Start ups, please stop waiting for grant money to start running your business. Yes, you may need it, but it should not hold you back from making sales. Never be dependent on a grant. You are not a non-profit!
I've mentored hundreds of entrepreneurs and many of them usually have one major issue: funding. For some, they are no longer working a typical job; their business is the only way they bring in income. Few of these entrepreneurs also have children, rent/mortgage, debt, and a plethora of other financial commitments that need to be paid.
Unfortunately, over 60% of my mentees don't meet the criteria for business loans. So, guess what they consider next? Grants. I want to be clear. I, firsthand, completely understand how difficult it can be to run a business, while also figuring out how to pay the bills every month. It's tough! But guess what, you are an entrepreneur. It comes with the territory. Grind and hustle!
Grants can be an "easier" way of getting funds for your business without the worry of having to pay it back. That's the good news. Ready for the bad news? Most grants can take months to get and the process to get those grants can take a lot of time away from you working on your business. Let's say you're looking to get an average-sized grant for $2,500 and you run a barbershop. You would like to use the money to buy equipment like a chair, more clippers, or even funds to pay for your first shop. If your average sale is $40 that means you need to cut around 60 heads.
Can you cut hair in your house? At a park? Maybe even your client's home? With hard work, you can make $2,500 fast. Your time is better spent promoting your work on social media and reaching out to friends and family who can share your new business with their network. And guess what else? If you do it this way, now you have social media presence, a clientele (who will come back depending on your success), and multiple referrals. If you wait on a loan, you still have to do all the work still even after you have the loan and the money will be spent in seconds.
So, with all that said, I do agree that grants are smart ways to raise funding. I also believe you can use the example I gave above, while still applying for multiple grants. However, I do NOT agree with not starting your business (making sales and networking) until you've received a grant. Believe in yourself. You can do it! I promise it will pay off in the end. You deserve it.