Excuse Me 8-18
Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dear Readers,

October starts the beginning of Small Business Month.  On Monday, October 5, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the height of the lunch hour rush, I will be working (volunteering) at Steve’s Sandwich Shop inside the C.A.T.A. bus station dowtown. I am again elated that the Greater Lansing Labor Council chose to endorse my candidacy for City Council At Large.

It is important that people know I am innovative and ready to get in the trenches to help out my fellow small business owners in Lansing.  There is enough to go around if we help each other survive in these hard economic times, I believe that we will be a better community for it.  I truly believe too that it is all about providing great customer service.  This is also to show those who are laid off that there are volunteer opportunities that are available. 

There are many new opportunities that may be presented to you to  volunteer.  You may want to build your own home and you might consider volunteering for a company that either builds homes or sells them. 

If you cannot find a job, acquire a skill that may take you a bit further.  Volunteering will also give you the opportunity to explore new fields of interest without having the “resume” qualifications.  Your volunteer experience may make up for that at some point in time.

Small businesses seem to be dwindling along with our personal finances.  Closing a business that you built from the ground up is a harsh reality for many.   Individuals can help jump start the economy and provide assistance.  

Those who are surviving are employing new methods of marketing and obtaining creative financing as banks begin to shut the door on small business financing across the nation. 

With a need for financing, “scam artists” will be coming out of the woodworks.  We need to protect ourselves from them. Grants or offers of “free government money” should be considered with extreme caution. 

Please note that an “idea” is not good enough for a grant most of the time.  There are many key factors that are considered for grantees and strict rules that apply.  If you want to expand your business, I suggest that you save your money and buy a larger place.  A grant will not give you money to just expand your business. 

If you log on to www.grants.gov  and browse by “Business and  Commerce” and then clicked on “Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP) ( new Solicitation for Tribal Organizations or Economic Enterprises only)” you will find “Additional Information on Eligibility” which is in the paragraph below.  I will suggest that you skip over it because it is not something that the every day business person will understand.  But I have printed it below just so you know what a grant seeker is confronted with.

“The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) executes the Department of Defense (DoD) Procurement Technical Assistance Program by awarding cost sharing cooperative agreements to assist states, local governments, private nonprofit organizations, tribal organizations and economic enterprises in establishing or maintaining procurement technical assistance centers (PTACs) pursuant to Chapter 142 of title 10, United States Code. The Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009 (P.L. 110-329) provided funds for the continuance of the program in FY 2009, requiring DoD to make available not less than $3.6 million for applicants that meet the definition of 10 U.S.C §2411 (1) (D).  ” 

As a normal everyday person, if you understood what what stated above then you deserve the grant. 

I have been questioned four times in the past week about “free money”.  Even with grants, those who are lucky enough to get them, the grantee will want to see a measurable outcome. For example, if I give you a grant for $1,000.00 for after school programming, as the grant giver, I may expect to see test scores of students before the tutoring and after the tutoring to see if the grade level of the student rose.

While searching diligently, I have not found one grant specifically to expand a business just because the business owner wanted to.  Sorry but free money does not exist.  If it does it is your money that will be “free” to those selling you a product.  WORK HARD AND RAISE YOUR OWN MONEY.  Having good credit and a growing business is very helpful to any successful business.

It is amazing how many scammers are out there who believe that because they have an idea or a skill that you should be able to support their “habit”.  No, breathe and be smart about it.  Be very smart.


Rina Risper

Remember to vote on Tuesday, November 3.


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