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Your Small Business Could Win Big for Sharing Your Vision

by Lisa Byrne on March 18, 2011

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Are you a small business owner? Have you perfected your pitch on what YOU would do with a .com or .net domain to promote your company on the web? Share your story with VeriSign, Inc. and you could be the lucky recipient of $25,000 to pursue that vision. Between now and May 31st VeriSign invites you to sell that pitch – and has offered the following guidelines to help you put it together:

Tip #1: Understand Your Audience

This is the first rule of business. It’s also one of the first steps in becoming a business. We suggest you follow it. Know who’s listening to your pitch and what their motivations are. Adjust your pitch—and perhaps yourself—accordingly, and emphasize the things that matter to you and them. A qualified panel of judges selected by Verisign, in its sole discretion, will judge all eligible Entries based on the following criteria:

  • Business Impact (40%)–the business impact of .com/.net on the growth of your business as projected in your Entry
  • Content and Presentation (30%)–originality, creativity, and clarity of the Entry
  • Relevance to .com and .net (30%)–the connection of the Entry to .com/.net and the potential for other businesses to be similarly impacted

Review the Official Rules for the detailed list of judging criteria.

Tip #2: Tell A Simple Story

Computers don’t evaluate pitches. People do. So help them relate to you and your idea. A brief story—emphasis on brief—about the inception of the idea is a great way to make a connection that’s memorable, meaningful, and hopefully financially beneficial if you win.

Tip #3: Sell Yourself

Your audience isn’t just picking an idea. They’re also picking the person/people behind it. They want to know what you’re bringing to the equation to make it a success. What is it about you and your ideas, experience, and skill set that make you the right person to take it from idea to success story?

Tip #4: Sell Your Idea

This is the crux of any pitch. Be clear about what your idea is, what needs it addresses, and what audience is going to want it. Now, go a step further and identify more hard evidence: audience size, demographic trends, growth projections, competitive landscape, and potential revenue boost. Show that you’ve done your homework and this idea could become your life’s work.

Tip #5: Close the Deal

This is as much about your delivery throughout the pitch as it is about your sales acumen at the end. Be confident, buttoned up, and prepared. If you’re delivering the pitch in person, practice it. If it’s written, proofread it. Your attention to detail throughout the pitch is an indication of what working with you will be like. It’ll help you seal the deal when you ask for it. And yes, you should ask for it.

To enter you must:

  • Be a small business (with fewer than 50 employees)
  • Have an uploadable photo of your company
  • Submit your pitch (video or written)
    • Video submissions must be no longer than two minutes or larger than 2 GB
    • Essay submissions must be between 100 and 300 wordsReview the Official Rules for the full list of entry requirements
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