For a number of years, a combination of organizations in my city has held a competition to encourage the development of assistive technology.  While my product didn’t seem to qualify last year, I was encouraged to apply. 

The instructions indicated that they were looking for software with an emphasis on the health field.  I again questioned the value of applying, yet the organizers encourage me to apply. With thousands of dollars being awarded, I decided to apply.  Surprise, I was one of six companies selected to deliver their “pitch”.

We each were allotted 5 minutes to make our pitch.  So, I used the 2-weeks prior to craft my words to address their list of questions.  I provided PowerPoint slides to describe my target audience, the market size and its growth potential. 

On the big day, the contestants were instructed on how the event would work and the order in which we’d appear.  I was third. I sat and listened to the first pitches. I listened with awe at the work that had been done and the potential for what these companies were offering.

When it was my turn, I greeted the panel and handed each a calendar as I explained why I started making this product.  Then I pointed out the design features that so appeal to my customers. 

I then called for the slides to begin.  As I went through my target markets, I included their current size and growth potential and my annual sales growth.  

The last question to addresses was how I’d spend the prize money.  I would use it to hire a sales or marketing person which has always been my greatest need.

The judges’ initial positive feedback made me think I had a shot; but it was not to be.  They then pivoted and didn’t see that the demand for a print calendar was very large and with cell phones everywhere, the market would continue to decline.

I did sell a couple of calendars at my table in the exhibit hall.  A few people dropped by with words of praise and encouragement. I made some good contacts with other tabling groups.  

The event reinforced what I had long ago learned.  To keep moving forward, you just have to find and make your own breaks and keep going; which I did.