When I get approached by a business looking for a grant, I ask questions and listen. I listen for the real reason people are wanting a grant …. a lifeline, an investment in a new idea, to reach an audience, to continue to fund an existing service, to develop a business plan. There are many reasons why people look to grants, but not all reasons will fit with a grant and for them, a grant is not the answer.
There are two kinds of enquiries. The first one is easy to deal with. This enquiry does lead to a grant option. The enquirer may already know the grant they are looking for and are looking for somebody to help them write up the application. Alternatively they have an idea of what they want to achieve, and it is something that somebody, somewhere will fund. A rule of thumb is that if the idea leads to economic, social, cultural or environmental benefits, then there is likely to somebody out there willing to offer a grant within certain criteria:
- If your proposal has economic outcomes, for example getting people into jobs, skilling up the workforce, building new industry, developing new export markets, generating income from tourism or starting up a business, then these will support economic output and GDP. You are more likely to find a grant to help you achieve these outcomes.
- Likewise there are funding options to integrate people in society. These may include grants to reduce social isolation, reduce domestic violence and homelessness, recovery from disasters or community development.
- Culture underpins society and there are grants available for cultural activities whether they be art, music, dance forms or sport.
- Finally, we are trustees of the environment and as such, funds are available to protect and improve our natural resources and agricultural sustainability.
If your proposal falls within these domains, then there is likely to be an interested funding source whether it be government (federal, state or local), investor, or philanthropic trust. For people wondering where to start, a list of sources of grant income is available on the Get That Grant Grant Writing Help Desk site.
What if what you want to do doesn’t fit with a grant? This is the second kind of enquiry.
By making the effort to listen, we hear people who think they need a grant but what they really need is marketing advice. They generally fall into one of two categories:
A those who want to get their product or service in front of the customer; and
B those who haven’t got their marketing funnel set up properly.
Yes, there are grants available for getting products and services to the market place but they generally support new technologies, wider markets including exports and prescribed product/service areas. Services will benefit the community with wide social impacts.
There is access to mentors for businesses in start-up or early stages of development. These mentor services are provided under government contracts to support businesses to plan and grow.
If you’re not eligible for a grant and faced with trying to get your product noticed in a busy marketplace, then what you need are strategies to reach and engage with your client avatar. What worked even five years ago, may not work today. It’s no wonder businesses are struggling to stay relevant and grow. There’s no miracle moment and success will not just happen. In order to succeed, businesses must invest, either in their own professional development or in the expertise of others.
Dig a bit deeper and a bigger problem comes to the surface – the marketing funnel. Have you got the right products/services at the right price to nurture your clients and upsell them to the next level? When people contact me, they haven’t thought about the nurturing process or how to up-sell to the next product or service.
With a recent client, we have been able to review their marketing by:
- Advising on the right way to get leads to sales from social media
- Reviewing the website to drive sales
- Increasing sales referrals
- Introducing a simple strategy to increase repeat business
We are currently working with the client for additional off-line promotion. This client is now very busy and profitable.
At times, the answer is staring you in your face, but it takes an outside perspective to focus and motivate you to work to strategies and goals, some of which were in front of you all the time.
The one-hour marketing audit
We work with businesses that are committed to making the changes necessary to generating income. If you want to grow your business and are prepared to make changes to do so, contact us now to find out about our one-hour marketing audit.
Contact us now at email@example.com or
+61 (03) 9005 5889.