.
If you haven't reviewed the array of financing options that are out there, saunter through Idea Cafe's Financing Your Business section for ideas you can pursue now.
And, of course, talk about it!
Bounce your doubts, concerns, ideas and tips off of other business owners who know what you're going through in Idea Cafe's CyberSchmooz. See you there!
Don't Give Up!
Best of luck -- whatever you do, don't give up on your idea! If you can get a grant, great! But if you can't get a grant -- or can't wait for one -- use your creativity to come up with other ways to get your business growing. Whenever you get stuck, just stop back by Idea Cafe for another cup of inspiration, info and ideas.
To see grants--government grants, SBA, coporate, and more private grants enter Idea Cafe's Grant Center for Small Biz-a privilege for registered Idea Cafe Regulars only. GO!