|Small Business Information|
The Truth About Government Grants for Your Business
Free money! Receive up to $25,000 that never has to be paid back -- Guaranteed! Get a grant to start your own business today!
If you're a small business owner, or you've always dreamed of starting your own business, you've probably run across ads like these. Companies that "guarantee" you'll get a grant to start your own business that never has to be paid back. Purchase their product, and they'll give you the "secrets" to making all your money troubles go away.
Have you ever wondered if all the hype is true? Can you really get free cash to start or expand your business? Before you spend your hard-earned money on what could turn out to be nothing more than a list of names and addresses (that you can actually get for free in the Internet by the way), keep reading to learn the truth about grants for individuals and business start-ups.
First of all, what is a grant?
A grant is a sum of money that is used for a specific purpose. Grants are given away by charitable organizations called foundations, and their sole purpose is to give away that money.
In addition, the U.S. Federal government also gives away billions of dollars of grant money every year for many reasons -- including to support and encourage economic development and small business growth, which is where you come in.
So what's the catch? (You knew there had to be a catch, right? I mean, if it was that easy, every new business out there would be starting out in the black!)
Most corporations, foundations and government agencies ONLY give grant money to nonprofit organizations that have a 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS.
The most common grants given to individuals are in the form of scholarships.
So, are there any grants available to you as a small business owner? Yes. Is somebody just waiting to hand you a check for $25,000? No. In fact, you may never actually see the cash. But that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of all the programs that are out there -- and that could add up to a lot more than $25,000. You just have to know where to look and what to ask for.
Here's how it works. First of all, be prepared. Finding a grant is going to take some work on your part. You'll want to set up a system for keeping the information organized. You can create a paper system with files and a calendar, of do it on your computer. You're going to want to separate your research into classifications that make sense for your business, plus you'll need to keep track of who's giving what away and the corresponding deadlines.
Next, you'll have to do some research to find what programs are available in your area, and what the guidelines are. Then you'll have to do some deeper research, to eliminate the ones you don't qualify for. (Most grants have some type of restrictions -- some are geographic, some are targeted towards specific groups, some are for specific types of businesses, etc.)
And the third and final step will be to apply for the grants you qualify for and need. (For a small business grant, what's required is usually a well written business plan).
So how do you get started? Before you start looking for grant money, you need to figure out exactly what you're looking for. What exactly do you need to take your business to the next level. This will not only help you to be more focused on your business goals, but it will give you a better idea of where to start looking and save you time in the long run.
For example, do you need training? Maybe you've realized you need to learn how to use a computer, learn to build your own Web site, or master a specific program such as word or excel.
What about technical assistance? Are you trying to learn a new process or need to learn how to use specific equipment?
Do you need assistive technology because of a disability?
Do you need cash to purchase equipment and supplies?
Make a list of exactly what it is you need, and prioritize it. Figure out a schedule of when you need to have it. Create a basic budget based on how much what you need would cost if you had to pay for it out of pocket. Also note down where, in your local area, you can find what you need.
Now it's time to start looking for your grant. A good place to start is the Small Business Administration. They've got a great Website that has lots of information to get you started. You can even take free online classes to learn how to write -- or tweak -- your business plan.
After that, start locally. Check with your own Small Business Development Center, Chamber of Commerce or, if you're in a rural area, Association of Government office. If there are small business grants available in your area, these are the experts who will know about them.
Don't forget about your local library. The librarian in charge of the research section is very knowledgeable, and can provide you with a wealth of materials.
It's important to keep an open mind and think outside the box when you're looking for grants. Not all grants come in the form of cold, hard cash. You might be able to find funding that will pay for the training you need, business classes or get a scholarship to go to your local community college.
Your local Small Business Development Center may operate a "small business incubation center" and can provide you with low-cost office space that includes telephone lines, use of office equipment, meeting rooms and someone to answer calls and take messages.
If you need help with advertising or marketing your products or services, look to larger corporations, your local chamber of commerce or your city's economic development office. They may offer co-op advertising programs, reduced printing costs on specific advertising campaigns, and other resources for getting your name out to your target market. If you sell products for nationwide companies, check to see if there are advertising incentives where they'll help to pay for your advertising costs.
If you're a member of a professional or trade organization, see if they offer programs. Check the Internet. You can find grant information from the federal government online. The foundation center is another great resource with an interactive database. Women should utilize women's organizations and the women's business centers.
You can check the foundation center online for a very comprehensive listing of foundations and the grants they offer. Again...remember that most foundations DON'T give grants to individuals, so don't waste a lot of time looking at the foundations themselves. Instead, LOOK FOR THE NONPROFIT organizations they have give grants to! You're looking specifically for economic or community development grants.
That's you'll actually be able to access whatever grants, services and resources are available, because the nonprofit organizations are the ones who work with indidivuals and provide "service delivery."
To find out who is getting the money, check the foundations 990 tax forms, which are usually available online. That will tell you which nonprofit organizations to contact.
Keep a file of all the possibilities, and hone your research to the sources that provide the best fit for your needs.
There are resources out there, if you're willing to spend the time looking for them. Keep an open mind, be willing to think outside the box, and never give up!
