By: JJ Hrechun, Director of Growth Marketing
A wise, well-traveled teacher of mine once said that the three most important words in business are “Other People’s Money.” Now, with a professional resume that would make even The Most Interesting Man in the World jealous and having worked for some of the highest profile individuals in government, sports, and entertainment, he would, without a doubt, be the one to know. But he can tell you those stories another time.
In the moment, his words of wisdom definitely resonated, but from the perspective of M:7’s Growth Marketing division, they should be a guiding light for businesses, and more importantly, business owners at every level across every industry. From the young, ambitious entrepreneur ready to breakthrough on day one of their new startup to the Fortune 500 CEO whose decades of experience have made them a cunning corporate tactician on par with Carnegie, Ford, or Vanderbilt, every business person can benefit from some “OPM.”
As you may have read in our earlier blog, M:7 Agency uses the 3 C’s to define the growth necessary for brands to achieve success — Customers, Capacity, or Capital. And if you or your business are looking to grow with capital, it obviously has to come from a source external to your existing organization and rate high enough on your cost-benefit analysis to make it worth pursuing.
When many people think of raising capital, they might picture a tense Shark Tank board room scene with a high stakes presentation in front of skeptical investors. However, utilizing public funding sources like grant funding is typically a much more feasible, less intimidating route to fund an organization’s capital expense project, especially if preferring not to take on or give up control to outside investors.
If your organization or project has a compelling story to tell and is providing a substantial economic impact or social benefit to your community or your employees, chances are you’re just a successful application away from getting the infusion you need to reach your goals. With that in mind, here are some key tips that we’d like to share with organizations who are exploring getting more involved in grants:
1. Be Intentional
For those uninitiated in the public funding space, grant writing may look like a simple numbers game where the more applications you submit, the better your chances are. This can lead some to adopt a haphazard rapid-fire approach trying to blindly apply for as many grants from as many different sources as possible. Before you revert to the Hail Mary offense, it’s important to huddle up and make a game plan. To put your organization in the best position for success and help your project stand out from the crowd, you’ll need current budget estimates for your project, an approximate project timeline with major milestones along the way, as well as any quantitative data that demonstrates the project’s impact to your internal and external stakeholders.
2. Get in the Game
As our Founder and Managing Partner Jim Christiana likes to put it, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” If you’re an eligible applicant for a grant program that fits the needs and goals of your project, put an effective plan together to submit an application. Your chances of success may be better than you realize, and you never know what can happen once your application gets in line for review. In fact, some state grant programs give partial awards to applicants even if the full amount requested is not approved.
3. Trust the Process
Even if your application is a 10/10, sometimes factors out of your or your organization’s control (budget limits, location preferences, etc.) can limit the number of awards and thwart your chances of getting one. If your application doesn’t get an award, don’t get discouraged. Many state programs accept applications on an annual basis, and your approval may be just a matter of when, not if. While you might not be able to control the external factors of the review process, you can control the internal factors in regards to the quality and quantity of the applications you submit, so it’s important to keep after it and stay on top of new grant cycles as they become available. Accomplishing your objective is, in the words of baseball visionary Billy Beane, “a process”, so make sure you and your team stay focused on the ultimate funding goal and put the right pieces in place to make it happen in spite of any obstacles.
You may be out there right now saying, “That’s all well and good, but my team and I really don’t have the time or the bandwidth to take on grant applications. And even if we did, we don’t even know where to start with the application process.” Don’t stress. Take it from us: you’re definitely not alone. In fact, you’d be surprised at the number of organizations we see that would make ideal grant candidates but, for one reason or another, choose not to throw their hats in the ring and submit applications. That’s why our last tip (and we may be just a little biased) is the most important…
4. Call the Calvary
As mentioned earlier, when you’re looking to raise capital, when, where, why, and how you do it has to all make sense from a cost-benefit perspective. If your organization is just starting to take off, diverting valuable internal resources, especially manpower, to a world that you might not have particular familiarity with (in this case, grant applications) can seem like more trouble than it’s worth. Especially when you have new facilities to build or products to test.
That’s where working with an experienced growth marketing consultant like M:7 Agency can pay huge dividends. Our growth marketing team has successfully secured millions in state funding for a wide range of clients spanning a spectrum of industries that includes manufacturing, property development, health care, sports, and entertainment. See our work >
We have our finger on the pulse of funding opportunities at every level in both the public and private sectors and are experts at guiding our clients through every phase of the grant application and management process. Working with us means you have access to not only a team of writers and strategists skilled at crafting an application that helps your project stand out from the crowd but also experienced project managers who have the relationships and background to ensure your project remains in compliance and on schedule throughout all phases.
To learn more about how we can help, schedule a consultation with us today!