When you write a business plan, your primary goal is determining how your business will be financed, operated, managed and marketed. However, your business plan also plays another essential, if less-known, role: attracting funding.
Important funding sources for small businesses, especially for nonprofits, are grants. However, obtaining grants can be a daunting process, especially for the inexperienced. Here are a few tips to increase your chances of success.
You must read the grant’s Request for Proposal (RFP) thoroughly and follow its instructions exactly.
Remember, if you can’t be bothered to follow a funder’s instructions, they won’t be bothered to give you a grant. Try reading successful RFPs already submitted to your funder and incorporate elements from those RFPs into yours.
You must be a good risk for the funder’s money.
Remember, funders have limited resources, no matter who they are or how big they are, so they want to ensure that they get the most return on their investments. Therefore, you must be both competent to use the funder’s money and accountable for when, where and how that money is used. To do this, give the funder specific information on what you’ll be doing with their money. Also, let the funder know about other resources that you have to draw from and how you’ll use these resources to maximize your grant.
Your business plan is essential to proving your competence and accountability to your funder. That’s because business plans answer five important questions about your business:
- Who you are
- What you operate
- Where you operate
- How you operate
- Why you operate
Furthermore, your business plan contains many of the facts – often the specific facts – that you’ll need to certify your competence, accountability and responsibility for your funder’s money. These facts include your management structure, your operation plans and your financing.
In conclusion, a business plan can increase your chances of winning grant money for your business. It may not help you with puzzling over the funder’s RFP, but it will help you with everything else.
Sierra Investment Group, Inc. is a small business plan writing service and small business funding resource. They can be reached toll-free at (800) 323-6298 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.