-What exactly IS your idea? Seriously. Have a couple of friends read it and explain it back to you. You might be thinking of making an innovative umbrella while they think that you want to create a rain machine. There's a difference between WANTING to have an idea that makes sense for the sake of competing, and actually HAVING a well articulated idea that you believe is worth funding.
- Investors and judges don't just care about a great idea. They need to know why YOU are the person or persons to execute on it. What are your qualifications? Do you have connections in the industry? Why are you passionate about this?
-How is your idea different from all of the other ideas out there? What is the unique value that it provides, and how is your company positioned to do better than its peers in this area?
-How does your idea tie into greater global trends and trajectories? For instance, maybe your idea isn't the most innovative one in the contest, but it touches on a hot area like wearable tech, environmental sustainability, or (a personal favorite) emerging markets fintech. These are areas in which investors and stakeholders are actively seeking to invest, because there is so much evidenced growing potential.
-At the end of the day, entering a startup competition is like having a karate match. You can't just be in it for a medal or an investor. The only (almost) guaranteed gift is the feedback that you get and the overall learning experience. And this alone can be invaluable.
-Finally, to all of the entrepreneurs out there actively building your ideas into businesses, remember that just taking action on your ideas puts you in the game.
FREE OFFER (because I know you all love the color green...)
I really enjoyed judging these global startups, and I'm in a Thanksgiving kind of mood, dreaming about pecan pies and such. So to show appreciation for the opportunity to make a living supporting the work of multinational entrepreneurs, here's the deal for the rest of November: Send me your pitch and I will give you complimentary and specific feedback on how to improve it.
Can't wait to learn more about your ventures!