Colorado legislature has passed more than $228 million in funds allocated to several economic recovery programs throughout the state. Grant and business funding programs are continuously being updated on various resource websites as they become available. Our team at Upstate knows that keeping track of these funding opportunities can be time-consuming for our busy local business owners. After administering three rounds of the Weld County Business Recovery Program which aided nearly 400 small businesses, we have compiled the following list of our top 7 tips to help you navigate and apply for these new programs coming into fruition.
1. Understand your current financials and business structure.
Talk with your bookkeeper to ensure your year-over-year and month-to-month profit and loss statements are as current as possible and kept digitally. Digital records will make it quick and easy to pull any financial reports required by the application. If you own multiple businesses, you will also want to understand how you have them structured. Programs may provide financial assistance to a parent company rather than individual businesses held under a parent company.
Do yourself a favor and create a cheat sheet containing your business’s legal name(s), address(es), county, tax number, and primary contact information. Double-check you have a certificate of good standing with your secretary of state, and if you are applying for a local program, ensure your business license is current with your municipality.
2. Prepare required documents for your application.
Read the program guidelines thoroughly and make a list of any specific documents the application will require once you are ready to submit. The worst thing that can happen is having your application 90% complete and learning you still need one additional document. While many programs let you save your application so you can return to it later, there’s always a risk of losing your information and having to start the application all over. The most common documents needed will include financial statements, previously awarded grant and loan funds, proof of qualified expenses, documented plans for future use of funds, and a W2.
3. Know where to look.
With so many available programs, where do you look for up-to-date information? Here are a few links to the top recommended places with aggregated resources:
County and Local Municipality Programs
Your local municipality website
4. Track your application status and awards.
Consider creating a spreadsheet to track your applications and their status. You’ll want to do this for two reasons:
First, it can be easy to confuse which applications you have submitted, are waiting to hear back on, or didn’t qualify for in the first place. Having a tracking document will help you visualize your application statuses. If you have the option to save your application, it can be a good idea to track your application link (or save a copy) in case you need to make any corrections later. Don’t forget to check your email spam folder to ensure you’re not missing any communications from the program administration as well.
Second, you’ll want to be careful not to ‘double dip’ on funds. Some programs will require you to share which grants you’ve previously received, ensuring funds are not attributed to the same business expense twice through different programs. Keeping a record of the grant programs you were awarded funds for and their purpose will help you determine your qualifications. Don’t forget to keep proof of funding receipt to share in future applications. Example:
|Program Name||Application Website||Application Due Date||Submission Date||Funding Type||Funding Amount||Funding Awarded|
5. Confirm how you can spend your awarded business funding.
Some grants, loans, or funding programs may limit how you can use the funds provided. Ensure you track how your awarded funds can be allocated or spent. Make sure you are diligent about keeping records on funded spending in case of a surprise audit.
6. Reserve a portion of business funds for taxes.
Many grant funds will need to be reported as income when it comes time to pay the taxman. Ensure you save any appropriate documents to share with your CPA or tax preparer. Your CPA can also make recommendations on what percentage of awarded funding you should reserve to pay taxes.
7. Check back on business funding programs.
Many programs will open additional rounds if they have leftover money or obtain additional funds for distribution. Refer to your tracking spreadsheet monthly or quarterly to check on your programs and see if they have opened new funding opportunities.
Looking for grant and business funding programs you may qualify for? Check out our curated list of available programs at www.WeldRecovery.com/resources.
Questions on applying for grant and business funding programs? Our team is happy to help point you in the right direction, feel free to contact us today. Don’t forget to take a peek at our list of business funding programs Upstate administers as well.