Many clients in both the small business and nonprofit space view grant funding as a viable solution for maintaining funding, but this simply is not realistic. Here is why, including the difficulty of finding an appropriate opportunity, putting together a proposal, the uncertain nature of grant funding in general (there is no guarantee you will win an award if you apply), and the duration of time it takes to actually obtain the funds if you do win.
To select a winning applicant, there must be reviews, notifications, and paperwork completed to disperse the funds, Many grants take nearly a year to disperse funds to the winning applicant. If you have ever met with an investor, you have probably been counseled on the benefits of diversifying your portfolio for best results, and we recommend the same practice to all of our clients, including those in the small business or startup space. We first posted on this topic in 2015 (https://www.ebhoward.com/the-cure-all-for-your-funding-woes/). The topic is still relevant today.
This is not to say that grants are not a worthwhile goal for funding. If you find a fitting opportunity, all the better, but diversifying your funding portfolio can help ensure consistent funding.
Other methods of funding to focus on include angel investments, venture capital investments, loans, seed funding from accelerators and incubators, pitch competitions, and crowdfunding. Government contracts are also a great way to earn income. These differ from grants in that they are a procurement notice for a specific service or product (often one a company already provides or makes) and do not need to involve innovation or research. Often contracts will select multiple vendors, so the selection process is less competitive, and the immediate need for the service or products means funds are usually dispersed more quickly than a grant.