Nothing great in the world was accomplished without passion. ~Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
What does that mean? It means I have a shot, granted a very slim chance, at winning one of twenty prizes awarded. It’s true, I’m a small town Latrobe start-up company in our second year, and there were roughly 35,000 participants in the 2013 contest, so the odds are not in my favor (a little Hunger Games reference). I get it, but I also know someone, 20 small businesses to be exact, will win. Why not try?
Before I forget and get wrapped up in the details of this contest, please vote. If you voted, thank you so very much! There is only one vote per person permitted and currently as of now, I only need 39 more votes to go in 10 days.
Now onto the details of this contest.
The big prize or the crème de la crème is winning the $150,000 grant (naturally I’ll have to pay all local, state and federal taxes). In addition to the prerequisites to entering the contest, such as the number of employees, the minimum of two years in business and such, I had to complete essay questions. I met the strict criteria with flying colors, the easy part, but the questionnaire took some time to work out. There were several sets of questions to answer including outlining the details to how the money will be used if won. A great way to force me to think wisely with respect to spending, on a micro and macro level, with or without winning. Thinking this way will only help Thrill of the Hunt in the long run.
How would I use the money? Since there are two sides to Thrill of the Hunt, the public, which are our own hosted scavenger hunt events; and the private, which include business functions, team building activities, fundraisers and parties, I addressed them both, for they work in tandem.
The money will help Thrill of the Hunt expand our public events into other cities and states. It will also give me the resources to truly promote our events AS AN EVENT! With every public scavenger hunt and new city we participate in, Thrill of the Hunt meets new contacts and promotes our services as a scavenger hunt adventure for private functions! These public and private scavenger hunts give me the marketing power to promote Thrill of the Hunt with the use of Google keywords, increasing our SEO within each hosted area. See how both sides of the house play off of each other and yet, are mutually independent? That was not by chance but by my design.
Then, there’s the trip to Google headquarters to attend a seminar with small business experts. Having the opportunity to tour Google alone would be amazing, not to mention speaking with these experts and making contacts, again spreading the word on Thrill of the Hunt.
As part of the benefit package, the winners will also receive a Google Chromebook laptop and a $2,000 coupon toward one market research study with Google Consumer Surveys. All good for taking my company to the next level.
I’ve done other contests in the past and lost, but going through this process is good for me personally and the company.
Last year I participated in the Intuit Big Game Small Business Contest. Why do I take the time to do so when my time is so limited? I enter these very hard to win contests for several reasons.
First and foremost for the opportunity to win. They each have a very enticing draw, which will benefit Thrill of the Hunt tremendously if awarded. Again, I’m not so blind to realize the odds, but like I said, someone has to win. I feel if I don’t try, I am doing my company an injustice and a missed opportunity.
Plus, completing the application is a great process to go through. It helps to reevaluate the direction of the company and truly get to the heart and soul of the business. I mean that. These contests ask the tough questions or ones not even considered. Like what?
Besides the typical short and long-term goals and competition, they ask ‘Why did you start the business?’, ‘What will winning mean to your company?’, “What made you want to be an entrepreneur?’, and ‘How does your company help the community?’. Writing up the essay questions is a great way to evaluate yourself as a business owner and the company. It also helps to really narrow your focus or confirm your business model. Not to mention, the more that is written about your company, the better your copy sounds and is refined.
It also recharges your battery and builds excitement, reiterates why the company was started in the first place. Keeping the passion up and going can be a challenge too. Every little bit of encouragement helps.
Did I mention with these essay questions they are usually limited to about 1,000 to 1,500 characters? Not words, but characters including the spaces. Yikes, that’s right! That in itself is very difficult and challenging, but it forces a person to really eliminate all the unwanted bull and the unnecessary words to capture the true essence of the company. Like I said a great practice to go through.
Another big factor with these contests is the marketing aspect. Yes, the national promotion of being associated with a big name, and naturally the prestige of winning under said name is a bonus, but also the indirect publicity with friends and family. This helps to spread the word on the company to those who might not know you are in business for yourself, or may not know exactly what it is you do. Those people who we take for granted and are often times overlooked are monumental to a company! These contests force a person to reach out to EVERYONE, especially when it comes to the voting process, which they all seem to share. It’s a great way to introduce a company on a very personal level without commitment. It’s also a great excuse to continue promoting the company to those who are very aware of the business and to maintain top of mind awareness.
With these contests, they usually give marketing options and templates to use or store for future efforts. Again, going through the activity of writing a press release or scripting and shooting a video to distribute, moves everyone out of their comfort zone and into the real world of marketing, another avenue to promote the company.
Believe it or not, all this activity and project development does take time but helps to get your thoughts together to really understand your own company. That was always a big fear of mine, not having a clear defined message. Working in an ad agency with an eclectic assortment of industries and companies, I’ve seen the opposite. Believe it or not, I’m not talking about small companies but established businesses with major resources. I’ve seen them fall short on the focus of their company or have yet to find their true niche. Scary.
To anyone who has a start-up company, or is thinking of doing so, or is already up and running, take the time to invest in these contests. No I’m not being paid to promote them, and yes, they are long shots, but with experience comes understanding and knowledge. More importantly, theses exercises will get you thinking differently and out of your comfort zone. Plus, someone has to win!
Good luck Thrill of the Hunt! Remember, everyone needs to … Experience the Game!
Thank you to everyone who has helped me out with Thrill of the Hunt in one way or another over the years. Your involvement has been appreciated and needed! Most are friends and family who want to see my company succeed, but some are strangers who see potential in my business. To everyone who voted, spread the word, sent me leads, gave advice and direction or just gave me words of encouragement, I want to send a very sincere Thank You! I wouldn’t have made it this far without everyone’s help.
For more information on Thrill of the Hunt, visit our website at www.ThrillScavengerHunt.com or email us at Game@ThrillScavengerHunt.com.