TIPS ON PREPARING YOUR ENTRY
Use everyday language: Avoid technical or industry jargon.
Get personal: Tell us a little about yourself and your management or proposed management team. What expertise does your team bring?
Give specifics: Clearly define what your product or service is. What is its value to the customer? What problem is it solving in the market? Explain what sets your product of service apart from the competition. What is its market opportunity for growth — is the business scalable? If you already have a prototype, done beta testing and/or have hit any other milestones, make that clear in the plan, too. It is OK if your idea exists only on paper.
Include financials: How much start-up capital will you need? What are potential sources of funding? We suggest including revenue and expense projections for at least three years. Many entries in years past would have been in the winners circle if they had included well-thought out financials. You can use your supplemental page for your financial section.
Don’t forget marketing: Who is your target market and how will you market your product or service? Tell us about your market research and marketing strategy.
Follow the rules: If you send more than a three-page plan with one supplemental page, your plan will be disqualified. Questions? E-mail ndahlberg@MiamiHerald.com.
Include contact information: A phone number and email address, please.
Get help: For tips on preparing entries and answers to commonly asked questions, visit:
http://www.MiamiHerald.com/Challenge. Read future issues of Business Monday, where we will cover such areas as financing and marketing. Check out the spring workshop series and low-cost “Entrepreneur’s How To” webinars hosted by FIU’s Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center at entrepreneurship.fiu.edu.
Lights, camera, action! Be prepared to do a brief video presentation if you are one of our top six finalists in the Community or FIU Tracks. We’ll take care of the filming. The videos will be posted on MiamiHerald.com and readers will vote on their favorites.