How to Create a Better Online Review/Evaluation Process

There’s no doubt, allocating time and resources to the analysis and fine tuning of your online application management process (or your manual process) can improve responses, minimize handling time and improve the quality of submissions—as well as building a positive reputation for your organization.

Second only to the application management process in value to you and your organization is the online review management process (or manual process). Whether you are running a contest or a qualification program, it’s to your advantage to spend some quality time improving the experience of your reviewers.

What to look for in an online application management software
Competition Tips|John Haverkamp|December 14, 2015

You have made the decision to ditch the old paper applications that you have been using for years. Now that you are ready to bring your application process into the cloud you need to look at all of the different options you have. There are a host of options out there to help you move your application online. With so many choices out there you need to think about what your process really needs. This is a list of things to keep in mind as you start to test out different software and processes for your application.

8 mistakes made when running award programs
Competition Tips|John Haverkamp|December 14, 2015

After all of that work and time you still find yourself here. Sitting on your laptop at midnight. Staring at a full inbox and way too many excel sheets… without enough coffee. It happens to all of us. The big deadline is coming up and we forgot one little thing. That little tiny mistake can spin out of control. These are 8 things to watch out for in prepping for your next big award program.

4 Tips for Making Your One-and-Done Event Into a Yearly Competition

Planning an event takes a lot of work and, often times, event administrators are so busy planning the logistics of the first year that they forget to take the necessary steps to make the event a repeatable model for success to be used year after year. We're here to tell you how to keep your participants engaged in your event year-round so that, when next year rolls around, you'll have a long list of people dying to see your event begin again.

You should:

  1. Utilize a post-event save-the-date page
  2. Set up a form to collect inerested applicant/judge information for next year
  3. Start marketing your event at least 3 months ahead of time
  4. Provide updates on past winners
Feedback is Important for You & Your Applicants

One of the things that makes a competition so great is the opportunity it gives applicants to receive critical feedback on their ideas. While offering numerical scores in your competition is beneficial in its own right, actual written feedback gives your applicants so much more than a score on a piece of paper. It gives them to opportunity to grow as individuals and to build a strong network of entrepreneurial experts they can consult for professional and personal development.

Giving feedback to your applicants is good for you, the administrator, as well. You build credibility within your organization by showing that you genuinely care about promoting the entrepreneurial spirit through taking the time to offer valuable comments on the ways your applicants can improve and it prevents arbitrary scoring by your judges since they have to validate their numerical scoring with their non-numerical feedback.

We’ll elaborate a little bit more. Feedback is great because:

Common Mistakes Award Programs Run Into

Award programs are a wonderful way to increase economic development, boost awareness of local businesses and highlight those in your area that are making big moves. However, even program administrators who have been running their event for years can make mistakes!

Keep your program on an upward spiral by avoiding these four major award program flaws:

How to Keep People in Your Program Year-Round

Let's be honest, events take a lot of work. Whether they are competitions, contests, or award programs, there are a lot of processes involved in making an event happen. And guess what? Events don't just last for 3-6 months! Most events are, and should be, a year-round commitment. They take year-round dedication if you want to get the most out of it. So once you have finished the event for this year, you need to jump right back in to prepare for the next upcoming event. At PitchBurner, we have a few different ways to aid your year long process, from planning and the initial set up, to finishing out with judging and giving feedback & awards.

Solid Business Plans are Key to Competition and Professional Success
Competition Tips|Reviewr|June 16, 2015

For competitors in business plan competitions, the business plan is the foundational piece that spells eventual success or failure in the competition. Regardless of how well you present yourself or how many connections you have, if your business plan isn’t cogent, thorough and articulate, odds are you won’t win or even place.

One of the biggest inconsistencies in business plans is the gap between the financial sections and the narrative sections.You may have believable financial statements and captivating narratives in your business plan, but if the numbers don’t support the text, your business plan may be easily passed over by investors. And believe us - they’ll check.

A Tale of Two (or Three) Business Plans

If you’ve ever had the chance to be a judge in a business plan competition, you’ve probably experienced this feeling when reviewing some great (and also not so great) entries. We’re here to highlight a few of your typical business plans that one will see in any given competition and identify the type of plan that will prevail in the end.

Why Running a Sweepstakes is a Waste of Time

Sweepstakes don’t work. If you were to Google “sweepstakes” right now, you would see that there are hundreds of pages of sweepstakes submission forms. Before joining the hundreds of others going down the wrong road, look at the facts:

A sweepstakes does not leave a lasting impression on the consumer.

Sweepstakes = prizes. When a consumer fills out a sweepstakes form, they have one thing in mind: That bright, shiny prize. They only interact with the brand for as long as it takes them to enter their personal information in. After those few seconds, they’re gone. The only ones who re-interact with the brand are the winners! Those who entered, but did not win, are often never reached or reminded of the brand again. Many are often deterred because of the low odds of winning.

6 Things to Remember When Running Your Event

We completely understand - it's a lot of work to be an administrator of an engaging event. There's a lot of work to be done and planning to be had; dates to finalize and judges to confirm. With all of the hustle and bustle that you're inevitably doing, it's easy to forget a few simple (but important) elements of running your program.

Here's a few of the commonly forgotten items:

Writing a Business Plan: An Adventure, Not A Job!
Competition Tips|Reviewr|June 11, 2015

A well-crafted business plan is crucial to success in business plan competitions. And not just any well-crafted business plan; one that stands out from the crowd. For students in business schools, especially those in entrepreneurial tracks, creating such a plan is a huge part of their education. For everyone else, it’s a learned art that combines your passion for a business with the down-to-earth details involved in getting that business off the ground.

If you’re a wanna-be entrepreneur or student who has a great idea for a business and either wants to enter a business plan competition or find funding, here are some factors to consider as you craft a business plan.

Judging a Live Competition: A Checklist

Many events these days include a live element where applicants appear before a panel of judges and pitch their idea, business plan, etc. Event administrators seasaw between the ease of evaluating on an online platform and the familiarity, on the judge’s part, of hard-copy judging. On the one hand, online scoring allows for real-time results, easy reporting and instant feedback for applicants. On the other hand, judges can sometimes be stuck in their ways (think “We’ve always done it on paper) and may not be jumping for joy over a new system. However, the old pen-and-paper routine leaves a lot of room for human error in the ways of scoring (what if you add them up wrong?), collecting (what if you lose one?) and sharing feedback (how are you going to give the feedback to the applicants? Mail them a copy?). Before you break out the No.2 pencils, know that competitions across the globe (big and small) are using online judging during live presentations. The only difference is, instead of double-checking that the printer has ink, you must check these 7 elements before the live portion of judging begins.

How to leverage mentorship in your competition, challenge or award program

Contests, competitions and challenges breed excellent ideas. But what do applicants do with those ideas after they get feedback from the first round of judging? Applicants spend hours putting together their submission before entering it for review. Even with feedback from reviewers, they likely don’t know the best ways to implement or improve on it. Our team has witnessed an elevated amount of clients who choose to incorporate a mentoring round into their contest, competition or award program.

6 Tips for Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch

Investors and competition administrators often don’t want to go through entire business plans only to find that the idea doesn’t fit with what they’re looking for. They often want applicants to outline their idea in a brief, but comprehensive, format.

To combat this, many event administrators offer an “elevator pitch” component in their business plan competition. In fact, elevator pitches are becoming so popular that they often make up an entire competition. Elevator pitches are important to refine because in life, and competitions, one must be able to sell your product/service, your company and yourself to anyone you meet in roughly 2 minutes (the duration of a typical elevator ride). And we’re here to give you a few tips for the crafting and refinement of your elevator pitch.