Again in late 2011, I acquired the chance to pitch Mark Cuban. I used to be only a pupil on the time, at Howard College, and cofounder of an organization — now not existent — referred to as My Faculty Hustle, a bartering platform for faculty college students.
Hoping to seize a $25,000 prize, my enterprise companion Edward Lyles and I participated in a Shark Tank-style competitors, in New York, that truly predated the TV present (I assume the competitors’s organizers have been on to one thing).
And whereas my staff didn’t win the highest prize, we did get to fulfill Cuban — the results of making it to the semi-finals of a faculty business-plan competitors sponsored by MTV.
That’s the purpose I need to make: Should you by no means considered business-plan competitions as a supply of funding for your online business, suppose once more. These competitions can afford you a number of distinctive alternatives.
3 the reason why it’s best to begin competing at present
- You’ll be able to win startup capital and publicity.
- It’s a terrific networking alternative.
- Winnings are normally awarded with none lack of enterprise fairness.
Now, right here is the data you might want to get began.
1. How do you discover competitions?
Take a look at websites like StudentCompetitions.com. You may as well search on Google utilizing a variation of key phrases resembling “pitch competitions,” “Bplan competitions,” “Faculty entrepreneur competitions” and “Problem competitions.” Combine and match key phrases to drag up completely different outcomes.
Not a school pupil? No worries; there are different competitions for you, too. Attempt looking company-based key phrases, like “Dell pitch competitors,” “Microsoft pitch competitors,” and so forth. Kind in any random tech firm you’ll be able to consider, and pair it with the phrase “competitors” and see what comes up.
Generally, tech corporations run competitions to advertise and encourage innovation. There are tons of those competitions occurring all year long, so maintain your eyes peeled, and at all times be looking out.
2. What likelihood do you will have of successful?
I do know what you’re considering: There are tons of individuals making use of; what likelihood do I’ve of successful? But it surely may shock you that most individuals aren’t keen to place within the work and that loads fewer individuals apply than you may count on. Additionally, keep in mind that you just don’t must win each competitors.
One “sure” could make an enormous distinction in your online business. Throughout faculty, I received over $20,000 simply from competing in 5 marketing strategy competitions.
The necessary factor is that, when you’re a younger entrepreneur, it’s essential you benefit from each alternative it’s important to community. And these competitions are an effective way to try this.
I stress this as a result of I competed in a contest a number of years in the past, and ended up successful second place. I then stored in contact with the winners, and some years later, once I reapplied, guess who the choose was? The man who had overwhelmed me within the competitors a number of years earlier than! I had no concept that was going to occur, and it was comforting to know we had somebody in our nook from the beginning.
3. Whom do you might want to know?
That story brings me to my subsequent level: networking. Crucial individuals you might want to meet are the judges. After the competitors, go and speak to them and get their contact data. Study extra about them; they’re judges for a motive, proper? These might be potential buyers or mentors. Community!
4. How do you prepare for this?
As a finalist for a earlier competitors, I used to be assigned a private coach in my metropolis and obtained free coaching up till presentation day. So, make sure you take part in any pre-competition actions provided, as a result of the occasions’ organizers typically have non-obligatory coaching classes or on-line seminars to higher put together you.
Talking of coaching, keep in mind that competitions are an effective way to follow public talking abilities. You’ll at all times have a chance to be in entrance of a crowd. If you’re not presenting, and there’s down time, you’re continuously speaking and assembly individuals, which forces you to condense your concept right into a 30 second elevator pitch. You study to talk extra confidently and concisely.
5. How do you write your marketing strategy?
Drafting an in depth marketing strategy is important. An government abstract could also be required for just some competitions, but it surely’s finest to simply chew the bullet and write a full plan. Your plan must be prepared, so you’ll be able to constantly apply for the assorted contests.
Have some traction in your concept; earlier than the judges make investments, they should see validation. How are you aware you’re fixing an actual drawback?
My secret to crafting an excellent marketing strategy is straightforward: Be artistic! Make it stand out; maybe do an interactive marketing strategy, the place the judges can scan a QR code and be taken to a stay demo or video of your product. Get particular; clarify intimately how you intend to realize sure benchmarks.
Oh, and assembly Mark Cuban? He was extraordinarily pleasant and gave us motivational recommendation about pursuing our enterprise. It was a terrific expertise.