Business grants are highly sought after because they provide much-needed financial support and do not need to be repaid. Finding grants that you qualify for is daunting enough, but winning can be even more difficult if your application doesn't stand out. Here's how to effectively apply for small business grants and potentially increase your odds of winning.
Find Applicable Small Business Grants
The first step is finding the right grants to apply to. This is one of the most time-consuming aspects of the process. Depending on the time of year, there may not be a large number of grants to apply to. Several corporations, such as FedEx, Visa, Stacy's Chips, and more, offer small business grants throughout the year. Find out when their grants will open and be ready to apply.
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Get to Know the Company Offering the Grant
The next step is to research the company/organization. Spend time getting to know their mission, vision, and values. Understand who they are and what they stand for because they are looking to award grant money to companies who share their values. It also arms you with the ability to speak to those values in your grant submission so the company knows that you align with their values.
Gather Your Business Information
Every grant will require some business-related information. Some grants want financial information for your business- such as business taxes or bank records- to verify that you meet their requirements. Some require a finalized and professional business plan.
Other grants applications (especially from large corporations or government entities) will require you to submit your DUNS number during the application process. Take time now to apply for a DUNS if you haven't, and gather all of your business information so it's ready to go. The quicker you can submit your application, the better.
Closely Follow All Grant Requirements
This may go without saying, but it is critical to follow all of the requirements set forth in the grant guidelines. Your application may be sent back to you or denied if it is filled out incorrectly. While it is better to apply sooner rather than later, it is even more important to ensure that you are accurately submitting everything that is required in the format they prefer.
If the grant has optional items that you can submit in addition to required documents, submit them as well. It shows that you are serious about the grant because you are providing more information than is required for the application. Always provide a video if you have an option to because this puts a face to your name and makes you more memorable to the grant review team.
Review Submissions of Previous Grant Winners
One of the best ways to prepare for your grant application is to review the past winners. Not every grant will display and discuss the previous winners, but if they do, take the time to look into the winners. Read their story, watch their video, analyze their application (if possible), and find out all that you can about the winners. The purpose is to understand why they were selected so you can emulate their application and make your business appealing to the grant review team.
Follow Up After Applying for the Grant
Just like you would after a job interview, it's best to follow up a couple of days or a week after you submit your grant application. Thank them for the opportunity, express your excitement at the possibility, and briefly explain how your vision aligns with theirs. Make your interaction short but memorable.
Stay Informed About Grants and Other Funding Opportunities
Finding grants for your small business can be challenging and time-consuming, but very rewarding. If you want to stay informed about national grants and other funding opportunities for your business, consider joining Skip plus. We post new grants and funding opportunities on our app twice per week, and you can get 2 weeks for free with this link.