This grant blog addresses the following topics:
- Fries with that?
- The ultimate grant boss: the tax payer
- The million-dollar meeting
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1. Do fries come with that?
Have you ever had someone say something unhealthy to you that stuck?
It was a beautiful October day in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Gorgeous day. Leaves full of colour and the temperature was a perfect 13-14 degrees.
At the time I had decided to major in political science, specifically Canadian Politics.
Even people who loved me would say, “what kind of job are you going to get with that?” “What good is that degree?”
I tried to ignore them.
Until I walked out of the Millidgeville gas station and saw an old high-school acquaintance.
“Kincade, what are you up to,” he blurted out?
“I’m working on my degree in poli sci,” I said.
Then the jerk said something that stuck with me for too long:
“When you get that degree,” he asked quite seriously. “Do they ask if you want fries with that?”
When I had doubts if I was on the right track, I thought about it.
When I was concerned about what job I would get, I thought about that label.
Over the years my thoughts of that sticky phrase would come and go, but then something happened.
The Ultimate Grant Boss: Taxpayer
When I studied politics, I learned how government works.
Keep in mind that while I was studying “the fries degree,” most of my friends were studying business.
While they were learning that business wants a stable market to invest in, I was learning that politicians control everything: tax rates, education, financial regulations, healthcare, and grants.
They studied human resources, accounting, and finance.
I studied committees, legislation, and lobbying.
Two different worlds. One degree supposedly led to riches, jobs and abundance.
The other lead to happy meals and calories.
Or so I thought.
When I entered the corporate world in 2012, I was intimidated. I thought that “I have no value to bring here.”
All I could do well was read, write, and understand how government works.
At the time I was offering a bunch of services: government relations, media relations, fact sheets, and writing grants.
What I learned is that business after business had no clue how government worked. And they missed the most fundamental principal: THE TAX PAYER IS EVERYTHING.
Grants are tax payer money.
ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY TO DOLE OUT THE CASH TO BUSINESSES THAT ARE IN WHAT THEY DEEM AS THE PUBLIC INTEREST.
It’s that simple.
Politicians want to be seen as supporting the economy, so they give out grants to innovative businesses.
MILLION DOLLAR MEETING
Early in my business career, I came across a client that was struggling to get grant applications submitted.
They hired me to write their grants, and I began by asking them a few questions:
“Do you know your Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA)?”
“Do you know your minister?”
“Do you give to a local charity”
“Does anyone know about your corporate generosity?” And just a point of clarification here, I never recommend bragging. But it’s okay to get the word out there through local media about what you’re up to.
IT MATTERS BECAUSE THE TAX PAYER READS THE PAPER.
If the local folks think you are a nice company, they don’t mind politicians giving you money.
Do you think politicians think long and hard about which businesses they’ll make media announcements at? You bet they do. They go to huge lengths and cost to determine where they choose their photo-ops.
Do you think companies that give to the community are much more likely to win grants than companies who are obscure?
THE SECRET FORMULA
Once the tax payer likes and trusts you, you need to meet your MLA.
If you’re a cool company, most politicians would skip date night with their spouse to meet you. I’m not joking. I’ve worked in politics for years and saw the devastating impact public office can have on family life.
It’s sad but true.
Once your business story is cool and the politician “needs” to meet you, you’re in the power position. They come to you asking, “how can we partner?”
Do NOT go to them with your hand out. Stop that.
That’s how it works: with a focus on the tax payer.
But so many businesses get it wrong.
Some businesses need instant gratification and they don’t see the long-term grant picture.
Sad because the return can be enormous.
Clients that get what I’m teaching you become grant machines. They win year after year. Grant agencies love them.
Grant agencies seek them for “success stories.”
Businesses who understand that grants are tax payer money, and that are willing to delay gratification for a few months WIN. They even end up receiving calls from the grant agencies about new grants – EVEN BEFORE THE NEW GRANTS ARE ANNOUNCED.
If you want to be a business that can grow and prosper and win a pile of grants, implement what I’m sharing with you here. Trust me and my clients: it works!
I want to leave you on a happier note than when I started this article. If you’re dealing with a negative tape from something someone said to you, I learned something this past weekend.
I just got back from my Iron Sharpens Iron Mastermind Group outside Smithville, Tennessee: www.viewfromthetop.com. The event as usual was life-changing and enriching.
At the end of the first night, we were about to break for a bonfire. Just before we did, Big A (as well call him) handed out a small 4×6 blank card.
He then said we’re going to do an exercise.
Big A asked us to write down something that had owned us for too long. We all took a few minutes and wrote down on the card what that was. We then went to the fire and burned it.
On the evening of October 6, 2017 sixty-seven men let go of something owning them.
If something unhealthy has a hold on you, write it on a piece of paper and burn it. Let it go that day like we all did Friday night. You will feel great.