You can apply for small business grants as an individual American or as part of an organization. You can even apply for more than one grant at the same time. Here are some tips to help you apply for small business grants.
Decide What Kind of Grant You Need
Some people don't receive the grants for which they've applied because they don't know exactly what they need. You can contact your local Small Business Association (SBA) or Small Business Development Center (SBDC). They can help you clarify your funding goals and can give you advice about what grants to apply for.
You'll need to make sure you meet the grant's requirements before you apply. Some grants are only available to individuals; others are only available to organizations.
Prepare Your Business Plan
You'll need to have your business plan ready when you begin to apply for small business grants. Most grant applications require a business plan.
Your business plan should describe your business and clarify the goals of your business. Financial details should be clear, precise and easy to understand. You can tailor your business plan to the grant by making references to the grant organization's mission statement.
Write Your Grant Proposal
Writing a grant proposal to apply for small business grants is one of the most complicated parts of preparing a grant application. You can take a local seminar, community college or online course in grant writing. Or, you can find a mentor, such as a teacher, professor or curator, who has experience with grant writing and can help you write the grant.
When writing your grant proposal, consider questions that the grant committee might have when they read your proposal. Try to answer these questions in your proposal. Pay attention to the grant application, meet the grant's requirments and answer any questions the grant committee may have asked as part of the application.
Your grant proposal should be clear and concise. It should answer any stated questions posed by the grant committee and it should attempt to answer any questions that might occur to members of the committee while they're reading your proposal. Keep your grant proposal realistic. Unrealistic proposals will be turned down.
Your grant proposal should include a title page and an abstract of the grant proposal. There should be an introduction to and a review of the proposal. Describe your project and your staff needs, if you have any. State your budget and explain to the grant committee why you think your budget is reasonable; tell the committee how much time you think you'll need to complete your project and why.
Apply for the Grant
Before you hand in your grant application, make sure you've met all the requirements of the grant. Have someone else proofread your cover letter, business plan and grant proposal to make sure it's clear, concise and free of typos, spelling misstakes and other errors. Make sure any questions in the applicatin have been answered.
You don't need to contact the grant committee to find out the status of your grant application; if you're awarded the grant, they'll contact you. If you're turned down for the grant, you can revise your proposal and try again.