Using Small Business Grants to Start an Online Web Store

If you’re in the process of setting up an online store, you may find yourself strapped for cash or unwilling to invest in something that you’re not sure will take off. Why not look into a small business grant? The government and other organizations offer grants to fund businesses, which don’t need to be paid back.

Grants are not easy to get, but there are quite a few programs worth exploring.

Getting Started

It all starts with a business plan. Within this plan, you should identify the ways your store might benefit your local community. This is important to the people allocating the grant. Are there any employment programs you could implement, for example? Do you use modern technology in your operations? Are you willing to donate part of your profits to a local charity or good cause?

If your online store is unique in some way, identify the unique feature or features to improve your chances of obtaining funding.

Looking for Government Grants

Government grants are available on a local, state, and federal level. We’ll look into each briefly below.

Local Grants

Local grants are the smallest, making them the least competitive. Some states have family grant programs that cover funding for inventory, marketing, and advertising.

State Grants

State grants tend to place an emphasis on what will impact the economy of the state. Some state grants can help offset the cost of international marketing.

Federal Grants

Federal grants rarely support online stores. Usually, they fund large national businesses, mainly scientific initiatives and research and development programs.

Meeting Application Requirements

Take the time to go through funding opportunities to make sure your online store fulfills the extended list of legal requirements. It takes effort to apply for grants, so do read the fine print!

You need to register as an individual or company before applying for a government grant. This process can last up to three weeks, so you’ll need to keep track of grant deadlines. You can do this using an app that sends automatic reminders, a Google sheet, or an Excel spreadsheet.

The actual requirements differ depending on the grant you’re going to apply for. Normally, there are three steps: communicating your idea, drafting a proposal, and filling in an application form.

What are Grant Proposals?

Typically, grant proposals consist of a summary, an introduction of your business, needs evaluation, business goals, action plan, evaluation and future funding plans, and financial data at the end.

Writing a Proposal: Final Tips

Always follow a logical flow when organizing your application. Propose an organization that the money from the potential grant can actually cover. Be clear and concise!