Small business grants -Tips to win them.

Small business grants

How to win small business grants

Looking for small business grants for that idea?
When you need funding for your small business, there are many places to look.

Who doesn’t like free money? That’s what small business grants are.

It could help you pay salaries, buy stock, or reach new customers.

While grants are “free” in the sense that you don’t have to pay them back, they’re not handouts. You can’t just go to a website and ask for “1 small business grant please,” and expect to get one.

In all cases, you need to apply for a grant, which can take a decent amount of work and effort. Then, you’re up against other small businesses that also want the grant. It’s common for even small grants to get hundreds of applicants.

A great business idea is a factor in winning small business grants but it is not all you need.
If you have a great idea, but you not know how to pitch it to investors, it does no good at all.

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What is a grant?

Looking up Wikipedia,

“Grants are funds given by an entity – frequently, a public body, charitable foundation, or a specialized grant- making institution – to an individual or another entity for a specific purpose linked to public benefit.
Unlike loans, grants are not to be paid back.”


What is a pitch?

According to Indeed Editorial Team,

“Pitching in business refers to presenting business ideas to another party. Business pitching is a common method for proposing new ideas and gaining support for them”.

Indeed Editorial Team

Pitching is all about how you “Get your way into the heart of investor”, or how you convince them that putting money into your business is a sensible thing for them to do.

Without a good pitch, your good idea might just remain an idea forever. Except you have the means to fund it some other ways.

The importance of knowing how to pitch as an entrepreneur cannot be over- emphasized.

You not only need it to pitch your business for funding. You will also need your pitching ability anywhere and anytime you need to talk about your product, service, or solution.

So, learning how to pitch will always prove to be a great asset for a business owner anytime. Here, we are talking about how to pitch and win grants.

So, how do you pitch when seeking small business grants such that you get it?

Steps to take when pitching for a small business grant or funding

Creating a successful pitch starts with a thorough business plan. From there it’s up to you to identify what makes your business valuable and worth investing in. You may a have 5-page of proven financial history and a deep analysis of how you stack up against the competition across multiple industries, but you simply can’t cover it all. 

Because, when your pitching to angel investors and venture capitalists for the first time, you’ll often only have around 10-minutes to make your case.
Here’s how to make that quick pitch successful.

How to Pitch and win small business grants

Before winning a grant, you must pay attention to the following steps:

1. Create your pitch deck

A pitch deck is simply a summary of the things you want to talk about in your pitch made into a presentation format(ppt or pdf).

It should be bullet points alone, not your entire speech, since you already know what you want to talk about.

First, take the time to put together your pitch deck. The goal is to create a deck that is easy for you to work off of and gets investors excited about your business.

Also, make sure it is well designed and infographics are used as much as possible, such as charts, table, graphs, and even pictures where appropriate.
It does communicate your ideas better than texts and so should be used more.

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2. Rehearse your pitch

This is absolutely important and I cannot stress it enough.

Make sure you Practice!


And practice!!!

You won’t ever understand this concept until you have done the presentation to an imaginary audience and assessors the tenth time, and then compare the tenth presentation with the first one you did.
Your will see a whole world of difference in your composure, stability, fluency, confidence, fervor, and verbal prowess. Rehearsals always does it – most of the times, it never fails.

You will spend 3-5 minutes on stage presenting your idea. It really isn’t that much. But if you’ve got stage fright, it probably feels like ages. One simple advice: if you know, you may not pull it off, choose someone else from your startup team. If it has to be you, practise way before actual pitching begins.

Performance anxiety is common, actors and singers have it, too. Its not a new thing.

Try and practise the presentation as often as you can until you become an expert and develop a little more self-confidence.

3. Employ the power of a story

In pitching, whatever the purpose is, learn to win your audience’s hearts with a compelling and intriguing story – one that drives home your point.
Let the story paint the picture of the problem you are trying to solve or address with your idea and why it is so much important for the problem to be addressed now.
For instance;

“When I worked as a pro developer for TheWellKnown Food Truck company in the high tech industry, I realized there were millions of people being underserved in logistics. Dealing with food truck orders that had gotten stuck, cancelled or removed due to diverse tech setbacks. This made me realize that we needed to solve the app deficiencies with top of the line fiber optic networking that could be reached from public spaces. This is how FoodTruckMagic came to life. FoodTruckMagic is an app that connects…” etcetera etcetera.


