Archive for

Finding Small Business Grants

Poor financing is the number two reason small businesses fail, falling right behind poor management. Sufficient funding is paramount to the success of small businesses, and small business grants can be the answer to the problem. If business owners have the necessary knowledge about how to find and properly request grants, they have a better shot at creating a successful business that will be open longer and prosper.

There are over 300 different grants and loans available for small businesses that are just starting out. The grants range from $25,000 up to $1,000,000 depending on the size and projected success rate of the business. There are also grants available to help small businesses grow or expand. Grants are not the same as loans because they do not have to be repaid. A grant is considered free money, as well as an investment to promote the success of small businesses and the U.S. economy. Money for grants comes from income taxes. Obtaining a small business grant does not require credit checks or deposits, even if the owners have experienced bankruptcy in the past.

There are a number of helpful websites that send small businesses government grant packages for free, excluding the cost of shipping. These packages include information on how to find grants, how to prepare a grant request, and how to apply for grants pertaining to a specific business. Some of the providers are Government Funding Solutions, Grant Master, and Grant Wizard.

It is important to be familiar with the Small Business Administration rules for receiving grants before beginning the process of obtaining one. Although the SBA does not provide grants to small businesses, they do provide helpful suggestions and resources on how to find grants.

In order to qualify for a small business grant, individuals must first become familiar with the 13 CFR 143 document that lists all of the requirements to be eligible for a grant. This document includes information on the pre-award and post-award periods and defines all aspects of applying for a grant and states who is eligible. The CFR is the primary source of rules and regulations for small business grants and must be read before starting the grant writing process.

After reviewing the requirements, prospective business owners must write a grant request. There are professionals who will write a grant proposal or the individuals may complete it themselves. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance is a helpful site that links individuals to resources about federal grants for small businesses. Afterschool.gov gives helpful tips on how to write a small business grant and, although it is geared toward grants for after school programs, includes helpful information for grant writing in general.

Additionally, there are many well-established government and private organizations that provide grants to small businesses. The Department of Justices Ten Grant document gives access to grant opportunities for those conducting research in support of law enforcement. The Department of Labors Employment and Training Administration has several grant opportunities for small business owners. They offer about $125 million to businesses that are based in a community setting with special attention to training programs. The Department of Transportation is another organization that offers small business grants. They offer grants to any business willing to help resolve the growing problems with the federal-aid highway program. The Department of Education has a program called e-GRANTS that locates electronic grants online. They have a detailed list of grants available and the necessary applications to fill out. There are a variety of grants available for different groups, all of which have detailed descriptions and contact information. Other organizations that provide small business grants include the EPA, the National Cancer Institute, NOAA, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Boosting Your Online Business Presence

Be honest, how many places do you ever really remember online? Most people remember only a fraction of the websites that they eventually visit. However, this is an awful occurrence for someone who is running a business that has an online presence. This online presence is very important to ensure that things are running properly, and that customers are coming back to help build repeat business and profits.

If you have a website and online presence, that is not gathering some good attention then you are essentially destined to close quite quickly. It is very important to grab the proverbial bull by the horns and ensure that you are creating a good, powerful, and strong online presence that drives repeat business to your website. The trick is to do this without spamming, or making your site appear desperate.

Starting with the basics is always important. You should never attempt to run a business website from a free hosting company. Having a web address of [http://www.yourbusiness.yahoo.com] is just not very professional. Investing in a domain name that is instead [http://www.yourbusiness.com] is much more professional and very affordable. For only a few dollars a year you can purchase a domain name that gives you this professional image and the price is very much worth the professional appearance it gives you.

Once you have located a domain name that you want and have looked around to find a company to purchase it from your next step should be locating the hosting service you will need. Unless you are absolutely positive you are going to have massive traffic to your website right from startup or very quickly afterwards it is best financially to get a small to medium web hosting package. This allows you to easily upgrade as you need more server space or even bandwidth and still keep your web hosting costs under control.

While you are working on your online presence, never discount the importance of a proper e-mail address. [email protected] is just not as professional as [email protected]. Who would you rather do business with, someone with a proper e-mail or someone using a free e-mail service? Most people would prefer the more professional e-mail because it gives a powerful impression that you have taken care of the small details. Most web hosting packages include e-mail addresses which makes it affordable and typically at no extra cost.

Your last major basic step should be avoiding SPAM. No matter what, you should never start mass e-mailing people who have not asked for information about your company or product. This is a major faux pas in business and can create a bad name for your business as well as land you in some legal trouble. Avoid this and never resort to this type of advertising. Your time and money is much better spent on other forms of advertising instead. Remember, while you are working hard to grow your business and avoid SPAM you want to ensure your employees all feel the same way as well, or at the very least abide by your anti-SPAM policy.

Online Business Prison Break

The cubical based corporate world is a virtual version of Prison Break. The hit NBC television series follows the lives of inmates who broke out of Fox River Penitentiary and are on the run.

Sure it’s just a show, but there are millions who would love to escape their cubical and work from home. Because of the low barriers to entry many people attempt to make money online. Only to get recaptured and return to the cubical because of failure.

So how can you better your chances for escape?

One: Have a Plan.

You can’t just wake up one day, walk in and quit, and start an online business. It takes planning. A blueprint. A map.

You have to know what market you will serve, the possible income from that market, and a long-term strategy for service and growth.

Two: Face the Challenges

Just like in Prison Break, plans do not go as…planned. There will be unexpected problems. People will fail you, domains will be taken, hosting will go offline. It’s just part of business.

Too many online entrepreneurs see perfection. They see the site, the email list, the sales process, the buyers, and the full bank account. They fail to see the advertising costs, setup fees, education investment and a dozen other areas that are needed to do business successfully online.

Three: Keep Running

Now in its third season the Prison Break boys (and girl) are on the run full throttle.

You can’t coast when making an escape, you have to hustle. Work hard. Push it beyond the limits.

But once again, what happens too often online? People buy into the dream of being lazy and making lots of money. From knowing many of the top online marketers, I can tell you this – they work HARD. They enjoy what they are doing so it doesn’t seem like work, but they are putting out the effort.

Are you wanting to escape from your job? Dreaming of an online business and making money from home? It’s possible, but it’s not as easy as everyone makes it out to be…

Have a plan, face the challenges and keep running if you want to make the great escape!