A staggering 29 percent of small businesses fail because they run out of cash. Approximately 82 percent experience cash flow problems, while 19 percent are outcompeted. While entrepreneurship may seem like an exciting experience, it has its share of challenges.
No matter how great your products are, you need money to bring them to the market. You also need a constant flow of cash to keep things running smoothly, pay your employees, and advertise your offering.
As a small business, it’s essential to secure funding. This will allow you to expand your reach and make your dreams come true. Unfortunately, a brilliant idea doesn’t guarantee your success.
Federal grants can make a world of success for small companies and entrepreneurs. This money can help you improve your products and build your organization’s visibility. Applying for a grant is the hardest part.
So what does it take to write winning grant proposals for your small business? What should they look like to be successful? Here are some tips to help you out!
Check the Grant Requirements
Before applying for a grant, make sure you check its requirements thoroughly. Underline key information and take notes.
Your grant proposal should align with the requirements of the program you’re applying for. If the grant is intended to promote medical research, highlight your company’s activities, projects, and accomplishments in this area.
Remember, you’re competing against hundreds of other businesses in your industry. This isn’t the best time to break the rules and overlook the small details.
Structure Your Grant Proposals
Ideally, you should structure your federal grant proposal based on the funding agency’s requirements. At the very least, include the following elements:
- Cover letter
- Executive summary
- Organization history and description
- Background of the problem you plan to solve
- Project description
- Goals and objectives
- Budget information
- Project timeline
There’s no one-size-fits-all template that works for all grant proposals. However, you should make it clear why you need the grant, how you plan to use, what strategies you’ll implement, and how the funder’s interests align with your goals.
Make Your Executive Summary Stand Out
Apart from your cover letter, the executive summary is the first thing founders will read when going over your proposal. Therefore, it should be engaging and impactful yet clear and concise.
This section can only have a few sentences, so make sure they matter.
Highlight your value proposition as well as your company’s mission and the issue your project will address. Briefly explain that your organization has the background and expertise to implement the project and achieve tangible results.
Convey a Professional Image
This isn’t the time to showcase your creative writing skills. Avoid fluff and flowery language. Make sure every sentence counts.
Keep your tone clear and relevant. Use industry-specific language, but don’t get too technical. A grant proposal that’s difficult to understand, too long, or confusing will put the readers to sleep.
Remember to check your spelling and proofread the paper. A single misspelled word can affect your chances of being approved.
Get the Money You Need to Grow Your Business
Federal grants can open up a world of opportunities for small businesses. Obtaining one won’t be easy, but it’s worth the effort.
Read everything you can about grant proposals and what they should look like to be successful. Write several drafts before submitting the final proposal. Make sure you’re ready and able to commit to the project you plan to start in case your application is approved.
Use the same strategy when applying for government contracts. Check out our guide to learn more!