Custom Fit Nominated for Small Business Awards
Custom Fit Online was honoured to reach the TOP 5 'Best Online Marketer' ranking for the 2013 Small Business BC Successful You Awards. The Awards involved a five-step process: nominations, getting votes to become a TOP 10 finalist, submitting an online presentation to become a TOP 5 finalist, then presenting an in-person pitch to a judging panel whereby judges scored the finalists to determine the winner.
It's All about Selling
The process was really all about selling ourselves. And here are some important points that we applied and learned from during this process.
1. Tell Your Story
People naturally relate to storytelling. We opted to tell our story during the in-person presentation, not just list a lot of facts about our success. Storytelling is fundamental in every culture. Everyone understands what a story is about.
When the story is relevant to the interests and needs of your audience, it's a very powerful and persuasive way to convey information.
2. Know Your Story Inside & Out
The 2013 Small Business BC "Successful You Awards" presentations at the Pan Pacific Vancouver
Do you really know your story well enough to put it across succinctly and effectively? We presented to a group of five high-profile judges in-person. And we were given 10 minutes to tell our story. Think about that for a second. Could you establish a rapport with your audience, explain your business, and convince them why they should buy from you in just 10 minutes? It might not seem daunting until you actually get in front of a group. Time flies.
If you don't have a well thought out, strategic, and engaging story that tells what you are, why you are in business, and how you are relevant to your customers in a short period of time you need to take a step back and do some navel gazing.
You need to have a firm grasp on the following:
- How are your products or services used? What stories might your customers tell? Build out scenarios and explore how these will effectively engage your prospects.
- Who are your customers? What characteristics do your customers have? Use real-life case studies to showcase customers as themselves that prospects can relate to.
- What emotions do people feel when they use your services or products? Do your customers feel safe, confident, relieved, excited, satisfied, relieved or proud? Capture these emotions in the stories you tell.
- What role do your services or products have in helping your customers succeed? How do they enable your customers to achieve success? Build your stories around the benefits of what you are selling.
Being able to tell your story in short order really helps solidify how you really understand your business. It's a great exercise in sorting out what's really important and relevant for your business. And when you know that, inside and out, you are in good place.
3. Be Prepared Way Before the Pitch
You never know when you need to present and promote your business. So be prepared with the basics. When you have a library of good quality photos, videos, and printed materials already available it's makes putting together an unexpected presentation much easier. We didn't have a supply of photos showing out team at work and this would have really been helpful to have 'in the can' before we started this process.
Leave this to the last minute and you are potentially adding unnecessary stress to what could be a small time-frame to build a critical presentation. The less stress you have, the more opportunity you have to build a creative and effective pitch.
4. Learn from the Results: Win or Loose
Custom Fit Online's Creative Director, Ben Groulx, with Founder & Managing Director, Roy McClean, at the 2013 Successful You Awards
Virtually everything in life can be a good teacher if you want it to be. We didn't win the "2013 Successful You Award" but we were told we were very close. The other nominees were also very good. We're competitive and we don't like to loose. But in business, as well as life, you are going to win sometimes and lose sometimes.
So we're doing a bit of a post-mortem of the event. What could we have done better? What did we do well? We're taking everything good out of this experience that we can, working on our story, and moving on. Plus there was an added bonus: we made some new friends along the way!
We're putting all of this to good use, and the next time we enter a competition for an award or some business we'll be even more well prepared.
As our close and personal friend Oprah Winfrey has said, "Luck is preparation meeting opportunity." We'll take that kind of luck.
That's our story, and we're sticking to it!
P.S. Our sincere congratulations to Ethical Deal, winner of the 2013 SYA in our category and the other TOP 5 nominees: The Edge Food Company, Top Dog Social Media, and Tweet4OK Social Media Services. And thanks to the judges in our category: Chris Formosa & Christopher Ordog - Small Business BC, Cybele Negris, Webnames.ca Inc., Mhairi Petrovic - Out-Smarts Marketing, Cameron Uganec - Hootsuite, and Guy Steeves - Constant Contact.
P.S. again So many of our friends, colleagues and clients have been very supportive of us during the "SYA process". We extend a big thanks to these partners too!