Applying for a grant to fund your new business or innovative product can be both exciting and scary. Getting a grant can often be the difference between getting a project off the ground without major funding hurdles, and struggling to find alternative means of generating capital.
The application process can be long and arduous, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. It’s important to understand that organizations that offer grant possibilities want to see successful projects and review each grant application carefully with that in mind.
Before applying for a small business grant, there are key things to prepare which, if done correctly, can dramatically shift the odds of success in your favour. Preparing a bulletproof application can be time-consuming, but the rewards are well worth it. Below are 4 vital things to prepare for the grant application process.
1. An In-Depth, Complete Business Plan
In order for a grant to even be considered, its necessary to provide a strong business plan. Explain in detail how each facet of your business, product, or service, will operate. Spend time gathering market research, and substantiate your business model using verifiable evidence.
Without a solid business plan, grant-giving organizations simply can’t even consider taking a risk on your project. Grant reviewers almost always have a solid business and economics background, and they can quickly identify a poorly thought out business plan. Take the time to really nail down your business strategy, and your odds of success will increase significantly.
2. Provide Numbers
Ultimately, grant-giving organizations want to fund as many successful businesses or products as possible, while avoiding unsuccessful projects. In order to present your project in the best possible light, it’s imperative that you provide not only a business plan, but a detailed numbers break down.
As grants primarily revolve around funding, a key detail they look for is a break down of how any granted funds would be used to see a project through to fruition. Development costs, operational overhead, and labour costs are all key details which should be outlined. Ideally, the breakdown should attempt to account for any possible issues the project could encounter and include plans to overcome them.
3. Identify Your Demographic
Detail which market your product or service appeals to, and how it meets an emerging demand. If your product or service is similar to any pre-existing products or services, identify how yours improves on the concept or meets a unique demand that similar products are incapable of.
Typically, grants are given to new ideas, rather than ideas similar to those already on the market. Find what makes your project unique and original, and focus on that as much as possible.
4. Develop an Effective Pitch
Understanding how to pitch a product effectively is no easy feat. When you apply for a grant, you’re essentially pitching a business opportunity, not unlike a salesman would a product. Creating an engaging, intelligent and smooth pitch is a complex task that even the best entrepreneurs can struggle with. Upon compiling all of the above data, it’s important that you take as much time as you need developing a strong pitch.
Not only should you develop a single, well-written pitch, but you should spend time creating product pitches of various lengths and detail. If the opportunity to personally present your project arises, it’s imperative that you’re capable of delivering your pitch with ease.
Although it’s difficult, the grant seeking process is nothing to be afraid of. With ample preparation, solid market research and an innovative idea, the odds of your application being considered increase substantially. Take the time to do it right, and before long, you could have a booming business in your future.