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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. About 66% of millionaires did it by having their own business and not by inheriting their money.
It will probably be difficult to get all you need with a grant. It is not impossible. Grants for business are there but they are hard to come by.
When you are looking for money you should make sure that you investigate every possible source of financial assistance. Because there are organizations that will even lend entrepreneurs money even if they have no money or bad credit.
When you start investigating for money for your business, ask for "financial assistance programs" and don't ask for "grants." You may be able to apply for venture capital, loans you don't have to pay back or even direct payments. Ninety percent of all free money the government gives out is not called grants.
Investigate and apply for all financial assistance programs. You never know what they might give you money for. It doesn't hurt to ask. The worst that can happen is that they say "NO."
Also keep in mind that it is always good to have more than one way to get to your goal. I actually believe that when we start on a venture there is no one perfect way to get there and you can't even design the correct path until you get there. We each have to start on the best of the choices that are before us and follow that path until you will see a better path. And I believe that you will see a better path once you start. So, here is where you start:
$200,000 From The State Of Florida
Every state has a number of money programs for people to start or expand a business in their state. Governors compete with other governors to see who can create the most jobs, and that's why they offer money for people who create jobs in their state. You don't even have to be a resident of the state. You can live in one state and put your business in a state that offers you more money. States also offer special money for entrepreneurs to put their business in certain areas of the state or in certain areas of a city. There are also other money programs to build buildings or renovate old buildings. Some of this money comes from federal sources which is given to the states and distributed to entrepreneurs in the state. Other money is generated from local taxes. And some states use the winnings from their lottery money to give to entrepreneurs to create or expand businesses. Contact: Enterprise Florida, 390 North Orange Avenue, Suite 1300
Orlando, FL 32801; 407-316-4600; 407-316-4599, www.eflorida.com.
$200,000 From Washington To Open Or Expand A Business
You can actually get up to $1,000,000 in grants and or loans to open or expand a business from the U.S. Federal Government alone. There are over 100 different money programs available from offices ranging from the U.S. Small Business Administration to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the U.S. Department of Commerce. For the best source identifying all federal only government money programs available, look at a government published book called The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance published by the U.S. Government Printing Office (www.gpo.gov) or look at it for free on the web at www.cfda.gov. Another good starting place to find anything in the federal government is a free service called the Federal Information Center at 1-800-FED-INFO or www.pueblo.gsa.gov/call. For your local SBA office contact: Small Business Administration (SBA), 7825 Baymeadows Way, Suite 100B, Jacksonville, FL 32256; 904-443-1900; Fax: 904-443-1980, www.sba.gov/fl/north
$10,000 To Put A New Sign On Your Business
Most local governments have money programs to help businesses in their area. Be sure to check your city, your county or your local development agency. The money for these programs can originate from the federal government, state government or local generated taxes. These programs can be for buildings, equipment, working capital, hiring employees or for local beautification projects like painting the front of your store and putting up a new sign. If you are opening up a business, you can shop around at different cities and counties to see who may have the most money for you. If you don't know who to contact, call the information operator at 411 and ask for the mayor of the city or the head of the county government. The top office is always the best place to start. You can also go to www.govengine.com and click on your state. You will see a list of all the counties and cities in your state along with the relevant web sites.
The Government Buys More Coffee Than Anyone Else
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 set up a coffee shop in local government office as a concession type business. You see small coffee shops in hospitals and other places 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.
Get Free Legal Help, Free Financial Help, Free Marketing Help
Have you ever wished you could call a great lawyer for legal advice and have her do the work for free? Have you ever dreamed about calling a great financial consultant for advice on a money matter and get your answer for free? Have you every worried about how in the world you would pay for a PR agency to promote your store so everyone would know how great you are? Have you ever wished you didn't have to pay to hire a management consultant to show you the secrets of how to double your sales in one year? You can get the answer to all these questions by knowing about the government's best kept secret called the Small Business Development Centers. There are over 1,000 of these offices around the country that will give you all these services and more for free or for very little cost. You don't even have to know how to spell entrepreneur and they will sit down with you and can help with any business problem you have. Don't pay for something when you can get it FOR FREE. Find an office near you by contacting 800-8-ASK-SBA or http://www.sba.gov/sbdc/sbdcnear.html.
