“Judge Not…”

Faithful readers may recall that I am the chair of the 2012 Top 40 Innovative Technology Company competition, sponsored by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). Our committee judges applications with the objective of choosing the most innovative Georgia technology companies. Because of my participation on the committee, I did not submit a Top 40 application on behalf of my own software technology company, Dynamic DesignWare, Inc.

But there was nothing to stop us from applying to another competition, the TAG Business Launch. My one experience with the Business Launch was serving last year as a mentor to OneSpring, LLC, which proved to be fortuitous. Recently Dynamic DesignWare engaged OneSpring to create the development requirements for our software platform, and they did a great job.

After three years of working on our technology companies, including launching two businesses, I concluded that Dynamic DesignWare was the right business for the TAG Business Launch competition: We have a great technology platform, rights to intellectual property, a sound business model, an experienced team and an initial channel to ASID, a prestigious association of 20,000 interior designers.

Of course, it’s one thing to have all the pieces in place for a successful business launch, but it is something else to have all of the ingredients for a competition. They “lure you in” with an initial application that isn’t that hard to complete. Most of it is based on an Executive Summary, and we prepared a pretty good two-pager.

But pithiness is a virtue and the Business Launch committee informed us that, going forward, best practices required a one-page document. After wielding an axe we chopped away most of a page, but we have some more work to do before Friday’s deadline.

More challenging is the presentation, the “pitch,” which we’ll make next week. In six minutes we have to cover all of the usual elements for an investor pitch, including a statement of the problem, how we solve the problem, our team, competition, our business model and financial projections.

Covering all of this in six minutes will not be easy for me; I can be a bit wordy, particularly when describing our platform. Our mentor suggested that we create a video, to facilitate covering everything in a limited period of time. When you need a video in a week, who ya gonna call? OneSpring! (Once again.) They are helping us create a video to showcase our product. Even with our tight schedule and budget, early indications are quite promising.

Over the next few days we will scramble to put the pieces together, to meet the Friday deadline for submitting the presentation slides.

The real fun begins next Monday morning, when we make our presentation to the Business Launch judges. I expect to be subjected to the same types of “constructive criticism” that I have been giving the TAG Top 10 candidates. I can dish it out, but can I take it? Will I make the same mistakes that others have made (and that I have pointed out), like too many words on a slide? Will the video play when it is supposed to? Will I fit the presentation into six minutes or will they have to cut me off? Stay tuned.

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