Where to Find Free Money to Get Your Small Business Started
The best way to make sure your small business is a success is to lay the foundation and funding before you even print a business card
How and Where to Find Small Business Grants for Your Home Improvement Company
Being your own boss is something many people dream about. Not having to answer to a time clock or be confined to a desk during traditional business hours is definitely an appealing thought. Obviously, being an owner and operator of a small business has more benefits than simply not being shackled to a desk all day.
But it’s not an easy endeavor. If it were, everyone would do it and we’d all just work for ourselves. Half of all small businesses fail within one year. The other 95 percent fail over the next five years. But, for that remaining 5 percent of companies that make it, it can be a lucrative and fulling career.
The best way to make sure your small business is a success is to lay the foundation and funding before you even print a business card. Finding the money to set up your business on solid financial ground is a huge, early hurdle to overcome. But it’s definitely doable. There is even free money out there to get your home improvement business started: grants!
There are a few avenues to tap when it comes to getting grant money. Grants are a great way to grow your business because the money doesn’t have to be paid back.
Below is a breakdown on where small business owners can find money other than through obtaining business loans.
Federal Small Business Grants
Federal agencies are the largest providers of grants to small businesses.
Grants.gov — This site is a very large, thorough database of grants which are administered through various government agencies. This mission statement of the site is to, “provide a common website for federal agencies to post discretionary funding opportunities and for grantees to find and apply to them.” You will most likely have to set aside some time and patience to find grants where your business meets the criteria.
USA.gov — This is a comprehensive guide full of resources and aid to help people start a small business. There are many other links on this site that have nothing to do with helping you start a home improvement business. So, yet again, be sure to save a chunk of time to find what you are really looking for.
Grant Watch — This site works kind of like a grant search engine. It’s a meta-source of free money for your business.
State small business grants
The number of grants available at the state level varies. In fact, grants can be broken down further to regional opportunities, which especially benefit women-owned businesses as well as small businesses owned by veterans and minorities.
Economic Development Administration — This is a bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Its role is to facilitate regional economic growth. It’s a robust resource guide for grant opportunities and other economic and job-related information.
Small Business Development Center — This organization provides assistance to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Its goal is to help people realize the American dream of becoming business owners by offering free business advice and low-cost training.
State Business Incentives Database — This site provides a national database of business incentives that are available at the state level. It gives you access to which agency is backing the grant, eligibility requirements, and application procedures.
Other organizations that offer grants to small businesses
National Associations of the self-employed — This is a not-for-profit organization which helps small businesses by giving them resources and tools to help them grow. Various grants and scholarships are granted monthly.
Lending Tree — Even though this is an online lender, they also have information on grants for small businesses as well as a $50,000 grant they offer yearly. Of course, chances are slim to win this grant, but it doesn’t hurt to try!
Now that you know the best places to search for grants, you need to know how to put your business in the best position to receive one. Grants are generally very competitive with many people vying for the same money, so to ensure you have as good a chance as possible, be sure to follow these steps.
- Have a solid business plan
- Identify your financial needs
- Write an executive summary of your business’ needs
- Research the grants
- Identify grantors that match your business goals
- Get the info needed to understand the grant’s guidelines and who the contact person is
- Make sure all the questions you have are clarified before you apply
- Write the grant proposal
Now, wait. It is not unusual to wait six months to hear if you have received funding. So, begin your quest early so you don’t run out of financial runway with your company. Good luck!