No I Will NOT Write a Grant for You (YET)….And Here’s Why!

by Atlanta Small Biz Esquire

Asking for money is like asking for a raise. The request shouldn’t be a shot in the dark. You should already know what the answer will be- or at least what it should be. You should be confident that you have been bringing your “A” game. You should understand how much you’re worth. You should have no doubt that they are willing to pay for what you are selling.

More often than not, during my initial, free consultation with new clients, I am asked to find them money. I mean this is no surprise, as identifying funding sources and asking for money is a big part of what I do. But sometimes my answer is “No”.  Well…not really “no” as much as “not now”. The reality is that sometimes businesses are just not ready to ask for money. They are on their way. Innovative Venture Solutions can absolutely help to get them there. But they aren’t there yet. Here are some reasons why:

1)       You aren’t registered as an IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity. This is very important to most individual donors. This is fundamental for most foundations. If your charitable organization does not have this designation-  you will NOT be ready to ask for most foundation grants.

2)      You are looking for venture capital, and you don’t have a pitch deck. Your pitch deck is the standard response to a venture capital firm’s request for more information. It is your elevator pitch in a bottle, or rather, in slide presentation. It sets out your business plan succinctly, in 10- 20 slides, from the problem your idea solves to your exit strategy. And when a potential investor wants to know more, this should be your initial offering.

3)      You haven’t proven yourself. Asking for money as a newbie is a lot like asking for a raise on your first day of work. The proof is in the pudding. Most funders these days don’t pay for ideas. They want you to do it, prove it works (or can work with extra capital), and then make the ask.

4)      You can’t show them the money. I know this defies all understanding. I mean, you don’t have any money…and that’s why you’re asking right??? Well no. Many funders are groupies. They want to jump on board the party bus. So how do you get your “party” started?  Well, your first investors should be those closest to you- you, your friends, your family, your Board. Funders want to understand that someone else out there is willing to invest in your vision. They also want to know that your work can continue once their money is no longer part of your financial picture.

5)      You have a reputation for failure. If at first you don’t succeed, indeed try again…just don’t keep asking people to fund your failures if your projects have failed because of lack of planning, inadequate infrastructure, or poor leadership. You can absolutely recover from a couple of false starts. But you absolutely want learn from your mistakes before going back for more money.

Whether you are ready to ask for money or ready to GET READY to ask for money- we can help you. Visit i-vsolutions.com or email me at spresha@i-vsolutions.com for more information.

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