20-year-olds or Craigslist Ads. Are You Correctly Managing Talent For Your Small Business?

October 28, 2012

As a small business owner I struggle periodically with filling and holding my most technical people. I need x,y, and z from people who have “x,y,z” tattooed on their backs. Anything less than that will and I am out of commission. Once I placed an online ad the way I learned to do from a business book I am not able to name now. It said to post the skill set needed of an applicant not a description of the position. I cannot remember what I posted, but it must have been along the lines of “anyone who has ever opened Photoshop within the last 12 months, please sign up here” as the responses of many well-meaning, yet unpolished designers were overwhelming. I give great credit to those trying to learn and develop new skills in any economy, but when someone sends a graphic design sample as an image on a word document it takes more than a deep breath to keep from replying with “Wth???????”

You can make as many assumptions as you want as to why I had gaps in my team, but whether all their grandmas died at once or I was crushing them under the hammer of my sparse and sporadic client proposals, the issue at the end of the day was there was a highly specialized piece of my machine missing and it was not fun trying to find it.

Someone smarter than me alluded to this phenomenon. D. Ready and J. Conger put together a short piece called “Make Your Company a Talent Factory” where they explained very clearly how not-so-small-businesses with their big budgets and good intentions for maintaining talents were not. Whether talent retention systems were in place or money was being set aside for such or executive managers were totally clueless of its importance, the issue was the same; not having a concise development program for the current talent within a company (employees) or one for reaching outside to potential talent (interns) was the leading cause of shortages in key roles within a company.

Part I – Are You Correctly Managing Talent For Your Small Business?
Part II – Motivating Employees
Part III – The Happy Camper Talent Management Factory: Running on Sunshine and Smiles
Part IV – How the Gears of Talent Management Work

How To Get A Small Business Grant

October 3, 2012

The following is a list of the best small business start up grants for US citizens, arranged in order of the amount of money they potentially offer. Most of these grants are life changing, in the order of tens of thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.How To Get A Small Business Grant

This page simply shows you how to get a small business grant by giving you the details of the organizations that offer the largest amounts to start up companies, based on the business plan, and potential for succeeding in that plan that they show.

There is a rigorous approval process for all of them, and each have their own criteria for what they expect to see in a potential grant recipient, but all of these organizations have big money to hand out, and they do give it out, on a regular basis, each year or so.

The organizations on this page are listed in order of the largest amount of money they will potentially offer to any one business start up, with the first on the list offering the most money.

Small Business Innovative Research Program

This government grant hands out as much as $750,000 to businesses that show an entrepreneurial talent worthy enough to win the grant. Check out the link for more details, but there is money reserved every year for businesses in eleven different categories, or federal departments and agencies.

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Transportation
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Science Foundation

As with all of these grants, you simply need to determine if you qualify, and then make sure that your application is filled out according to their instructions, and you might have an extra 100,000 dollars to use to start up your business.

Small Business Technology Transfer Program

This grant is for funding innovative research programs, such as medical or technological research that might dramatically improve the quality of life for people generally. According the page I just linked to, their goal is: “to foster the innovation necessary to meet the nation’s scientific and technological challenges in the 21st century”.

The amount of money they offer is again in the range of one hundred thousand to seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars. That’s certainly not chump change, but you do have to be a research company start up with a fairly clear plan in mind to meet their standards.

Mission: Small Business

This award is sponsored by Chase, and Living Social, but also supported by the US Chamber Of Commerce, and they give out $250,000 at a time, with what appears to be eleven separate grants on offer every year.

There isn’t much more on the home page of the site that explains what requirements they have, but that should lead you in the right direction, and a quarter of a million dollars is well worth investigating.

MIT Entrepreneurship Competition

According to the page I just linked to: “Over $350K in prizes are given to aspiring entrepreneurs each year through participation in a series of three contests: the Pitch Contest, the Accelerate Contest, and the Launch Contest. The winner of the Launch Contest takes home $100K!”

The Robert P. Goldberg grand prize of $100,000 is what you are aiming to get, and the details of the competition are on that page, so read up on it, enter the competition, and you could come away with the grand prize of a hundred thousand dollars to start up your company.

As far as I can tell, with all of these grants, it’s not just money that they lend you, it’s money that they’re actually giving you for free! That’s pretty amazing if you can somehow pull that off, and a life changing thing for any small business start up owner.

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge

As you can see from the link, this is another grant offering $100,000 to “support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems”.

Well worth investigating, if your start up small business has the potential to change humanity for the better. The criteria for entry are listed on the site, and for one hundred thousand dollars, it’s well worth thinking about, even if you think that your business might not change mankind as we know it.

Find out More About Small Business Grants

There are many more grants on offer for small businesses, some of them ridiculously large like these, and some more in the range of $10,000 or $5,000, but you can find them all by taking a look around this site.

For a more comprehensive list of grants, take a look at this page, business funding, which has a list of over 100 small business start up grants from government, and the private sector. This whole site is devoted to grants, loans, and competitions for small businesses, so explore the site a bit, and be sure to tell any friends you have who might benefit from these amazing and life changing opportunities.

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