Britain's biggest small business competition: A judge's five tips to help you make the shortlist

Dan Martin
Former editor
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Do you have what it takes to make your entry stand out from the crowd and catch the eye of our judges in The Pitch 2012, Britain's biggest small business competition with £50,000 worth of prizes up for grabs?

Global digital services provider, Yell, has teamed up with The Pitch for the fourth year to deliver our nation's biggest small business competition. David Malone, Yell's Northern Ireland telesales manager, will join the Northern Ireland judging panel at the regional judging day on Thursday 28 June.
With the 5 June entry deadline drawing near, David shares his thoughts on what he will be looking for from entrants to take them forward to the shortlist. A tota of 80 finalists from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will compete at The Pitch Live in Liverpool in October.

1. Highlight your business' unique selling point
You should be able to explain your business' unique selling point within a brief sentence. What makes your service or product unique to your competitors? This should be clearly defined in your entry so judges are fully aware of your business’ position in the competitive marketplace.

2. Show understanding of your target market
Understanding your target market is defined by engaging with the market to determine whether there is a need for your product or service, and if so, which audience is likely to be your target. In your entry it is important that you explain the market need for your product or service and back this up with evidence, for example results from market research or focus groups.
3. Be clear, concise and go light on the jargon
Focus on key information and avoid placing unnecessary detail in your entry. Refer to facts and figures to support your statements and make sure they are robust and proven.
4. Have a roadmap for your business
Knowing what you want to achieve from your business in the immediate and distant future is fundamental to its growth and should be an essential section in your business plan. Planning a route to achieve your goals helps you measure your successes and enables you to identify any shortfalls. Being able to refer to this to support your statements in your entry will increase the impact of your entry. 
5. Explain your marketing activities
How do you talk to your market? You don't need to be a marketing expert to gauge what channels are giving you a positive return. Share this information in your entry and show how your marketing activities are bringing in leads and securing sales. Explain how you plan to develop your marketing activities in relation to what you believe has worked well for your business.

Enter The Pitch 2012 by 5 June. Click here.


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