Opportunities to grow can be found in various places. Expanding and taking on the online business world is a great adventure, but taking part in contests like The Next Web Startup Awards can be a great way to let others hear about you! The more people hear about your business, and get to know what you do and how you do it, the greater the chance that your success story really will be a success story. Here are 5 tips to tackling the Startup awards world:
Step one – Check out the opportunities
Apply for a startup contest such as The Next Web Startup Awards, for instance the European edition. There are plenty of startup contests! Such as Startup Weekends, Startup Sprint, or Startup Pirates. You can even find awards that are organized online such as The Europas, The Next Web Startup Awards. Find one (or more) that fits your business profile, apply, and… wait for the results? Well, not exactly…
Step two – Give your luck a chance
In many startup contests, the jury chooses finalists from hundreds of applications but then the audience (live or via the internet) give their input and vote. In order to win you have to get your clients, business partners, team, and community involved. Ask for help and convince them to vote for you. It’s worth the work not only because you have chance to win but it’s also a great reason to remind them about your product. It shows that your business is proactive, with an ambitious offer, the best product out there, and that you are not afraid to be evaluated by others. If everything goes according to plan. you will win over their hearts and even win an award!
Step three – Go and evangelize
When you win a startup competition, you usually have a chance to present your business solutions to a wider audience, so go for it. Once you’re at a fair or conference – exhibit, present, and built your network. Talk to everyone, not only potential clients or business partners, but also the mentors, jurors, competitors and … journalists! Seeing how your potential users and clients react, is a great opportunity to for real feedback to improve your product. Maybe some media or blogger will be inspired to write about you or do an interview. You might get a chance to pitch in another startup contest, or get an opportunity to speak on stage.
Step four – Enchant the public
For example you get a wildcard and pitch at Microsoft Bizspark Startup Rally, and you have only 5 minutes to do so. You should always be ready to shortly describe your business, present its benefits, explain with ease why it’s different than others, and why someone should use your services. Speak briefly, be funny, enchant the public and… become a finalist. Then you can get a chance to speak again on the main stage, for instance just before Timothy Ferriss! And that’s a real treat :)
Step five – The most promising startups
Lots of work has been done, but it comes with a great prize at the end! You can use the winner-badge (or medal, if you will) and place it on your website, landing page, social media etc. Most likely the media and blogs will write about your business. In the next edition of the startup contest you’ll be mentioned as one of the most promising startups of the previous edition. It’s like winning twice :)
Is it easy? Definitely not. And I can’t guarantee you a sure win. But is it worth trying? Well, you don’t try you’ll never know, and you will certainly never win.