You and your college buddy have this incredible idea for a new product. You have the manpower, the human capital and the will to survive and thrive. But there is something missing: you don’t have the capital.

With governments, corporations, non-profit organizations and academia itching to hand out money to unique ideas and sound business models, your solution may be to take advantage of a small business grant. This will provide you with the capital you need.

Interested? A simple Google search will reveal an impressive list of small business grants.

Of course, before you get too excited and start filling out dozens of different applications, you need to know a few things first. Otherwise, you’ll be throwing your chances out the window. Here are five ways to improve your chances of being approved for a small business grant:

1. Understand What They Want

Governments tend to favour green energy projects. Academia want to hone in on the next great scientific expedition. Corporations desire the greatest invention since the toaster. Non-profit organizations want to save the planet.

Simply put: it is important, as an entrepreneur, to know what exactly the funding group wants.

If you’re a biotech firm, then you shouldn’t necessarily search for small business grants from city hall. On the other hand, if you have an incredible energy idea, then apply to the province.

2. Thoroughly Read Through the Application

A common mistake that impetuous individuals make is that they do not read the application correctly. They merely skim through the application, fill in the boxes and that’s it.

Sorry to say, but this is the worst thing you could do.

Rather than peruse the application once for a couple of minutes, you should employ the exact opposite: go through the application several times for a long time. By doing this, you will not make any errors and you will submit the best application.

3. Double Check, er, Triple Check Documents

When you need to complement your application with a wide array of documents and records, you must ensure that they are void of spelling, grammatical and informational mistakes.

You can avoid this from happening by simply triple checking every single thing that is being submitted to the party, whether it is the form or a business plan.

Moreover, you can do one thing better: hire a proofreader who has experience with grants.

4. Remain Honest at All Times

Unfortunately, when entrepreneurs are desperate for a small business grant, they will tell a fib, either five or 15. You must not do this. Ever!

From the initial stage to the end of the small business grant application process, you must always tell the truth. You shouldn’t lie, exaggerate or omit anything. Honesty is the best policy, and should the grant provider find out the truth, then your reputation will take a hit and the funds will be taken away from you with a snap of the fingers.

5. Speak to the Layman, Not the Expert

Sure, you want to show off your impressive industry acumen by using jargon, complex terms and other insights. Since you don’t know who is reading the application, you must always write as if you’re speaking to the layman, not the expert with 25 years of experience.

Small words, short sentences, short paragraphs, to the point. These elements will help you get your application to the top of the heap, which will improve your chances of winning.

Capital is finite. When you’re a small business, you’re trying your best to get your hands on any free loonies as much as possible. This can indeed be difficult to achieve, but with confidence, an astute attention to detail and a great idea, you can declare victory in your quest for a small business grant.

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