An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Funding and Grants

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Starting a business is an exciting milestone. You’re taking the leap and becoming your own boss. Funding is one of the most important first steps to tackle. You need money to cover startup expenses and initial operating costs, like commercial rent, employee salaries, software, materials, tools, and more. This guide explains how you can use grants and other resources to get the money you need.


Start by setting up your business as a legal entity

Before you start applying for funding, register your business as a legal entity. This proves that you aren’t just pocketing the money for yourself. Some grant applications require you to submit proof that your business is legally registered. Consider registering your business as an LLC, which can simplify tax paperwork and reduce administrative burden. Each state has its own LLC regulations. This guide explains how to set up an LLC in Ohio, for example.


Educate yourself about the types of funding opportunities

There are many different funding opportunities for new business owners. Traditional options include taking out a bank loan or asking family and friends to spot you the cash. Other possibilities include angel investors, government grants, business incubators, venture capitalists, and crowdfunding platforms. Here’s a list of the various opportunities you can consider. Grants are often preferable because they don’t require you to pay back the money like a loan. Plus, loans may have high interest rates attached to them.


Research grants and other programs

If you decide to use a grant to fund your business, you’ll have to do some research. There are many private and government grant programs available, but they each have their own eligibility criteria and application process. This roundup of grants offers some insights. You can also contact your U.S. Small Business Administration office to learn about opportunities in your area. The Columbus SBA headquarters is the place to go for residents of Ohio.


Learn how to write an effective grant application

Once you find a grant you want, it’s time to write the application. This can be a time-consuming process that requires you to put together a lot of paperwork, so make sure you don’t leave it until the last minute. To create an effective grant proposal, follow best practices such as reading through the application instructions carefully, being specific instead of generic with your language, and providing data to back up your business plan.


Consider getting a business degree to improve your chances of success

 If you’re lacking confidence in your grant writing skills, consider getting some additional education. Going back to school for a business degree can help you improve your business skills, including communication, accounting, and management. Earning a business bachelor’s degree online gives you more flexibility than an in-person program. You can study where and when you want, making it easier to finish your degree while also starting your company.


Use your local network for more assistance

The process of finding and applying for grants and other sources of funding can be tiring. It can help to talk to other people who are familiar with the process. Use your local business network to find a mentor or to connect with other entrepreneurs. For example, if you’re in Ohio, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce is a great starting point. They provide support for small businesses in the area and also hold events where you can connect with others.


Starting a business is an exciting prospect. However, it can also be expensive. Grants and other funding resources will help you get the money you need to get started. By taking steps like going back to school to hone your business skills, you can better prepare yourself for all aspects of entrepreneurship, including writing successful grant applications.


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