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Dear Ms. Z.,
You sound like a very ambitious woman, and that is wonderful. I believe that we all should have multiple goals for achieving success in America.
Having your own business can be one of the most life changing experiences you will ever have. The great sacrifice and hard work necessary in the beginning will fulfill your life like nothing else. And more importantly entrepreneuring is the surest way to accumulate financial wealth in our society. Date from a book by two college professors called, The Millionaire Next Door, show that about 66% of the people in the USA who became millionaires did so by working for their money and not inheriting it.
It will probably be difficult to get all the money you need in a grant. But it is not impossible. Grants for business are there but they require a bit of digging.
The most important thing to remember when you are looking for money is to make sure that you investigate every possible source of financial assistance. There are always possibilities out there like the hundreds of organizations that will even lend money entrepreneurs that have no money or have bad credit.
Do you realize that only 20% of the free money that is available from the government is called grants. Some 80% of the free money the government has is referred to by names like "direct payments", "venture capital", "loans you don't have to pay back", "contracts" and other jargon. So if you contact a government office and ask what kind of grants they have, you can be missing out on over 80% of the free money available if you simply ask for grants. So when you contact a government office ask for information about their "financial assistance programs." This way you are using a word that is inclusive of all kinds of free money.
One of the reasons a lot of people are looking for grants is because they feel that if the bank won't lend them money, no one is ever going to lend them money, so they should not even bother to ask. This is not true of government programs, especially for business. There are many business loan programs that are for people who cannot get money elsewhere. And as I mentioned earlier, there's even a bunch of non-profits that have loans just for entrepreneurs who have no money and bad credit and want to start a business. The sources for these are listed below.
Most people who hear about the possibilities of government money programs start doing a little investigation and quickly realize that it may be a complicated process and they better get some help. So they purchase a book or a service like this hoping that it will cut down on their time and confusion and make their life real easy.
Sure, you may get lucky and the first contact you investigate in this report will provide you with all the help you need. But this is unlikely to happen to most people. What you have here is the most selected sources that pertain just to your situation from the literally thousands of sources available. You still have to do a bunch of work.
You have to contact each of these sources and investigate each of the programs in detail to see if there is any potential for that program to help you. Here's how to do it:
Step #1: Contact each source by phone or email and make sure you have the most complete list of available programs.
Step #2: Review each program in detail and try to see a way that this program might be of use to you. Some programs my offer money if your business is in certain areas, so investigate if that is a possibility for you. Be creative. Maybe you can move your business to the area they want developed and not start it in the area you initially planned. Some programs may only offer technical assistance and not money, so see if there is someone available in the program that can provide you with the technical assistance that is specific to your business. There are many aspects of starting and operating a business that require things other than money. They maybe able to help you fill out applications and paperwork or even help with your taxes, marketing, or management problems.
Step #3: Every source you contact does not have to be a lost source even if they do not offer you the help you are seeking. Many of the people at these offices have been doing their work for many years and are often knowledge enough to know about other similar programs that may help you, or new programs that are not offered yet but will be available to the public soon, or programs that have been redesigned and weren't offering assistance to people like you in the past but are now.
It is important to investigate each of these sources because they can lead you to something that is not on the list. The world is too big for even me to know about every potential money opportunity. The real opportunities are likely to be in what is not on the list, but I don't know about them or I would have put them on the list.
I believe that this is how the world works. Every time I start out on a new product or new venture, I begin with the one best way I believe it will become successful, but it never turns out that way. If it becomes successful it is usually gets that way by a method that I never even dreamed of. Now I know I'm not smart enough to know the one best way to do something when I begin a new project. No one is. The best way is created as you investigate the ways that you think is the best way. Going thru the process of investigating what you believe is the best way, expands you mind to think of other ways to get to where you want to be. And you would have never thought of them unless you go thru the process. The only way to get smart is by going thru the process. The struggle and process can expand your mind to think of things you never even dreamed of.
So if it's hard to do what you want, just remember that this is life, and 9 times out of 10 it is going to be that way. But if you really want to do it you will hang in there until you figure it out. And what you have hear are the best starting places in the world, created by some of the best experts in the world on this subject. Now it is all up to you on what you do with it.
