How to Get Grant Funding

grant funding

If you’re a prospective business owner looking to start a venture or expand an existing one, you may be interested in securing a government grant to support your endeavours. This article will guide you through the process of writing a business plan for a government grant application, equipping you with essential knowledge to increase your chances of success. From developing a solid business plan to understanding legal structures, marketing strategies, operational considerations, and financial aspects, we’ll cover all the crucial steps.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be well-prepared to use your business plan to get grant funding and propel your business forward.

  1. Lay the Foundation: Developing a Business Plan
    A robust business plan is vital when applying for a government grant, even if you have prior entrepreneurial experience. It serves as a roadmap for your business and should include an analysis of your target market, competitors, strengths, weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats. Additionally, outline your marketing and operational plans, set clear objectives and goals, and consider crafting a mission and vision statement.
  2. Legal Considerations: Choosing the Right Structure
    While focusing on your product or service may be tempting, it’s essential to determine your business’s legal structure early on. Your choice will have implications for liability, taxation, and other complexities. Deciding between a Company structure or operating as a Sole Trader is crucial. To gain more insights into this topic, consult our blog post: “Best Structure for a Small Business”.
  3. Building a Strong Brand: Enhancing Visibility and Recognition
    Developing a strong brand is key to standing out in the market. Ensure that your branding elements (such as your logo, imagery, and colours), align with your target market’s preferences. Avoid creating a logo without first understanding your consumers and competitors. Conduct thorough market research to identify the visual elements that resonate with your audience. Collaborate with a professional graphic designer to create a contemporary brand identity.
  4. Crafting a Marketing Plan: Attracting and Engaging Customers
    A well-defined marketing plan is crucial to achieving your business goals. Include a thorough definition of your target market, competitive analysis, goal-oriented targets, effective strategies, and a measurement and evaluation framework. This plan will help you attract customers, both online and offline, and guide your marketing efforts.
  5. Online Strategies: Maximising Digital Presence
    In today’s digital age, it’s vital to have a robust online presence. Create a user-friendly website, optimise it for search engines, and leverage content marketing to establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Familiarize yourself with different online platforms (like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter) to gain an understanding of their roles in attracting and engaging customers.
  6. Operational Considerations: Hiring and Managing Staff
    If you plan to employ staff as a result of the grant, ensure you have a clear job description and person description to find the right fit. Clearly define the values, approach, and style required for each role. Treat your employees well, pay them fairly and promptly, and fulfil your legal obligations as an employer. Your staff directly contribute to the quality of your product or service and play a vital role in customer satisfaction.
  7. Financial Management: Bookkeeping and Accounts
    While using Excel may seem convenient, it lacks the necessary functionalities forfinancial management.  Set up a cloud accounting system (such as Xero, MYOB, or Quicken), to streamline your financial processes. Maintain organised records of bills, receipts, and invoices. Consider obtaining a dedicated company credit or debit card to separate personal and business finances effectively.
  8. Financial Tracking: Getting it Right from the Start
    Begin tracking your business expenses and income from the start. Many entrepreneurs overlook potential tax deductions and fail to recognise that they can carry forward losses. Even if your business hasn’t generated revenue yet, any personal funds invested can be considered as a deductible expense. By starting early, you can establish financial systems while dealing with a manageable number of transactions, making it easier to comprehend and manage your financial records.
  9. Start Up Costs: Exploring Your Finance Options
    To apply for a government grant, it’s essential to outline your start-up costs and create a comprehensive budget that displays how that money will be spent. Consider all the expenses you’ll incur before opening your business, including purchasing necessary items. Explore other financing options (such as business loans, credit cards, equipment leasing, or seeking equity investors). Additionally, familiarise yourself with the process of lodging a successful grant application; do not hesitate to seek assistance if needed.
  10. Key Financial Reports: Understanding What These Are
    A sound understanding of financial reports is crucial for managing your business and preparing grant applications. Learn how to read and interpret profit and loss reports, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Develop accurate sales forecasts and ensure all costs and expenses are accounted for correctly. Distinguish between costs (which vary based on sales volume) and expenses (incurred regardless of sales). Use this knowledge to assess your gross profit, net profit, and calculate important financial ratios.
  11. Understanding Your Profit: Calculating Margins
    Profit margins play a significant role in evaluating the financial health of your business. Gross profit is the amount earned after subtracting the costs directly associated with your products or services. Expenses, on the other hand, are the fixed costs of running your business. By calculating your margin, you candetermine the number of units or products you need to sell each month to break even. Consult resources provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for industry benchmarks and guidance on estimating break-even points.
  12. Compliance and Tax Obligations: Keeping the ATO Happy
    Ensure compliance with tax obligations and maintain a good relationship with the ATO. Register for Goods and Services Tax (GST) if your business is projected to exceed $75,000 in turnover. Keep meticulous records and take advantage of tax deductions by working closely with your bookkeeping system and accountant. Separate personal and business expenses to avoid complications. Stay prepared to pay quarterly or monthly BAS (Business Activity Statement) and payroll taxes to avoid financial strain when these bills are due.

If you are in need of a grant funding business plan, get in touch with Small Business Plans today on 1300 644853 or at info@smallbusinessplans.com.au (24/7 website chat and enquiry available).