Success—it is a dream reached for by every small business owner.
Yet it is a dream rarely realized:
Fewer than 80% of small businesses in the U.S. survive their first year, and at five years, the survival rate drops below 50%.
The question is—why? It’s certainly not for a lack of sweat, enthusiasm, gumption, and grit…
We believe there are three keys to small business success:
We are reaching out to you, the creative problem solving community to help us develop an innovative set of tools that will help small business owners more readily achieve the success they so desperately seek by mastering these three keys.
Small business owners are the engines moving economies forward. Nurturing these entrepreneurs and their businesses brings significant returns to local and regional financial markets.
…Yet they rarely get the support they deserve.
“Do-It-Yourself business owners” truly do anything and everything imaginable to inch their businesses towards success. Even though motivation is high, there are too many demands to be met each day - It’s no wonder DIY business owners often struggle.
In order to ensure these economic lynchpins not only survive, but thrive, it’s critical to provide small business owners with the tools necessary to grow their businesses, manage day-to-day responsibilities, build better partnerships, and properly lead their employees.
This is where you come in!
DIY business owners can benefit greatly from the development of tools tailored specifically for them—tools that don’t ask them to “read the book” or “attend the seminar.”
They need practical (and applicable) insight into strategic thinking, leadership, and projection of the optimism they have within.
We are reaching out to you, the problem solving community, to create a series of tools that will help DIY entrepreneurs form viable strategies for their businesses, lead their employees to success, and create winning cultures within their companies.
You can submit an entry for one, two, or all three success categories:
If you’re ready to help the VITALLY IMPORTANT yet underserved market of DIY business owners, read the full challenge guidelines!
We are reaching out to you, the problem solver community to develop a unique new set of tools that will engage, appeal to, and be coveted by a community that usually does not receive guidance and development assistance—the ‘DIY business owner.’
Each tool is a simple module. Related modules are grouped into three categories geared for the DIY business owner. Business owners will be able to use any single module or any category of modules. The overall program is meant to level the playing field, and enable hard working individuals to realize their full potential. These will not be your typical boilerplate business resources. The modules developed for DIY business owner-specific needs will:
The modules focus around Strategy for the Business, Leading People to Success, and Creating a Winning Culture:
Success category: STRATEGY
Module 1: Planning to Create Competitive Advantage
Module 2: Branding Your Vision and Your Business
Module 3: Selling to Generate New Customers
Success category: LEADERSHIP
Module 4: Resilience and Conquering New Territory
Module 5: Building Your Team and Key Partnerships
Module 6: Commanding Presence
Success category: CULTURE
Module 7: Creating Great Company Culture
Module 8: The Value of Simplicity
Module 9: Work-Life Balance and Stress Management
In addition to three prizes for developing modules for the program, all entrants are eligible for a “Kicker” prize. Entrants will be developing three separate modules within a category, and the kicker prize rewards thoughtful effort put into developing a unified suite of modules, rather than submitting three modules that each have a different style, tone, and voice.
Four prizes will be awarded:
|STRATEGY category prize||$7,000|
|LEADERSHIP category prize||$7,000|
|CULTURE category prize||$7,000|
|“Kicker” bonus prize||$4,000|
The final program may incorporate the materials produced from the competition under a sale or license agreement.
The competition is your canvas! The goal is to provide a toolbox of topics across 9 modules; entrants have the freedom to convey the content of each module in what they see is the best possible way for the DIY business owner. Entrants are encouraged to leverage their skills, expertise, and knowledge in any module category.
You may submit written material, photos, drawings, charts or graphs, animation, infographics, video, and/or other digital media. The form of submission can include (but is not limited to) written text or text outlines of the material, narratives, how-to guides, supporting materials for review of the module/planning/follow-up supplements, interactive exercises, links to examples supporting the content, or other format.
You may submit an entry to one or more categories. A submission must contain content for each of the three modules within the category (Strategy, Leadership or Culture). For example, an entry in the Leadership category must include content for three modules in the submission: module #4, module #5, and module #6. Only complete entries will qualify for prize awards.
There is no limit to the length of content for each module, however, note that judging criteria will award points for conciseness. In addition, there is no guarantee that judges will review material over the suggested limit. Suggested limits:
Plagiarism is an unfortunate problem in a society with highly accessible information. Entrants are encouraged to use the following to formulate the words and ideas in their submissions:
Entrants may adopt or use previously developed material if they were the original authors or creators (i.e. the entrant already holds or is entitled to hold the copyright). If an entrant is influenced by, or draws upon existing information, it is required that the entrant provide the complete source of the information including electronic links. When an entrant adopts the style, creative technique, or specific form of expression from another person’s work, it is required that the entrant discloses this in the submission.
Drawing upon existing ideas or information available in the public domain will not necessarily result in disqualification. However, entries cannot be materially plagiarized, cannot infringe upon copyright laws, or otherwise be similar enough to source material without the copyright holder’s explicit permission. The burden of proof for copyright compliance will be on the entrant.
Entrants drawing on multiple existing sources hold the responsibility for ensuring that their resulting submission, as a whole, is different and unique enough from the source material to constitute a new, independent body of information. This applies to the style and format of information as well. Entrants must make the expression and presentation of their information different and unique enough to become their own work.
The judging panel will be looking for creative, clever, or innovative ways to catch and hold the attention of the DIY business owner -- long enough to light or re-ignite a spark within themselves, in their perspective, or in their business activities. The overriding goal that the entries will be judged on is relevance and appeal of the presentation to the DIY business owner.
Judging for each module will be based on:
50% of score: Content
The ability of the submission to:
50% of score: Engagement
The ability of the submission to:
The kicker prize will be judged based on the consistency across the submission for three modules. Weight will be given for the ability of each individual module to contribute to the category as a whole, so that there is a strong theme for the overall category. The kicker prize rewards thoughtful effort put into developing a unified suite of modules, rather than submitting three modules that each have their own different style, tone, and voice.
Ties will be judged based on the visual appeal of the content submitted. Today we live in a world that is alive with imagery-graphics-video-multimedia. This attention-getting appeal can be leveraged for what has traditionally been a laborious topic to read or learn about. This tiebreaker provides an incentive for entrants to use creativity to meet the needs of the DIY business owner audience.
Participation Eligibility: The Challenge is open to all individuals, private teams, public teams, and collegiate teams. Teams may originate from any country. Submissions must be made in English. All prize-related communication will be in English.
No specific qualifications or expertise in working with small businesses, business planning/finance/structure, educational development, curriculum development, or leadership development is required. Prize organizers encourage outside individuals and non-expert teams to compete and propose new solutions. To give new and innovative ideas due consideration, the judging panel may include individuals who are not subject matter experts in business, education, or professional development.
To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the Challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.
Registration and Submissions:
Submissions must be made online (only), via upload to the HeroX.com website, on or before dates noted on the timeline. All uploads must be in PDF format. No late submissions will be accepted.
Selection of Winners:
Based on the winning criteria, 4 total prizes will be awarded per the Judging Criteria section above. A qualified Judging Panel will determine winners.
The determination of the winners will be made by a group of people including thought leaders, influencers, and people with unique insight for small business owners. Judges will have expertise in small business mentoring/coaching, business planning, evaluating or determining financing for small businesses, small business education or curriculum, graphic/industrial design, video content creation, or user experience.
As importantly, the Judging Panel may also include Judges who have expertise in potential technology/innovation or psychology/empowerment enablers but who have no background or experience related to small business. The intent of including these individuals is to proliferate approaches that are available but not necessarily adopted or leveraged by ordinary users -- both of which will move the field forward.