Torey Lee Brooks’ Amber Grant application for Granite Performance, her youth athlete coaching program, was strong in a lot of areas, but missed some information that would have made it a stronger contender.
The WomensNet advisory board went back through the application, line by line, to try and point out the strengths and weaknesses, in the hopes of helping Torey prepare a winning grant application for this and/or other grant programs.
Here is her application:
Tell us about your business
I grew up competing at a high level in Alpine ski racing. Though I loved the sport and competed internationally, there were a couple aspects I found very difficult to face.
The first, was the lack of women coaches in the sport- in my 14 years of competing, I believe I had 2 female coaches out of at least 40. This is especially shocking as there are an equal number of female and male competitors!
The second was the lack of affordable and local avenues available to athletes who did not have the financial background to travel great distances for “on-snow” training but who wanted to stay fit and prepare for the next season. I grew up in rural NH with a single mom who worked so hard to make sure she gave us everything we needed. With this said, my ski racing put a huge financial burden on her as she struggled to send me to expensive training camps across the country to allow me to reach my goals.
This is why I chose to start Granite Performance. Granite Performance is a program run by myself and 2 other female coaches to provide physical, mental, and nutritional coaching to athletes in the summer and fall off-seasons. We work hard to keep our programs affordable and accessible to local New Hampshire athletes including providing carpooling and payment plans as needed. We hope to act as mentors to all of our athletes and make sure that this sport is inclusive and that they can succeed no matter their financial background.
Tell us what you would do with the money if awarded a grant
This money would allow us to cover some of the legal and website costs (about $3000) of starting a business like our which requires release forms specific to children’s safety. It would also help us buy our own training equipment for our athletes to use and to start our own scholarship program which would grant athletes in need free sessions each year! We started this business in February and became and LLC this May. COVID-19 has made this stressful and we have been working hard to shift out programs to virtual as needed to keep our athletes safe. This grant would greatly help us stay afloat to see our program succeed!
To start, Torey did a really good job of explaining what the business is and identifying the problem for many young female athletes, especially in skiing – a lack of female coaches.
Granite Performance as a business is also well-defined and specific. Torey’s not trying to do too much, like serving young women nationwide, or expanding too quickly from Alpine skiing into other sports.
Finally, her planned use of any grant funds makes a lot of sense. Since the business is newer, investing in marketing and equipment early on can certainly help to attract clients.
Opportunities for improvement
One area where the committee struggled a bit was in understanding the size of the market for this type of coaching service. How large is the potential customer base, especially within a 25- or 50-mile radius of your location in New Hampshire? Is there a large enough market to support the business? Are there similar operations in other parts of the country you can point to as proof that you have a viable business model?
If you need more market research, you might try and partner with a ski association or local mountain to see if, working together, you can survey their membership or client base. Online survey software like Survey Monkey can be useful and easy to set up. Using a survey, you could ask skiers, or parents of skiers, about their interest in such a program, including how far they’d be willing to travel.
That market data could then help you prepare financial projections, breaking down your pricing model, projected revenue, and expenses, which were missing in your first application. It’s always hard to create financial documents without historical data, but you can make some assumptions based on market size or using a competitor in another state for comparison.
Proving that your business is viable is important for any kind of grant or award program, so the more detail you can offer in that regard, the better your results.
This was a good start and we hope that these ideas help you get a little more specific about the business and how you’ll make money.