"General Funding (need business help)" Sat Dec-12-09 10:57 AM by rhone5050
I am the owner of Unique Hoops, an after-school basketball academy in Winchester Va. I make sure we specialize in teaching children how to become a student athlete. I have 3rd thru 8th grade children in my academy. The problem I am having is trying to find additional funding to help with my business growth. I have some children that are attending my academy for free, because of the financial situation their parents are suffering from. All of the children loves the academy, I stress education and family, and I build their characters. As a business owner it is hard for me to tell a parent their child cannot attend, because they cannot afford to pay the weekly rate. It will only hurt the child, but I am struggling financial with my business due to these financial circumstances. If I can find a little funding or grants to help my business through these hard times I can have some of the children stay in the Academy until their parents financial situation improves. Is there any advice, help, or resources to help me with my business.
#1. "RE: General Funding (need business help)" In response to Reply # 0
First of all your business sounds absolutely terrific. I'm sure that your academy has the potential to change lives. No doubt about that.
I've read through your website and some things jump out at me. In the rates section you don't actually state the rates. Instead you have a sentence that says simply "We understand how difficult times are for the everyday working parentin today's economy." That, combined with your statements here, lead me to believe that you are letting your emotions run your business.
If you want to hold on to your business, you need to make difficult decisions. You don't want to sacrifice your entire business in order to help a few families that cannot afford your services. It is wonderful that you are so passionate about your academy and you don't want to turn anyone away. But it is not business like.
If you want to offer "scholarships", all the better. But you either work your business as a business or as a charity. You need to state your rates up front so parents know that yes, there is a fee to attend. If you don't want to turn any one away for lack of income, then you need to solicit your community for donations toward scholarships. I have no doubt you will attract donors. You can approach businesses for donations in return for advertising on your website, or brochures, or handouts or posters at the academy.
Get creative and get real. If you keep accepting everyone that walks in your door without charging them, you will go out of business quickly.
You're doing a good thing here. But to keep it going you need to change your methods.
Something that bothered me about your website was the page that lists the names (first and last) and ages of the students giving their "testimonials". As a parent I would be very nervous about having my child's info available for all to see. That does not sound safe in this day and age.
You might be able to request funds at Preneuraholics.com (see blog below). In order to do so you will need to provide more details such as how donated funds would be used and how much you need to keep your business alive. But I believe that in your case, raising funds locally for scholarships would work better. Good luck to you and I do hope you can keep your academy going strong.
#2. "RE: General Funding (need business help)" In response to Reply # 1
Thank you for you advice
I actually had the price for my services on the website, but I took it down so parents will call and inquire. As far as the bio's on the children I think I will take that down, with so much going on in today's society. I have decided that I have to make some difficult decisions for my business to survive, and I am prepared to do that