We did it. We leapt in.After receiving a post card in the mail about competing for a grant, we decided why not. After working diligently on creating an entrance video and drafting our story, we rallied for online votes from friends, family, and strangers.
We make a piece of Ag Equipment called Top-Spread Bale Spreader,
not exciting to the average person. We don't have anything fun to give away for promotion. We depended on our innovation, business know-how, and the generosity of our friends to get us through. We didn't even come close to having the most votes. Luckily, the Dream Big Grow Here Committee chose the other finalists...and we were one of them!
This meant we had to prepare a 6 minute pitch about why we were deserving of the grant money and how it would impact the community.
My dad and I are NOT public speakers.We prefer to have a conversation with someone and listen to their story. Not having a room full of people listening to us. We were to deliver our pitch during this "Fest" in Iowa in May. We decided we should attend EntreFEST since we would be down there anyways. We had no idea what we were in for.
During the Opening session, Andy had us up on our feet yelling and clapping for people before they were even on stage. That first day, we learned about using a Business Model Canvas and how creating the old Business Model Novel is becoming outdated. We confirmed that indeed, we are not salespeople and learned some tactics to help our customers find what they need.
The Second Day was Pitch Day. This was overwhelming. We met our judges and got through our pitch without feinting. What came next surprised us. There were folks lined up after the pitches jumping to help us with whatever we needed. Folks from Iowa who are genuinely interested in helping small businesses and new ideas thrive in our state. We also had the opportunity to hear about what other small businesses were working on how they were accomplishing their goals. HowFactory took the finals with innovative technology and a great group of folks working on the project. The support continued to flow as people asked us questions to help us process our approach and asked how they could help.
The final day we learned how to create an entrepreneurial community in our town and how to change the culture of the workplace. EntreFEST wrapped up with business guru, Seth Godin. What we learned the past couple of days was reinforced with his proposal of moving from the Industrial Age to the Connection Age.
This was our largest take away. Connecting with innovators, angels, and people interested in entrepreneurship across the state of Iowa. This was made possible by participating in the Dream Big Grow Here grant contest and all the EntreFEST volunteers, workers, and attendees.
If we had the chance to do it all again, we would. We would be awkward at EntreFEST.
Our newsletter contains bits of our story and what we have been up to as well as tips and tricks for using Top-Spread.
We like to think we have friends, so help us out! Connect with us on Social Media. Share a funny story or ask us a question. We will definitely respond!
Links to the awesome programs we mentioned in our post again:
Of course, if you know someone that we could make their lives easier with a Top-Spread, let them know about us. We even have a website: www.top-notchmachine.com.