When you're a small business owner, you can use all the help you can get. This is especially true when it comes to startup or operating capital. So when we heard about a contest that PostNet was running, where entrepreneurs can win up to $15,000 to get their business off the ground or help take it to the next level, we wanted to make sure our readers were aware of it.
Steve Greenbaum, the CEO and Co-founder of PostNet, who is sponsoring the contest, agreed to an interview, and he's got some great news about the contest, as well as valuable advice for young entrepreneurs. Enjoy the interview, then go enter the contest!
What is your background and the history of PostNet?
I co-founded the PostNet franchise program in 1993 with my business partner Brian Spindel. PostNet is the nation's first and only Neighborhood Business Center with more than 700 locations worldwide. At our stores, we work closely with business owners to identify their objectives, build upon their ideas, and develop the best solution to meet their needs. This could include anything from designing and printing custom invitations or signage for an important company event, to helping create a brand image for a new business or existing company looking to re-invent itself.
Give us an overview of this contest — how can people enter and who is it open to?
In celebration of National Small Business Week, business owners looking to take their business to the next level are encouraged to enter our Boost This Biz contest. Any small business owner can visit PostNet's Facebook page to share why they are deserving of the grand prize. The winner receives a $10,000 cash grant and $5,000 towards design, print, copy, and shipping at their nearest PostNet location. The five entries with the most votes by June 8, 2011 will move on to the final judging round, where an impartial panel of fellow entrepreneurs will choose one grand prize winner. The remaining four finalists will each receive a $200 American Express gift card.
Why did you choose small businesses as the target audience for this social media contest?
Every day, our franchisees work with talented and aspiring entrepreneurs across the country to help them grow their businesses. By giving one of those businesses a chance to win this prize, it's our way of recognizing all the hard-working small business owners who make our economy tick.
What are the advantages for a small business entering the contest on Facebook?
Small businesses that enter the Boost This Biz contest on Facebook not only have an opportunity to win $15,000 in prizes from PostNet, but they can use this as a chance to market their small business on Facebook. Facebook is a great medium for small businesses to gain more exposure and to interact with their customers. By entering the contest and sharing their entries to get more votes, the entrants are promoting their company, which we hope will generate more business for them.
How did you come to choose this prize?
We wanted to choose a prize that would have a real impact for the small business that wins. The $5,000 in services from PostNet will help the grand prize winner with all of their printing and graphic design needs. The $10,000 grant from PostNet gives the winner flexibility to use that money where they need it most, so they can use this prize to get the biggest boost from the contest.
What advice do you have for small businesses starting out in this economy?
Starting a business in this, or any economic climate, requires proper planning, capitalization and execution.
Start with planning. Make sure you have considered all aspects of the business with a focus on what customers want and need. If you are selling a product or new service that could potentially be associated with a fad, flavor, or trend, do your homework. Make sure you are in a position to take advantage of a trend, but be realistic about the lifecycle or longevity of the business.
In the budgeting process, one of the most important aspects of your plan or projection is to estimate your break even and consider a contingency plan including the availability of additional resources in the event that you don't hit your targets.
People primarily fail in business for two reasons. Undercapitalization, and/or mismanagement. As long as your plan has been well researched from a customer needs perspective and you are adequately funded, it is critical to think and act like a business owner, not a clerk. Work on your business, not just in your business. If you do that, your chances of succeeding and prospering are far better.