Don't believe it when some professional tries to scare you into thinking how hard it is to write a business plan or fill out a money application. This is the least of your problems, plus there is plenty of free help in filling them out when the time comes. The first thing you must do in getting government money is get a copy of the application that you believe may give you the money you need. No one should ever investigate hiring a professional before you even know where you are going to apply for the money. And once you get an application in hand and you think you need help contact your local Small Business Development Center at 800-8-ASK-SBA or http://www.sba.gov/sbdc/sbdcnear.html . They will help you for free or for next to nothing. You can also get help from the best grant writing experts in the country at a non-profit organization called The Foundation Center. Their materials are available for free in libraries all over the country. You can find out where by contacting them at 212-620-4230 or www.fdncenter.org.
Also there are many non-profit organizations that help individuals and entrepreneurs with paperwork, if it becomes a problem. Association for Enterprise Opportunity at 703-841-7760 or http://www.aeoworks.org/index.php/site/page/category/find/ should be able to help you identify such organizations.
By the way, I've seen a lot of applications for government money and many of them were so sloppy and unintelligible that any teacher would have given them a flunking grade, but they still got their money. And some applications are only one page long and you can get up to $150,000 for filling them out. Worrying about filling out an application before you have one in hand, is like buying a prom dress before you are invited to the prom. First things first.
Question: Do you know what is better than a $100,000 government grant? Answer: A $100,000 government contract. Because with a grant you are most likely to get it once and with a contract you can keep getting it over and over again. Question: Do you know who buys more of anything than anyone else in the world? Answer: The government, including federal, state, local and county.
There may be an opportunity to sell food services to a government office, at the local, state or national level. There are plenty of food service business on government property that are run by entrepreneurs. The government wants to deal with small entrepreneurs and may even help you financially to do it.
But don't worry too much about the work required and the paperwork involved because there are offices that will help you do all this and they will do it FOR FREE. Contact these offices below and tell them you need help to open up coffee kiosk in government buildings. If you land a contract you might be able to get a traditional loan to finance the project. Contact:
But remember one thing: selling to the government is like going elephant hunting. When you bag one of these babies you have meat for a long time.
These are all grants...
The money is in the form of tax credits on your federal and/or your state income taxes. If you are paying any taxes then this is truly free money because it is taken right off your tax bill. To find out about every tax credit at your state level contact your state Department of Revenue by calling 411 and asking for the state capital operator, or go to www.govengine.com and click on your state and start looking for the Department of Revenue. For information on all federal tax credits contact Internal Revenue Service; 202-622-5000 or 800-829-1040 (Business Tax Questions) or go to www.irs.ustreas.gov/formspubs/. You can contact: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (MTED), 500 Metro Square Blvd., 121 7th Place East, St. Paul, MN 55101-2146; 651-297-1291; 800-657-3858; Fax: 651-296-1290; http://www.deed.state.mn.us/
Maybe you don't need a bunch of money to get your idea off the ground. Maybe all you need is just a few thousand dollars to get your idea to go. Well, there are hundreds of non-profit organizations that offer small grants and easy loans aimed at people who would never be able to get money from traditional sources. It is difficult to locate all of these groups around the country, but two good starting places are: 1) Association for Enterprise Opportunity at 703-841-7760 or http://www.aeoworks.org/index.php/site/page/category/find/ and 2) The Foundation Center at 212-620-4230 or www.fdncenter.org
Remember, these are just starting places. We have an entire book and DVD training program on this called Free Money For Entrepreneurs and you can check our website, www.myamericanbenefitsplan.com, and look under Business for more sources.
It is important to follow up as many sources as possible and if those sources cannot help you ask them for leads on who can. Also keep your mind open to other opportunities you never even thought about as you are investigating these sources. Maybe you can rent someone's existing shop and give them part of the money you bring in. This way you learn how to get customers and run a business without having to pay for everything. The most important part of starting any business is getting a customer. Without that you are not in business.
If all else fails you should go work in a food service business, even part-time, for awhile to help you figure out another avenue to create your goal. If this is a dream, you have an obligation to yourself and your community not to give up and to try to find creative ways to make your dream come alive
Good luck and keep your dream alive. And keep finding more ways to fan the fire when the flames start to dwindle.
Matthew LeskoBest Selling Author and Entrepreneurwww.lesko.com