I learned this lesson recently when my brother, sister and I entered into a nationwide entrepreneurship contest. “The Last Plan Standing 100K” was a business plan competition sponsored by a marketing firm in Kansas City, Missouri. With a $100,000 at stake, we dedicated an abundance of time and energy to the competition. Each round required a lot of effort from the participants including tasks such as the production of a YouTube video to explain our business concept and the submission of an executive summary.
Our hard work paid off. We made the first cut and were included in the first round of 20 semi-finalists. From there we advanced to the top 10. When we made it to the final three, we flew to Kansas City to present our plan to a panel of judges, consisting of executives from the firm and local business owners.
Three weeks after our presentation in Kansas City, we got the call that we had won the competition and the 100K grand prize which was really $100,000 in marketing services from the firm to help promote Portner Brewhouse.
It was early May when we were announced as “The Last Plan Standing.”Afterward, several attempts to follow up with the company went unanswered. Eventually, we learned that the firm was not doing well despite 30 years in business. Finally in August, we received an email informing us that the company was closing and we would not be receiving the reward that we had earned.
While this did not detract from the fact that we’d won the competition, it was a disappointment. The lesson learned is that nothing is really guaranteed. The minute you expect something to happen is pretty much when it does not. So, in the case of entrepreneurs especially, do not take things for granted and always have a “plan B” in place at minimum.
On a lighter note, my second piece of advice would be to use the “E” word more often. Especially in the case of businesswomen, never be afraid to call yourself an entrepreneur!