$150,000 To Hire Certain Employees Or To Open an Employee Day Care Center
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 also turn to the Florida Development office for help: A good place to start is your State Government Office of Economic Development located in your state capital. Contact you state at: Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development, The Capitol, Suite 2001, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001, 850-487-2568, Fax: 850-487-3014, http://www.myflorida.com/myflorida/government/governorinitiatives/otted/contacts.html
Where To Find The Best Customers For Your Business
Or where is the best place to put up your coffee shop? Or which surrounding zip codes offer the best potential for increasing sales? You don't have to hire a high priced marketing consultant to get answers to questions like these. You can tap into the government's rich vein of free marketing data collected by the Bureau of Census and other government agencies. This is where the multibillion dollar companies get their marketing data and it's where the high priced consultants also get it and then resell it to clients at outrageous fees. This is what I used to do when I was a consultant. To get detailed information about data available for your state contact your local Census State Data Center in your state capital by calling your state capital operator at 411 or going to http://www.census.gov/sdc/www/. You can also get lots of free and low-cost marketing help from your local Small Business Development Center. You can find them by contacting 800-8-ASK-SBA or http://www.sba.gov/sbdc/sbdcnear.html. You can also turn to the Florida Development office for help: A good place to start is your State Government Office of Economic Development located in your state capital. Contact you state at: Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development, The Capitol, Suite 2001, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001, 850-487-2568, Fax: 850-487-3014, http://www.myflorida.com/myflorida/government/governorinitiatives/otted/contacts.html
Free Help Writing Business Plans Or Grant Applications
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 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. 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.
$12 Million To Start A Real Big Business
No matter how much money you need there probably is a program for you. You can also collect large amounts of money by putting together money from a number of programs. The government also offers venture capital through the Small Business Administration's Small Business Investment Companies (SBIC). Over 75,000 entrepreneurs received money from this source to get their dreams off the ground, including the big guys like Compaq, Apple, Federal Express and Staples. See how they can help you at Associate Administrator for Investment, U.S. SBA, 202-205-6510 or www.sba.gov/inv. Many states also have venture capital programs or will help you locate private venture capitalists and state governments can also help you prepare the necessary paperwork. A good place to look for this kind of help is your State Government Office of Economic Development located in your state capital. You can call 411 and ask for the state capital operator in your state capital or go to www.govengine.com and click on your state and find the office that is listed under business and/or economic development
Get A $5,000 Grant With Bad Credit
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
Free Or Discounted Rent, Office Supplies, Management Services, etc.
The concept of "incubators" offers new entrepreneurs a place to start their business with free use of, or discounts on, everything you need to start and run a business. Some of these "incubators" even help with getting money for your project. It's a great support system for new ventures. To find "incubators" near you, contact National Business Incubator Association at 740-593-4331 or www.nbia.org
$50,000 Grant To Train Your Employees
The more employees you have the more money you can get. The government wants your employees to be the best trained in the world so America can compete in a world economy. You can get money to train your employees in almost any skill, including computers, customer service or even stress management. Although it is a federal program, the money is distributed through local training boards in your state capital. Check your State Government Office of Economic Development and tell them what you are trying to do. You can also turn to the Florida Development office for help. Contact: Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development, The Capitol, Suite 2001, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001, 850-487-2568, Fax: 850-487-3014, http://www.myflorida.com/myflorida/government/governorinitiatives/otted/contacts.html
$14,000 To Learn To Operate A Business
If you are out of work, you may be able to get money to live on as well as money to pay for entrepreneur training in order to run your own business. These programs are run with federal money and state money. Each state has different rules and the main idea is that they have money for you to train to get a better job along with money to live on while you are training. And your new job can be starting your own business. These programs are run through your state One-Stop Career Center located in your state capital, but will have additional offices all over your state. You can find your local office by calling 411 and asking for the state capital operator in your state capital. Ask for your local "One-Stop Career Center." Or go to http://www.servicelocator.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 coffee shop, 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 EntrepreneurInformation USA, Inc. www.lesko.com