Like nearly every businessowner in America, Yummy Yammy applied to Chase and LivingSocial for their $3,000,000 grant pool. They are giving $250,000 to twelve small businesses this September, and for a small-scale entrepreneur like me, that prize is too tempting to resist. Typical for a (non-tech) start-up, we are cash-strapped, self-funded, almost-profitable, and looking to increase working capital so as to expand services to all the customers who don’t yet know how much more wonderful their lives will be once they try, and get addicted to, our product: in our case, delicious, fat-free, healthful dips made from roasted sweet potato.
Now, I’m old enough to know the score: there will only be twelve. In the whole country. So no matter what, our chances are what you’d call slim.
But I wanted to write a next-level business plan anyway, and since I’ve never had my hands on $250,000 at once, I thought it would be a great exercise in dreaming big. So I registered. And I started to think how we would use that kind of capital.
Surprise #1: I didn’t know.
It took at least 10 days before I could start to answer the questions, especially “How would you use $250,000 to build your business to be sustainable over the long-term?” I’d never thought that big before.
It was time to call in some help, so I turned to the best grant-writer I know: my husband. One night, he took what I had drafted and turned it into music. It started to feel possible to send in something I could feel good about.
Surprise #2: My husband really, really does feel very supportive of me and this business… you know, that business that costs us so much time and money to start, the one I work weekends and nights on.
We got it crafted to a point I felt pretty good about, and I submitted it a few days before the entry deadline. Now came the hard part: in order to have the application actually be considered, I had to drum up 250 votes from anyone with a Facebook account who would vote for me….