Is your business ready for a grant? Do you even know what is required to apply for a grant? Would you have sufficient time and resource to complete a grant application tomorrow, if a grant program was released that suited your business?
It’s that time of year when everyone is back from their summer holidays, the kids are back at school and it’s full swing into business work. Time to knuckle down and make hay while the sun shines! Government officials are busy too – there will be a number of grant programs being released over the coming months, which is all very exciting! The problem is, we’re never quite sure what grant programs will be released or when these will happen!
A grant application normally represents some form of business improvement, a new project, building on existing projects or trying something new in the business, which normally leads to some form of efficiency being created! I’m all about creating those efficiencies!
There’s a lot of groundwork that needs to be done prior to a grant application even being written. It’s all in the preparation, to ensure nobody gets overwhelmed and nothing gets overlooked, leading to the business having the best chance of being successful in their grant application. There’s always a stack of documents and information that is necessary, that are sometimes hard to find or complicated to produce (especially in a short timeframe), so I cannot stress enough that it really is all in the preparation.
We all love it when a grant program is released, but are we as small business owners in a position to make a credible grant application to be in the running for the grant at the time it comes out? Sometimes the answer is no. That’s my focus for this year, educating small business owners about the grant application process and how to be best prepared for you and your business.
I have been involved in various grant programs from both sides of the table. I was once responsible for a grants team in a senior government role and I have also written a few successful grant applications across a number of grant programs. I currently have an 80% success rate of grant applications as I take an honest approach to assessing the likelihood of how suitable the grant is for your business, from the very beginning. I strive to ensure that nobody wastes their precious time (including mine), to ensure an efficient allocation of resources within the business to complete the grant application.
In my opinion, grants should be treated like a bonus, it’s great if you get one, and not the end of your business if unsuccessful. I also encourage business owners to consider if that project would most likely to be undertaken regardless of the grant and whether the grant may be a great opportunity to fast-track the improvements or project.
It is also important to do your research and determine whether there are other small businesses that you could partner with, collaborate with and potentially submit one grant application that will mutually benefit several small businesses for the same common goal and collective outcomes.
The process of applying for grants can provide valuable insight and clarity of where your business is heading, as you’ll be forced to better understand and know your numbers and business operation metrics.
Grants are an investment that can pay-off substantially for your business over the long-term, mainly due to the uncertainty surrounding the entire grant process, nothing is guaranteed in the world of grants. Grant applications can also not be rushed, as you normally need to collate a number of business and official documents, some that you can create yourself, but some require input from other businesses, such as quotes, plans and designs, and letters of support.
Each grant program is different with different eligibility criteria, different outcomes and benefits, different timeframes, different requirements, different co-contribution percentages, different application forms and different formats, but they do all follow a general format that does allow for some forward planning and preparation.
Nobody ever really knows when grant programs are released, but we do know that the application period is never very long – sometimes as little as 4 weeks from the grant program being released and applications closing. It’s all in the preparation.
Register for my FREE webinar here: Liz Fleming – The Efficiency Coach Events | Eventbrite