Last year at this time, I had just put in my application for a local 'Shark Tank' like contest called Made in Fred VA. A contest where you pitch your idea to local entrepreneurs for a chance to win $10,000. An opportunity to get my name and idea for the Burg Box (now Love Virginia Gift Boxes) out there to those who had never heard of it. Thanks to my amazing readers and followers, my (really awkward, self-made) video made it into the Final Four round of the contest where I got to pitch my idea in person.
It's quite the process, filling out the application, but I learned SO MUCH about myself, my business, and my future.
The application process and the presentation preparation asked me the hard questions. I had to think about where I wanted to see the business grow, did I want to stay in Fredericksburg or expand? What did it do for the community? How did it support others? Did I want to do 50 boxes or 500 boxes? What was my overhead? Was I factoring everything I needed to into the cost of a box? It's crazy how many little details go into one idea.
I may not have won the $10,000, although I did win the People's Choice award of $500 thanks to my amazing supporters who came out that night.
Not to mention, I learned so much about my business, got amazing feedback from outsiders perspectives, and it got my name out there to people who wouldn't have seen it otherwise. Once I made the final four, there was an article in the paper, it was online, it was shared by the local Chamber of Commerce, etc. People learned more about the Burg Box from the contest, than any organic Social Media I could've done.
Because of this, Made in Fred VA opened so many doors for me. The contest is run by a group called the Next Generation of Business Leaders, a part of the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce geared for professionals under the age of 40. I got to meet some amazing, young leaders from the group because of the contest, and I am now not only a member but also a board member of the group and get to make a difference in the community. It's also been great meeting people outside of my normal creative industry.
This year, I get to be on the other side of it, and I couldn't be more excited. Excited to see so many great ideas from the community come together, excited to meet more entrepreneurs, and excited to see what's going on in this wonderful community.
So if you've got a great idea and are looking to grow, I encourage you to take the leap and fill out an application! You never know what could happen until you try.