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Dear Mr. S.,
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 see a better path. And I believe that you will see a better path once you start. So, here is where you start:
Because of Katrina there will be a whole lot of extra government money going into Louisiana for businesses and entrepreneurs. And if the past is any indication they will likely have trouble getting rid of it all. A whole year after the tragedy of 9/11, New York still had millions and millions of dollars available for entrepreneurs that was going unused. Another interesting aspect of the 9/11 money was that entrepreneurs all over the country were using the money that was set aside for businesses that were effected by 9/11. So be sure to contact your U.S. Congressman as well as your 2 U.S. Senators for help in getting money. They might be more aware of new money programs that will help entrepreneurs in Louisiana.
And don't worry if you were not directly affected by the hurricane. You should be close enough to take advantage of the opportunities.
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.
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.
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/.
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 with 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