Federal Small Business Grants

Federal small business grants are designed to encourage and help Americans launch a new business venture or expand an existing one. To increase your chances of success in both running a small business and in being awarded a government grant there are several steps that you can take to help in both endeavors. Devoting extra time into planning, research and finding the right resources are the key steps to financial and business success.  It is also important to avail yourself of all the free professional help and advice that is available along the way. The one thing that all successful companies both large and small have in common is that they took the time to complete each step of the process. Some of the most important factors to consider before you are ready to apply for any of the many federal small business grants out there are:

  • Create a business plan.
  • Get as much free professional advice as you can. This should also include any free seminars and courses offered through local community centers and services.
  • Make certain that the location of your business (including a business that is run out of your home) complies with all local zoning laws.
  • Research all possible sources of financing including state, corporate and federal small business grants.
  • Decide on the legal structure that your business will take such as a partnership, sole proprietorship, nonprofit, corporation, etc.
  • Register your business name with the appropriate government office.
  • Contact your state revenue agency to obtain a tax identification number and register for both local and state taxes.
  • Obtain any permits and/or licenses you might need in order to conduct your business.

All the steps listed above including relevant financial information will in some way form part of your business plan. Both lending institutions and grant agencies will require a completed business plan as part of their application package. You should always be prepared to revise any business plan as circumstances warrant and as your business grows or when there are changes in the market. This is an important factor to keep in mind since each grant proposal will be for very specific projects each with their own parameters. The review panel of any granting agency needs to see that you understand the goals of the project and that your business meets all the criteria necessary to follow the project through to completion.

Putting together a professional business plan can at first seem overwhelming but remember that there is an abundance of free information to help you with each step. Of course finding all the federal small business grants that match your business’s skills and experience can be difficult unless you know where to find the right grants. This step is extremely important however since there are so many different agencies and government departments that offer grant opportunities in a wide selection of categories. There is no point in wasting valuable time searching through lists of grant proposals for research and development projects in the telecommunications sector when your expertise lies in programs for disadvantaged youth.

It is also important to be aware of the many grant scams and how to avoid them. Always keep in mind that no one can guarantee that you will be awarded free government grant money and no legitimate granting agency will ever contact you personally with offers of free business grants.

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