Here are a few key points on how to succeed in the competition. Following these points will not guarantee success, but will help with your overall chances for success.
- Follow instructions – It is very important that you follow all application instructions including page limits, word limits and other guidelines. Given how many applications we receive, the first cut is always for those who do not follow instructions.
- Review the evaluation criteria – You should review the evaluation criteria for the competition and get to “good” on as many dimensions as possible.
- Define your customer clearly – Most businesses fail to launch because they don’t have a clear sense of who their customer is or what their customer wants. Get this right. We want to see that you have spent time defining your customer! In the application you will be asked to submit customer testimonials. These should be from actual or potential customers (i.e. people who will pay you). Please be as creative as you would like in how you present this information.
- Build a solid team that credibly can succeed – The second biggest reason why companies fail is because the team is not built to win. One of the main criteria judges use to evaluate applications is the quality of the team. Work hard to work well together. Listen to feedback and be flexible!
- Submit a high-quality business plan – Submitting a high quality business plan is the next step towards success. Your business plan should be succinct, clear, and logical. See the Shoals Regional Business Plan Guidelines for instructions and submission requirements. For additional guidance on building a business plan see our resources page.
- Submit a high-quality overview video – Submitting a high-quality video is another important step towards successfully advancing in the competition. Videos should be “content-rich” spending the majority of time actually articulating your business, demonstrating your product, and highlighting how your product solves your customer’s problems.
- Address the core areas you will be judged on – Judges are asked to evaluate each business on similar dimensions (who are the judges, click here). Addressing each of these will be critical for you to advance in the competition and ultimately win.
- Listen to feedback – Many teams fail to listen to feedback received. Demonstrating a willingness to adapt and listen to feedback from judges is critical to ultimately succeed.
Lastly, here are a few examples from recent winners.
Examples of good videos:
Here are a few success stories to highlight