The idea that there are millions of dollars in grant funds free money — waiting for the small business owner to tap into them is true and at the same time, not true.
In most cases, grant funds are not designed to start a new business. There are some specialized businesses that may qualify for start-up money, but 99.9% of the businesses in the Yellow Pages would be ineligible to receive start-up funding.
Yet there are millions of dollars available to help fund existing small businesses and employment programs, particularly in the non-profit arena. The trick is to be able to research grants and find those that are most aligned with your companys mission and/or project.
Grants fall into two categories: government and corporate. They all come with strings attached and very specific requirements for those who will be awarded the funds. Funders look for businesses and organizations that already exist, that will use the money for a worthwhile project, i.e. jobs in inner cities, providing training to specialized groups, etc., and that will develop a self-sustaining program.
For small businesses that are looking for funding for expansion or for equipment purchases, it takes a creative mind to find a grant that could apply to your specific needs while filling the requirements of the grant funders. That is where the services of a professional grant writer are invaluable.
For example, a company may want grant money to fund an expansion of their sales force and they need to add more space as well as hire more people. Well, a for-profit company may not be eligible for any grant money. However, the company could form a non-profit agency that trains veterans or welfare moms in sales skills, leases or buys space to accommodate the workers and gives the new trainees a place to work by leasing them to the for-profit company.
Writing a grant proposal is a very specialized skill, but it can be learned. Grant writing in and of itself is a very lucrative profession. The IRS has established a pay range for grant writers of $ 50 – $ 150 per hour. A comprehensive training course is available at www.superchargedgrants.com. Students actually work on a real grant proposal while taking the course. Their work is critiqued by a certified professional grant writer
For those who dont want to do it themselves or who dont have the time to do it themselves, they can hire a professional grant writer to research and write the grant proposal. An organization will generally pay between $ 1,000 – $ 3,000 for a complete grant proposal and even higher for large proposal amounts. There are also grant review services that help grant seekers tweak their proposals for the best possible chance of funding.
Grants for small business funding are out there. The trick is to know how to present your needs in a way that best aligns with the grant funders mission. It isnt easy, but it is definitely attainable and very much worth the effort.
Kasey McCallum writes on small business, grant writing, alternative funding methods and real estate.