Topic: Networking/events/competitions part 3 (Business Pitch Competition)
Time moved slowly for me during graduate school; at times I was so overwhelmed with the fast pace school work that building my startup provided me with brief haven of happiness for my thoughts. During my development stage, I made many changes to my business model for the app to accommodate my budget and to add more practicality to the app functionality. I had to continue doing research, my developers and even random people were constantly testing my foundations for the app with a barrage of questions. In order to combat their contrasting theories I had to provide valid reasoning and evidence for my app models and design. While I wasn’t the one actually building the app, so I thought that I would have more free time. Contrary to that thought, I had even more work to do, many of the designs had to be redesigned and I needed to either add more details or change the overall thought process for each page, design, function, and even the logo. Needless to say my startup still needed work, in addition to the business; I had to build myself as an entrepreneur as well.
“A successful startup encompasses of a wise entrepreneur and a flourishing business”
In my previous articles I mentioned the benefits of staying engaged with the startup community. Lo and behold, here was a business pitch competition organized by my school every year. It was an excellent opportunity for me to practice my pitches, network and maybe make some money with a small cash prize. I found out about this annual event through the school website. To be honest, participating in public competitions that weren’t sports isn’t my style, however, I was eager to compete.
I literally registered on the last day possible, and then my idea was quickly selected as a candidate after the department reviewed all the ideas submitted. Preparing for the presentation was a rush for me, it’s hard to imagine all the possibilities and details in planning my pitch. The goal was to execute a two minute pitch to a room of people and three judges that would select the top 3 best pitches. I may have been tooting my horn a bit, but I thought I was a shoo-in due to my impeccable idea. All I needed to do was work on the delivery to ensure I explained it properly to the audience.
“Always look to improve your product or idea, it will never be fully perfect”
My time was spent making the best PowerPoint as possible; cramming everything about Colluide within a two minute presentation was weighty task. I felt there were too many details to consider such as the type of audience, competition or how strict they were with that time limit. The task was done the night before, by that time I knew my presentation line by line and was even more eager to get it over with.
The night finally came and I was sitting in the crowd trembling with excitement and anxiety to just spill out everything about Colluide. As my turn finally came to pass, I was glad it was over with, but yet felt disappointed with my presentation. This experience was really only for practice; it didn’t really matter to me if I won the $500 cash prize. The exposure, networking, and practice were the prime reasons for this venture.
Unfortunately, my rehearsed presentation did not go as planned, I did not say my exact lines and I felt rushed so my overall flow was not smooth. However, my idea was properly relayed through my power point, enthusiasm, and words in spades. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to make a top 3 spot on the list. My idea was without a doubt more innovative and profitable than any of the mediocre ideas that the others presented. Also, I had reached the furthest in the startup stage since I had already begun building the idea. I didn’t feel victimized by judges, they just weren’t that enthused by the idea. Interestingly, enough the crowd seemed to feel the opposite as they were highly captivated by my presentation. Imagine my shock when they didn’t call my name…
It took me a while to process everything, but I came out stronger than ever. Even if some random judges that happen to have a business don’t acknowledge your idea it does not mean that you don’t have the potential for being great. I took it as learning experience and that was my first step in looking to improve/ streamline my idea and pitch.
“If someone doesn’t like your idea, maybe you are explaining in wrong or they are just short sighted, give them the benefit of the doubt”
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