If your business needs money NOW, here’s every way to get Small Business Grants in 2020.
If you’re strapped for cash, or simply want to take advantage of FREE money available in grants, I’m going to give you every resource available to get money NOW.
Yes, even if you’re not hurting for money, you may still want to take advantage of these opportunities. Don’t allow your competitors to blow past you because of the FREE money they’re getting, to support their business.
By end of this post, there shouldn’t be anything else for you to do BUT to get to work and start completing applications at the right places.
Don’t watch any other YouTube videos. Don’t search another keyword phrase in Google. I’ve done all of that for you and will give you everything you need to know, right NOW.
In this post, I’m going to tell you exactly where I would go to find money for my business IMMEDIATELY.
I’m going to give you the most effective ways to find grants, regardless of the time period!
And I’ll also go over some of the HOT topics related to the Covid Recession. I’ll tell you what you’ll need in order to start applying. I’ll also go over the most common mistakes that I see my clients make when searching for funding for their business.
So let’s begin.
What are small business grants?
A grant is simply a sum of money that is given for a particular purpose.
It is most commonly given by governments and other organizations. “Other organizations”, such as non-profits, are very important. Because, the government frequently provides funding to nonprofit organizations, who in turn, grant money to small businesses.
Many people ask me, “Well, what’s the difference between a grant and loan?”
Simple. A grant does not have to be paid back. A loan does.
Now, if you do not use a grant for its specified purpose, you may be required to pay back the full grant amount (and possibly suffer more consequences).
So only apply for grants that are specific to your business needs.
What are the most effective ways to get grants?
Generally, the most effective way to receive grant funding is to start where you are.
Start with your local city and county government, then move up to your state and federal government. Local government grants are generally less competitive, and also more intentional about serving small businesses in their areas.
So let’s start with local government first.
How to Get Local Grants
Now, there are a few ways to find local grants. They are:
- Go to your local small business development center
- Find your local Economic Development authority
- Call your elected officials office directly to provide you with grant options
Let’s go over all three.
#1 Go to Your Local Small Business Development Centers
Small business development centers are also known as “SBDCs”. SBDCs are organizations that are funded directly by the government to support small businesses.
In addition to SBDCs, The Small Business Administration, more commonly referred to as the SBA, may have local chapters that address the needs of small businesses in your area as well.
To start, just search for local SBDCs in your area and browse their website. Most will have financial programs and assistance right on their website.
For example, I live in Atlanta GA, and when I search for Atlanta Small Business Development Center, this is what shows up.
I can browse their website for financial resources, or call them directly.
I strongly recommend calling these chapters directly, as they may have access to grant programs that are designed specifically for your small business.
#2 Contact your local Economic Development Authority
Now, let’s move on to the second tactic, which involves locating your local Economic Development Authority.
Most cities or counties have economic development centers. In short, these centers want to create better opportunities for people in their communities.
And what do you think the best way is to create opportunities for people? By creating jobs! And they can’t create jobs without businesses – which is why this is a great place to find business grants for your business.
These centers spend enormous amounts of time and money finding ways to attract businesses to come to their communities.
They provide grants, loans, tax credits, and so much more for businesses to come to their community.
They literally bend backwards to spur economic growth in their communities.
This is practically why Amazon pays virtually no taxes! Because of government incentives to bring their corporate business to specific areas.
So, to find your city’s Economic Development authority, just search Google for your city’s Economic Authority.
For example, when I search for Atlanta Economic Authority, I find Invest Atlanta.
You can also find other things like Tax Credits through your economic development authority. For example, due to an Invest Atlanta initiative, I saved over $100,000 per year in business taxes.
Anyway, find your economic development authority, view their programs, and call them to find grants for your business.
#3 Call your local elected officials directly.
As funny it sounds, this works.
Calling your elected officials’ office is a hack that most for-profit grant companies use to find grants for their customers.
Here’s the truth. Government spending in the United States represents over ⅓ of our total spending.
The government is a major contributor to the net worth of our country.
This is why corporations spend billions of dollars in lobbying. So they can tap into government funds and incentives to grow their business.
Fortunately, for small businesses, there are already incentives set aside for you. You just need to find out WHERE it is.
So to get to the point, this is what you need to do.
- First, find out what district you’re in – you can do this by using a website like https://openstates.org/
- Next, pop-in your zip code to find elected officials that specifically serve your area
- Lastly, Click the official’s name and call them directly.
A representative from their office will normally answer. When they pick-up, just say “Hi, I’m a small business owner in this district. I am seeking assistance with obtaining grants and was hoping to gain information about available grants in this area.”
