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#75074 - 06/24/05 05:53 PM Small Business Administration
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
I have to share because what they offer is phenominal and FREE! I've signed up for a series of classes at our local library for small business hopefuls, and/or owners. I was pleasantly surprised to sit through two hours of presentations from bankers, lawyers, insurance men, and members of the Small Business Resource Center. Their advice was invaluable. It was rather informal and very informative. We were allowed the opportunity to ask questions of any of the panelists. All were willing to share openly.

I learned that the Small Business Resource Center will help you write a personalized business plan for FREE. All you need to do is call and set up an appointment. They have all the resources needed to get you started and heading in the right direction. They stressed the advantage of using their contacts because they are all tried and true.

It was such a welcoming and inspirational environment. I can't wait to go to the next meeting.

Try www.sba.gov and find your local chapter. It's well worth it. I'm sure they have systems for freelance writers!

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#75075 - 06/24/05 06:40 PM Re: Small Business Administration
chickadee Offline
Member

Registered: 09/26/04
Posts: 3910
Loc: Alabama
quote:
Originally posted by Dotsie:


I learned that the Small Business Resource Center will help you write a personalized business plan for FREE.

Dotsie, I want to share something that I learned very early in life when I was doing business plans, grant writing etc.

In "many" circumstances, don't do it yourself, send it in and expect to get accepted. get a CONTACT PERSON to help you. Here's why. I would ask for help and be assigned a particular person/s. We would obviously form a relationship and I would keep in close contact. When a stack of business plans, grants, would cross this person's desk, it is only human nature that they recommend yours as one of their choices, after all they helped to hone it to acceptance level.

They take what I refer to as "joint ownership" of your project, plan, etc. It made perfect sense to me to always find MY contact person and do business thia way.

I was NEVER refused on any grant/business proposal in my eight year Economic Development field. Of course I was particular about what I felt was feasible, so the idea had to go through me first.

I have formed some lasting friendships which is also icing on the cake.

Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

I am sure Dian, Smiles and others can add their experiences to this post also.

chick

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#75076 - 07/09/05 07:16 AM Re: Small Business Administration
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Chick, thanks for this advice. I have a meeting coming up with a rep from the SBA. I can't wait. I'll keep what you said in mind.

My biggie...I love getting something for nothing. Their services cost nada, nothing, not one red cent. Isn't that great?

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#75077 - 07/08/05 08:26 PM Re: Small Business Administration
smilinize Offline
Member

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 3512
Loc: outer space
I agree with Chick. The one thing to remember though is that it is against the law to undly influence a government official to acquire a grant so you can't take them to lunch or dinner or take gifts.

And the actual grant decisions are made by impartial panels made up of individuals outside the office to which you are applying.

That said, however, here's what I learned while working in a grant making office in D.C.

First of all we had this incredibly ambiguous legislation that basically said, "Go forth and do good things." The wording of most actual laws is something like that.

Then we had these even more ambiguous regulations that basically said "good things" are... Hmmmm. Well, they're "good, excellent, fabulous, and fantastic." (I wrote some of those and was instructed to make them as ambiguous as possible)

Neither we nor the panels that made the decisions had a clue which grants actually were "good, excellent, fabulous and fantastic," but if a grant came in with those words in it and the applicant said the project was "good, excellent, fabulous and fantastic," the panel approved that grant and we sent them millions of dollars.
It was a lot like the old Groucho Marx program and "good, excellent, fabulous and fantastic," were the secret words. If you said the secret words, you won the million dollars.

So when I am applying for a grant, I too try to make a friend in the grant making office and I ask about the legislation and the regulations and while I'm talking to them, I make notes of any buzz words they use. Be sure to ask them what their grants are for and listen carefully to the buzz words are and write them down then use them in your proposal.

If you say the secret words, you may just win the million dollars.

Worked for me.
smile

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#75078 - 07/09/05 05:27 PM Re: Small Business Administration
Jersey Girl Offline
Member

Registered: 03/14/05
Posts: 247
Loc: New Jersey
SCORE is another good resource. It is a mentor program.

http://www.score.org/

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#75079 - 07/09/05 06:32 PM Re: Small Business Administration
chickadee Offline
Member

Registered: 09/26/04
Posts: 3910
Loc: Alabama
That reminds me, Smile is right about buzz words.
Too often, people came to me with ideas of what "they" wanted. If it didn't fit the criteria, it is an absolute waste of time. Hard to convince people of this, too. The better way is to see what funds are being offered and why. If you work your grant proposal around the criteria, it is much better.

Good Luck to anyone writing one. Anything I can do to help, just let me know.

chick

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#75080 - 07/10/05 08:08 PM Re: Small Business Administration
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
smile, I love your reminder of saying the secret word and winning the million dollars. I am forever reading verses from the Bible about my words. I never thought of that saying from this perspective before. It works. What we say is so important in how we are treated by others.

Jersey, I called them last week and received their packet of information inthe mail this week. I still have to go through it with a fine tooth comb.

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#75081 - 07/11/05 07:20 AM Re: Small Business Administration
Thistle Cove Farm Offline
Member

Registered: 01/01/04
Posts: 678
Loc: Tazewell County, VA, USA
I'm glad ya'll's experience has been good; mine hasn't. Early days, I went to the local Small Biz Dev Ctr reps asked for help, told them what I wanted to do with the farm and was told, "gosh, it sounds like you know what you're doing. Good luck."

That was ten years ago and I haven't been back. Although, earlier this week, I sent an e-mail asking them about writing hard copy promo materials. I received a response that said, "blah, blah, blah...Microsoft Office is a good program..." Ummmm....nice answer but it's not the right answer.

My perspective is a bit jaded right now.

Perhaps I should bypass the SBDC and go straight to the SBA....?

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#75082 - 07/12/05 12:04 AM Re: Small Business Administration
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
I'll let you know how my meeting goes later this week.

I'd say try the SBA!

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#75083 - 07/18/05 11:53 PM Re: Small Business Administration
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
FYI: the meeting went very well. The gal I met with was extremely resourceful. SBA's research center is stationed in another state(Can't remember which one) and they are going to do hours of research for me for FREE. The gal I met with also gave me some good ideas I need to act on.

I'm getting closer to letting all of you know where the Lord is leading me with BWS. I appreciate prayers until I let the cat out of the bag. Thanks so much.

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