Cheryl Antier is the President/CEO of Dream Weaver Enterprises, a business and fundraising consulting company. MAPS (Microenterprise Answers to your Personal Success) was started as a way for her to give something back to other women, because of the blessings she's received in her life. MAPS offers a free monthly ezine called "Directions". Subscribing is easy and you can unsubcribe at any time with a simple click of your mouse. Your privacy is important, so your information will NEVER be shared. "Directions" does all the research for you -- find out about the latest programs, grants and funding opportunities in your area -- and know BEFORE you apply if you qualify. NEVER be taken in again by a con artist. Monthly ALERTS will warn you about scams. Read reviews of the latest programs, books and software that can help you succeed. Each issue is jampacked with information about a single topic, so you can learn what you need to know quickly and easily. Sign up today -- it's FREE! http://www.microenterprisesuccess.com
Going Public by Way of Regulation D (504) Offering
Under the Securities Act of 1933, any offer to sell securities must either be registered with the SEC or meet an exemption. Regulation D (or Reg D) provides three exemptions from the registration requirements, allowing some smaller companies to offer and sell their securities without having to register the securities with the SEC.
Asking the RIGHT Questions
Which questions do you need to ask to even get a hint if you really want to know something about another person's business pain?
Going Public: Now that You Have Successfully Made the Transition, What Do You Do?
Ok, you have successfully accomplished your dream of being the CEO of a public company. The stock of your company has a symbol and you are continually going to the computer to check the price, you tell all your relatives and friends and you even tried to encourage them to buy the stock.
The Key To Success - Choose The Right Partners
Do you promote yourself as offering prompt, reliable and quality service?
Professional House Cleaning - The Dirty Little Secret
Are you tired yet of all the books out there telling you how easy it is to start a house cleaning business? I'm not inferring that all their information is bad, but let's be honest about how "easy" it really is.
Australian Workplace Agreements - How They Work For You
The employer / employee relations environment has been constantly evolving during the last 25 years. In Australia, as in many western nations, the balance between employers and employees has shifted back and forwards usually in response to supply and demand.
In Home Daycare Businesses for Profit
To have one of the popular in home daycare businesses. Many people think all you have to do is love kids and have a home. But to have a successful daycare business, it takes a little more than that. Actually, it takes a lot more.
A Day in the Life of a Self Employed Professional
It's Monday morning and Connie the Consultant sits in her executive office chair overseeing her business empire. Her desk is strewn with half finished projects, several weeks worth of to do lists (none of them completed), scribbled post it notes, and a permission slip for her daughter's field trip to the Planetarium that should have been turned in last week. Somewhere, buried deep in the rubble is Connie's business plan. The last time she saw it was during the Clinton Administration.
How Most Business Owners Sabotage Their Success
Owning a business is a challenging endeavor. If you're like many novice small business owners, you've taken numerous risks with your time and your money, only to see all of your efforts producing little or no result. This can leave you frustrated and ready to give up. That's no surprise. The more we focus on the negative parts of owning a small business the more negative results we will attract. Learning how to deal with obstacles is the key to avoiding failure. Those small business owners who never learn to deal with obstacles will often become overwhelmed and end their business. Negative thinking is the center of the small business failure scenario.
Competition in the Mobile Car Wash Industry
We have all seen the mobile washing units cruising our city, usually they are trucks, vans or trailer set ups with a water tank and a pressure washer unit aboard. They market their services with flyers and business cards, however most of their business comes from weekly repeats and referrals. Some cities have hundreds of these units going around the city cleaning stuff. You may think what a great business, but like in any business there is a competitive component to the industry, which is not so obvious on first observation.
The Single Most Powerful Small Business Marketing Tool On The Planet
Let me get right to the point. The single most powerful small business marketing tool on the planet is a marketing plan. Now before you roll your eyes and run for the hills let me clear a few things up.
So What? How to Elicit Benefits from Features
"So what?" is a lovely question.
Why are Reverse Mergers Often the Victims of Short Sellers?
There is a great deal of abuse going on in the OTC Bulletin Board Market and a lot of money is being made as result of it. Regulators are trying to deal with the problem but are unable to put a halt to it, unless they take drastic steps which will be detrimental to the small and micro-cap market.
What is your Motto?
Company mottos can easily be printed on a business card.
Using Technology to Manage Customer Loyalty
Don't let your customer satisfaction research initiative collect dust on a shelf. Integrate technology with research to optimize the use of customer information.
Women and Small Business
In the book Women and Small Business author gives all the guidelines and tools need to start, operate and succeed in a business of their own. In the mentioned book she tried in the fist part to explain how has changed the role of women in the world along centuries. In the second part she researched all neccesary abbilities of women who like to start up their own business,make differences among women and men owners and gave advices to them.Additionaly, she made some very important questions which need answers for all prospective owners,as following:
The Care and Feeding of Your Small Business
While I was hard at work last week, an everyday drama was playing out in a hospital room in the next town. My niece was working on presenting me with a new great nephew. Tyler James came into the world Thursday afternoon, mother and child are both doing well. Naturally, I am able to discern at this early stage that the child is adorably cute, remarkably bright, and very advanced for his age. Takes after his Great Aunt, I'm sure.
Money Series 1: Who Takes Your Money
Your business is making profits, but where is the cash? It seems that someone has taken away your money. Your bank account is still the same, and your personal wealth is still the same. There must be someone that took your money. Based on my over 18 years of professional experience and study, there are 8 persons that take away your money without your knowing...
The 5 Habits of Highly Successful Small-Business Owners
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a business that consistently grows and another that struggles just to make ends meet? Or why a business that was started in a basement of a home can outperform some of the best-run "big" companies in sales and profits?
Why Internet Shopping is the New Mall of the Future
Last year, trillions of dollars transferred hands on the internet with regard to sales, or as the internet wishes to call it, eCommerce. The internet is becoming an increasingly complex manipulation of do's and don'ts. However, one thing I am sure of is, what are you doing? The cliche says, "Either get in the game, or sit and watch from the sidelines." I've been sitting around long enough and recently took bold steps to leap into eCommerce.
|home | site map|