Don’t be shy about this – they are in-office to elect YOU. Your TAX DOLLARS are being used to fund these programs. So as a citizen of that district, you have every right to inquire.
They will either help you or point you in the right direction. You may also ask them for information about nonprofit organizations that are doing grants for small businesses.
Often-times, there are many more than just the SBDC or SBA. For example, East Cooper Community Outreach is a community-based nonprofit organization in Charleston, South Carolina. They specialize in helping low-income people in their community to obtain financial aid.
These are the type of organizations that your local Congressman’s office may be able to help you find.
AND, here’s a major hack – you can ask for a letter of recommendation from your local Congressman to help you in your application for specific grants.
Just like a job application, a letter of recommendation does not guarantee you’ll get it, but it sure does help!
Now, let’s move on to State and Federal government grants.
How to Get State Grants
State grants are generally more competitive than local grants, but what do you have to lose?
At the end of the day, this is free money available to people. As long as you fit the criteria, there is no reason to not apply. Now here’s how to start.
First, find your State’s Department of Economic Development. This follows the same process as the local examples above.
When I search for “georgia economic development small business grants” on Google, it takes me to the exact page where I can view all of the loans and grants available for my business.
Do the same thing in your state and see what you can find.
Once you find your State’s Economic Authority, don’t hesitate to call to get the exact information you need.
I can’t emphasize that enough – pick-up the phone and call these people. Remember, they are here to help you!
How to Get Federal Grants
Federal grants are traditionally more competitive due to the amount of businesses applying for them. BUT, right now this has changed due to the Covid Recession!
We’ve seen the federal government support small businesses like they never have before, in effort to stop small businesses from going out of business and halting job creation.
Now, the first place I recommend to find federal grants is SBA.GOV.
The SBA is the ONLY federal agency dedicated to small business and provides capital for small businesses.
This is where the most popular federal grants are listed for small businesses.
This includes the Paycheck Protection Program, also known as the PPP loan, and the EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan).
Now, I know what you may be thinking.
You might say “Sherman, I want a grant – not a loan!” Here’s the thing – these programs can work like grants if used correctly.
For example, the PPP loan was a “forgivable loan” if it was used on specific expenses, like rent or employee salaries.
Anyway, read between the lines to make sure you fully understand these programs. So to get started, Go to SBA.Gov, view their funding programs, and find programs that best suit your needs.
Okay, so at this point, I’ve given you local, nonprofit, State, and Federal options to secure grant funding.
How to Increase Your Odds of Getting Small Business Grants
Make sure you’re buttoned up correctly when you apply for funding. Before you start applying for small business grants, you should have these things done.
First, make sure your business is incorporated into an entity. Your business should have a unique, Employer Federal Identification Number. This shows that you own a real business.
Second, your business and personal taxes should be complete. Grant providers will want to know the current standing of your business, including your income. Make sure your business tax returns are up-to-date for the most recent tax period.
Third, your business books should be up-to-date. In most cases, you must provide your financial records for your business in order to qualify for grants. They’ll want to be sure that you have a need for the money you are requesting. So make sure that your business bookkeeping is up to-date.
Fourth, you should be operating in a separate business bank account. Remember, grants are only free if you use the money appropriately. To make it easier for you to do your books and for them to audit if funds are used correctly, conduct your business transactions from a business bank account.
Finally, you should have a plan for the grant funds. If you are awarded grant money, what will you do with it? You should know this BEFORE you apply for grants. They will want to know your plan for the money. You can take this a step-further by forecasting your financials based on receiving the grant money. Show them what you will be able to accomplish through the use of the grant funds, for yourself and for your customers.
By tackling these items in advance, you will have a better chance of obtaining grant funds quickly. In short, you make it easy for grant providers to give you the money you need to run a successful business.
If you need help with any of these things, like setting up your business entity, filing your business taxes, catching up your books, or financial projections, just contact us and we’ll be happy to help you – we do this everyday for our small business accounting clients.
Otherwise, let’s quickly summarize this video so you can start applying for grants right away. Here’s the recap:
- What is a Grant? – Remember a grant is simply a sum of money used for a particular purpose. As we discussed, make sure you can clearly articulate what purpose you will use grant funds for when applying.
- Where can you find Grants? – We recommend starting at the local level, with your city or county government. Find out who’s running the show in your district, call them, and ask them where you can find grants. Then, branch out into seeking State and Federal grants.
- What do you need to have before you apply? we discussed what you need to have in order to be successful in your grant search – you should have an incorporated entity, completed tax returns, up-to-date books, and most importantly – a plan on how you plan to use grant funds
See you in the next blog!