When it comes to securing federal funding for your small business, having the right connections can make all the difference. Crafting a strong proposal is essential. However, it’s also important to remember that there are human beings on the other side of the review process. Building relationships with these individuals can increase your chances of success. Connections to reviewers can provide valuable insights into what the funding agency is looking for.
How to network
One way to do this is by tapping into your existing network. Take some time to do a little detective work and find out if anyone in your professional or personal circles has sat as a reviewer for the funder or works at the agency. If so, reach out to them and see if they would be willing to chat with you about the process.
When you do connect with someone who has inside knowledge, be sure to approach the conversation with empathy and gratitude. Remember that these individuals are taking time out of their busy schedules to help you, so it’s important to show your appreciation. Ask thoughtful questions and listen closely to their answers. Take notes and use the information they provide to inform your proposal.
As you continue to build relationships, keep in mind that this is a two-way street. While you are looking for guidance and support, you also have something to offer in return. If you have expertise in a particular area that could be helpful to the funding agency, be sure to highlight that. By demonstrating your value as a collaborator, you can further strengthen the relationship and increase your chances of success.
Another key takeaway is to stay organized throughout the process. Keep track of all the individuals you connect with, along with any notes or insights they provide. This will help you stay on top of your networking efforts and ensure that you are making the most of your connections.
Securing federal funding for your small business can be a challenging process, but it’s not impossible. By tapping into your network and building relationships with individuals who have inside knowledge of the funding agency, you can increase your chances of success and gain valuable insights into what the agency is looking for. Remember to approach these conversations with empathy, gratitude, and a growth mindset, and stay organized throughout the process. With persistence and hard work, you can position yourself for success and secure the funding you need to take your business to the next level.
We work with high-growth startups and organizations that support the startup and innovation ecosystem. We build highly specific non-dilutive funding menus, provide proposal preparation services, and measure outcomes of funding through evaluation. Schedule a consult call with us HERE.