Lots of us think we have great ideas. But only the best of the best can walk away with an Alabama Launchpad win and a serious financial boost to their business. So do yourself a favor - get familiar with our competition. Look over the process, size up the expectations, fine tune your proposition (there are many helpful hints right here), then go for it. Only those who enter can win.
ADVICE TO ENTRANTS
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.
- Select your track carefully – You are asked to indicate what stage of company you are (seed v. concept). This is to ensure that you are compared against similar companies or entrants. Please review the FAQs to learn more about the differences between the two stages.
- 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. All applications will be reviewed by Alabama Launchpad staff and must meet all of the quality check standards listed on the evaluation criteria page.
- 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 resources page for guidance on building a business plan.
- 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 (see judging page). 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: