In the Trenches: Going for Grants


Having built Cranky Concierge from scratch, without any external funding, it didn’t dawn on me until recently that I should look beyond my own pocketbook to finance the business’s growth.

I still have no interest in seeking venture capital, because I don’t want to give up the type of control that that inevitably entails. But, of course, I do dream about the larger projects I could pursue if the business had a bunch of cash.

Last week, one of my employees came to me with the idea of applying for a grant. I always think of grants as being primarily for nonprofit groups or strugging startups. But the Chase Mission Main Street Grants offer a dozen small, for-profit businesses a chance to receive $250,000 each.

The website’s wording makes it seem as if the program primarily targets bricks-and-mortar operations, but nothing in the rules prohibits us from entering the competition. So, we filled out an application, and now we have until Nov. 15 to get 250 votes in order to become a finalist. (You can vote for contenders on the website. If you choose to vote for Cranky Concierge, I’ll deeply appreciate it!)

With this kind of money, we could revamp our website to improve its flow and payment-processing system. We could get a new phone system that would be more efficient at routing calls (in our business, speed of interaction is everything). We could also develop more automation to support our concierges and create new consumer-facing tools that would improve the Cranky Concierge experience for everyone.

When I start thinking about having $250,000 to invest in the business, my mind reels. We could help a lot more people. I’m getting excited about the possibilities!