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About once a month I get that phone call. The caller wants some of that free money. You know, all that free money that the state and federal government give away every day!
As part of what I do at the BIZ, I help people and companies in Des Moines and throughout central Iowa access a variety of grant programs. I am getting pretty good at it. Last year I assisted my clients in accessing over two million dollars in grants. In all the time I have worked in this area, I have never found any free money. As a tax payer, I hope I never do!
Obtaining a grant is usually a fairly difficult and lengthy process. In our book we published last year, How Business Gets Done: Words of Wisdom by Central Iowa Experts, I wrote a chapter on applying for grants and loans. In that chapter I presented five questions you should consider when applying for a grant:
- Do you fully understand the intent of the program for which you are applying?
- Do you have a business plan ready before starting the application process?
- Can you do everything you say in your application?
- Do you understand the timeline for the program for which you are applying?
- Can you gain the help of a professional who has experience developing applications for these programs?
The caller yesterday just could not understand why she needed a business plan. She just could not understand why she might have to put up some matching funds. She simply did not have time to work on applications. She just wanted some of that free money.