Applying for a government grant can help you generate the capital you need to grow and establish your small business. Plus, it’s money you don’t need to re-pay, so it’s a good idea to apply to as many grants as possible. However, the application process can be lengthy and complex, so it pays to know which mistakes to avoid to increase your chances of approval.

1. Using a Template

You’ve spent time and effort researching the different grant options available to you. You don’t want to waste that effort by using a template to create your cover letter explaining why your business should receive funding. The cover letter is a key part of the application process, and you shouldn’t brush it off or speed through it. Take care to make it personal, clear, and engaging. It could mean the difference between an approval or denial of your application, so don’t use an impersonal template.

2. Not Reaching out to the Funding Agency

The representatives at the funding agency are there to help you, so reach out. Even if you believe you understand all the requirements and guidelines of the program, it doesn’t hurt to reach out and talk to someone to get tips or further explanations of the process. If anything, speaking to someone in person may them remember you once it’s time to review your application.

3. Not Following the Guidelines

Yes, government grant guidelines can be lengthy and confusing. It’s going to take considerable time to fill out your application, but this doesn’t give you good reason to skip sections. Each requirement is in place for a reason, so make sure you are giving the funding agency all the information they’re requesting. And if there are any requirements that make you ineligible for the grant, don’t try to get past it. You must meet all requirements, or you’ll be denied.

4. Not Using Proper Grammar or the Proper Format

You want the funding agency to take your application seriously and see your company as a viable business. This will be difficult if your application is littered with typos, grammatical mistakes, and poor formatting. Have another person review your application before submitting it.

5. Not Having Accurate Bookkeeping

Your books will need to be in order if you are applying to government grant programs. Along with your application, you’re likely going to need to send in historical financial data and projected financial data. Make sure this information is accurate before filling out a grant application to increase your chances of success.

6. Only Presenting Ideas

You may have come up with the most innovative idea that you want to get funded, but you need more than that to get approved for a grant. Specifically, you’ll need to demonstrate your track record of success with tangible results, so the funding committee sees your company as a viable business.

7. Only Focusing on Profitability

A funding agency will want to see that your company can be profitable, but philanthropic organizations and government agencies will be more focused on the social and political outcomes of your business, such as job creation, improvements in the community, or industry advancements. It’s important to match your project outcomes to the committee’s mission and priorities.

8. Missing the Deadline

Deadlines for government grants aren’t flexible. You will be expected to send in your application by the deadline or it will not be considered for funding. Ensure you look at the intake period to know when you can apply.

9. Not Applying

Finally, a mistake many business owners make is not applying for government grants for small businesses. These programs are in place to help small businesses like yours grow and prosper. Take advantage of all funding options available to you.