Securing funding for your small or startup business can be a challenge, but thankfully, there are many sources of funding that you can avail to get your business or idea off the ground. These range from personal savings, funds from family/friends, bank loans, credit cards, angel investors, and VC funds, but all of these sources come with drawbacks. Grants Assist can help you evaluate different funding sources and apply for the funds and grants that best suit your needs.
It is very important to understand that not all sources of funds are the same. Using your personal funds leaves little room for error and can limit your ability to be as enterprising as you may otherwise be. Using funds from family or friends can strain your personal relationships, and using bank loans and credit cards can be prohibitively expensive. Accepting funding from angel investors or VCs can give you the boost you need to run your business in its critical early stages but accepting such funding will typically require you to relinquish some level of control or ownership of the business.
This is why so many up-and-coming small businesses turn to small business grants to secure the funding they need to launch, grow, and enter new markets. The biggest issue with winning these grants, however, is identifying the right grant, meeting application deadlines, submitting the right documentation, meeting all regulatory/statutory filing requirements, and meeting the growth or milestone benchmarks required by the grant in question.
Common Causes of Small Business Grant Rejections
Small business grant applications are usually screened by human readers. This fact is a double-edged sword; although it makes it a little challenging to decode the exact criteria that will win a grant for you, it also means you can make yourself stand out of the crowd with a few simple tricks.
Before we get into what you can do to improve your chances of winning a grant, let’s discuss the most common reasons applications are rejected.
- If you are not noticed in the pile of applications that your grant reviewer has to get through on the day, you will likely not be funded. Reviewers are human beings with limited attention spans, energy levels, and interest. While you have some room to be creative, you must follow the requirements of the grant to the letter; a failure to do so can lead to a direct rejection of your application.
- If you miss a filing deadline, your application will likely be rejected.
- If you file a proposal or apply for a grant for which your proposal or application is not relevant, you will likely receive a rejection.
- If you do not exactly follow the guidelines provided to you for the content, format, and/or length of the grant application, you will likely receive a rejection.
- You filed an application without demonstrating how your idea, innovation, solution, or approach is any better than the alternatives available.
- You filed an application without demonstrating how your idea, innovation, solution, or approach merits funding for business goals relevant to the grant in question,
- You applied to a grant or industry vertical which was not an agency priority or fell beyond available funding limits.
- You did not clearly describe one or more elements asked of you in the grant application.
- Your application suggested that you were not very familiar with the industry in which you plan to operate or that you did not perform the background research or homework expected of someone requesting funding for an initiative that meets grant requirements.
- The grant for which you are applying is or appears to be beyond your capacity in terms of your training, experience, or resources.
- The budget or business plan you provided along with your application was unrealistic in any way, such as in scope, funding required, timelines, or viability.
- The cost of the initiative or plan for which you are seeking funding exceeds any apparent benefit that may be derived upon its completion.
- A poorly written application indicates that you are unable to follow rules or meet other reasonable expectations in terms of conveying your idea and meeting relevant grant requirements. Poor attention to detail and an inability to follow simple instructions may indicate to your reviewer that you may approach your project, business, or idea in the same careless and unprofessional manner, and you may receive a rejection.
How Grants Assist Can Help
Our team of professional grant writers and consultants can help you overcome these issues so that you put your very best foot forward and maximize your chances of winning the grant for which you apply.
Firstly, you must identify, shortlist, and then apply for the right grant. There are hundreds of grants available for all sorts of business needs. Grants are available for everything from tourism, entertainment, and healthcare, to innovation, IT, R&D, education, staffing, marketing, agriculture, and construction. Furthermore, within each of these verticals, there are grants available for specific needs, such as hiring grants, relocation grants, and location-specific grants. Choosing the right grant based on the requirements of the grant and your business needs is of paramount importance.
Next, you must be ready to receive a rejection. The pool of applicants almost always exceeds the number of available grants, and official grant reviewers must inevitably send out rejection letters for otherwise sound business ideas. Many would-be business founders and entrepreneurs become angry or frustrated when they receive a rejection, but remember that a few rejections are par for the course, and the best thing you can do is to remain vigilant, stay on track, and continue to work on your business and apply for grants that you qualify for.
When applying for a grant, be sure to tell a good story and to convey how and why your idea or solution is not just different but better from the alternatives. People love a good story, and good stories are easier to remember than random lists of facts. If you can demonstrate the utility of your idea or the pressing need for funding with an interwoven story that meets all grant requirements, you will drastically improve your chances of winning the grant.
Finally, avoid overpromising. Remember that grantees must meet very specific performance measures after the fact, and winning follow-up grants will likely be contingent on meeting the milestones and objectives outlined in your first grant. Submitting a thorough, accurate, yet grounded application can improve your chances of winning funding and can set you up for long-term business success.
Our clients come from every industry and every corner of the country. We specialize in helping grant applicants identify grants and understand the requirements of the grants that they wish to apply for. We also help them complete the paperwork and application required by the grant, and we also assist with follow-up, goal-making, and success measurement.
Recent reviews of Grants Assist’s services highlighted our ability to break down complex grant requirements in simple, understandable terms, and the value of having a guiding hand to help in choosing from competing grants and other sources of funding that may or may not be relevant to the use case the client had in mind. Many of our clients have also confessed to being overwhelmed with the paperwork, documentation, and steps involved in identifying, applying for, and following up with official bodies when it comes to performance measurement, and Grants Assist can help you every step of the way so that you maximize the chances of winning a grant and putting those funds to the best uses possible.
To learn more about our model or to speak with a specialist regarding your business idea or need for funding, please visit us at https://australiangrants.org/contact/.