I Can Just Get a Grant. Right?
Contrary to popular belief there are only a very few grants available to start and grow businesses. Read The Truth About Free Government Grants to learn how to look critically at offers to give you free money. Often these offers are set up as scams that only benefit the company doing grant searches or, worse, an attempt to access your private personal and business information.
What is the Reality?
As we mentioned on our Steps for a Successful Start-Up page, it all starts with a solid plan. Potential funders expect there to be challenges in implementing your plan along the way, but they will not be interested if you are coming to them with a flawed, incomplete, or haphazard plan.
Put together a business plan
Most funding sources will want to see a clear plan for your business. Get started with your business plan. One of the most commonly recommend tools used by entrepreneurs today is the Business Model Canvas. The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent and pivot your business model. This concept allows anyone currently in business, or starting a new business, to think through the business model of their organization, competitors, or any other enterprise. There are many segments to the Canvas that allow entrepreneurs to think through components needed to build a strong model for their emerging business endeavor.
Estimate the amount of funding you need
One of the earliest components of any business plan is projecting how much funding you will need to stand up your your endeavor.
So, let’s start at the beginning:
How much money do you need and for what? Here are some great resources to help you down that path!
- Tips on estimating startup costs (SBA)
- Online startup costs calculator (Bplans.com)
- Small Business Development Center (SBDC) counselors can also work one-on-one with you to help determine your startup or expansion financing needs
The Fiscal Checklist
The first step in understanding where you need to go is knowing where you currently stand. This checklist will help you take a snapshot of your business’s key components and get you started on a path to financial clarity and performance. Fiscal Checklist from SCORE
Another important part of getting ready is understanding your Credit Score. Put simply, a credit score is a number that banks and other lenders use to help them evaluate the likelihood that they will be repaid on time if they loan funding to a business. Your personal credit score is built on your credit history and will be a determining factor in the amount of funds you are able to access from a lender and it will affect many other aspects of terms of the loan.
Determine the best source of funding
Once you have figured out “how much,” the next question in developing a strategy to fund your business is determining where you can access that funding.
Looking at these two links can help you figure out a path forward to locate business start-up funding.
- Overview of business financing (BizFilings by CT)
- Quick Pick chart of funding sources based on stage of business (BizFilings by CT)
Types of funding
There are a variety of funding opportunities for new and established businesses. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) puts out a nice guide to the variety of options available including various types of debt and equity funding.
Resources for Women, Minority, Veteran, and Disabled Owned Businesses If you belong to certain classifications of entrepreneur, you may be able to receive special assistance for your business endeavor. Specifically, the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs is committed to serving and assisting all underserved citizens across West Virginia and developing innovative ways to address issues affecting minority populations through conversation, education, leadership, and collaboration. Additionally, the U.S. Veterans Administration offers a variety of help for contracting with government entities and the U.S. Small Business Administration has additional assistance offerings.
More Information . . .
We will continue to look into various forms of funding. Click below to find other resource pages here at WV BusinessLink.
- Friends and Family Funding
- Types of Loans Available
- SBA/Bank Loans
- Angel and VC Investment Groups
- Technology Grants