Then, proceed further, using the power of your story, to describe the solution you are offering, how it works, and what makes it unique to other solutions that may have existed before yours.

The better you can ‘penetrate’ the souls of your assessors, the more likely you can get them to say a “Yes!” for your idea.
Storytelling helps you achieve just that, especially if it well- rehearsed.
You should also attempt to speak about your target market, your tractions, milestones, revenue model, marketing strategy, and other important things.

Do not in any case forget to talk about the team you are working with and why you believe that the combination of strengths within your team will make your business, project, or idea successful.
This is really important.

4. Talk about the money

When pitching to win grants, it is important to speak about money, of a necessity. You need to talk about how much money is needed to push your kickstart your idea or push it to the next stage.
Talk about how your idea will make money and how much money you hope to make within a given period of time, talk about how profitable this idea will be if executed, and so on.

This is very important when pitching for a grant. Lastly, you need to explain in concise but very clear terms, how you will use the money that’s to be given in grant, if you are awarded.

5. Use simple and plain language and words

Imagine after you are done with your presentation, your audience could not understand what you are trying to say all along – or worse still, they got a message that is completely opposite of the exact information you want to pass across. What a miscommunication that would be!

Never use complicated jargon when speaking to investors, assuming that everyone plays in your Geld and understands everything terminologies you are using.

Approach your pitching with a mindset that everyone you are speaking with are novices and are children as far as what you are talking about is concerned.

Thus, speak as you would try to make a child understand your concept and idea – in a very simple way. Never use words or terminologies that would require your audience needing a dictionary to interpret.

If you do that, it may make you sound inYated (at least to yourself), but what good does that do if you miss the grant after speaking all the grammar?

Most of the times, and more often than not, grant-giving organizations or grant-giving governments agencies would usually have prescriptions on format, word length, time frame, etc. for pitches, whether live or virtual, and they expect you to stick with these guidelines as much as possible. Many times, violation of these guidelines often lead to disqualifications.
So, beware!

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6. Follow guidelines

The guidelines for submitting a pitch may vary depending on the industry in which you work. As part of doing your research, look for any submission guidelines specified by the publication and follow them. Most publishers include their submission guidelines on their website, but if no instructions are available, then you may consider contacting the publisher to ask for clarification. Following the submission guidelines may help you show professionalism, attention to detail and consideration for the expectations of the publisher.

7. Never exceed the stipulated time

This is where many people fail despite great presentation.
In the actual sense, it is pretty much better to have said the most important things before your time is up. Trying to say them after the time allotted you is already passed is not advisable.

It has been mentioned already, but try and stick to the time limit. Make a shorter presentation, so that you don’t have to rush through all the slides. If you were the audience, wouldn’t it confuse you?

Make a bold start and a clear statement at the end. Be consistent, people don’t need to know the whole history about how you decided to start your company.
There is the risk of getting stopped by the moderator when your time is exhausted. You may not like that.
Not only does it stress you out, but also looks pretty bad in the eyes of potential business partners and investors.
Plan your whole speech and include some buffer time in case you forget something or the slide won’t change.

8. End your pitch gloriously

It does make a lot of sense after you have said everything to end your pitch in such a way that your audience is wowed.

On the other hand, it makes no economic sense, after speaking so well, to end your pitch in a way that erode all the positive emotions you have aroused in your audience.

9. Leave your contact details

It is always a good practice to inform your assessors on how you can be reached, should you be considered for the grant.
They do not need to ask for it, just give it to them anyways.

10. Take feedback and refine your pitch

No matter the outcome of your pitch, whether you receive funding, another meeting, or rejection, look for areas to improve. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and take that into account for the next time you pitch. Now if the investor isn’t willing to provide any, don’t push the issue. It is their time you’ve just spent and are asking more of, so it’s a fine balance to achieve.

If you can, have another team member there to take notes and review with them after the fact. Look for weak-points, areas you stumbled over, and slides that led to negative reactions from the investor. Keep refining, practicing, and executing even if you think you’ve found the perfect pitch. 

You’ll really never know how good your pitch is until you actually do it. Don’t stress yourself out, and treat every investor pitch as a learning experience for you and your business.
You’ll only continue to get better and better and can apply those learnings to every area of your business.
Hope you enjoy this article on how to get small business grants?

Share your thoughts in the comment session.

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