Is it worth it to compete in small biz contests?

Over the past few years there’s been a substantial increase in small business contests hosted by large corporations in order to spur small biz growth throughout the country. Some of the prizes consist of cash giveaways, marketing makeovers, tutoring from experts, small gifts (like an iPad), and of course, the invaluable prize of exposure for your business.  Entry requirements usually prompts small businesses for a few tasks in order to win a contest ranging from supplying a full business profile, to creating a video about the business, or simply getting the most votes in social media.

So, is it worth it?

Well, that depends on who you ask. Most small companies are desperate for publicity and capital, which drives many of the entries. While winners are few and far between, the allure of big prizes and immediate exposure keeps contests full and business owners clamoring at the opportunity to piggyback on large corporations with marketing dollars to spend.
In some cases, small business owners reported that being forced to intimately define their business was the largest take-away and was a catalyst to thinking critically about their company’s goals and mission statement.

How do I choose a contest?

It’s important to be picky when choosing a contest to enter since some of the entry requirements can be time-consuming. Try to evaluate the risk in time and goodwill of clients compared to the benefit the contest gives, and then allocate resources accordingly. Steer clear of blind choice or any contest that has too many “random” elements to it and try and gravitate toward ones that will exponentially increase exposure and has cash or equipment prizes. Also, make sure the judging criteria are based on merit or business standing rather than popular votes and random drawings.

To summarize, if you’re a small business owner shop around for the contest that suits your field and available resources. All small biz contests must have a winner, no reason it can’t be your business. 

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