Applying for business support and funding is often thought to require some kind of secret language or password. In fact, it’s more like knowing the right ingredients to a good recipe – using guesswork doesn’t often work out and can produce the wrong result.
To help you along the way, Olwen Dawe has some advice to share. She is the director of Irish Business Intelligence, which provides strategy, communications and funding consulting to government agencies, private companies, arts and cultural organisations,
In this article, reveals six top tips to help you fill in applications correctly so you can get the business support and funding that you need for your company.
Business support and funding
Dealing with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups for many years as a mentor and adviser, I’ve come across many disenchanted individuals who’ve slaved over their business support or funding application (or not, as the case may be), only to be turned down.
For the poor souls who’ve pored over their plans and forms, it’s particularly disappointing. And quite often, it can be the simplest thing that caused the rejection.
From my own standpoint, and having noted the various elements that can cause an application to be rejected, I have come up with a few pointers that will help in the process of compiling a submission for business support and funding.
1. Be organised
Don’t think “I’ll do that next week”. Give yourself time to prepare and fully examine every aspect of the information you’re required to submit.
Read through the application details a few times to familiarise yourself with it and ensure understanding. You would be surprised by how many mistakes are made as a result of not reading an item or question correctly.
2. Stay focused and provide clarity
Make sure you don’t go off the point; being passionate about what you’re doing can sometimes derail the train in terms of sticking to what’s being asked of you. Remember those old exam questions from way-back-when?
3. Provide detail
Where detailed projections, forecasts, exit plans or other materials are required, ensure you provide them. Don’t consider they are not necessary. If you were asked for certain pieces of information, there will have been a reason for that.
4. The ‘four-eyes’ approach
It is well worth asking for a second pair of eyes (not literally, obviously) – an experienced colleague or friend preferably –to objectively provide you with feedback on your application. Also, when you finish the business support or funding application – read it over again.
5. Check and check again
Don’t assume that because you haven’t been asked for something, it’s not required – ensure you have a checklist of items/documents required for submission with the application. Many rejected applications are down to just one document or form not being completed.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask
If in doubt, don’t wait to find out. Ask if you’re not sure and make sure you listen carefully to any feedback that can help you improve your next application.