We're two days away from pitching at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week...and we couldn't be more excited!
Although we've learned a lot of invaluable lessons from this Women in Business Challenge, the one thing we won't miss is working both on our pitch AND in our business. It's been a difficult balance these past 5 months, and we're glad to be birthing our presentation and shifting focus back onto growing our business.
This past weekend, Julia and I put the finishing touches on our powerpoint slides for the pitch presentation. We were editing the slides all the way up until the last minute, not because we put them off, but because we were still catching up on work from the bridal show we did the week prior.
The rules and guidelines prohibited us from using gifs or videos in our presentation, which was a huge bummer. Although with some creativity, we still managed to infuse our personality and brand into the slides.
We did a final run through of our pitch, with our excellent pitch coach, Desiree Young.
We did an on-air radio interview alongside two other pitch finalists, Diane Bias and Danielle Mitchell on WBOK. Both of these ladies have done an awesome job throughout this competition and sent us good vibes throughout.
The executive director of the Urban League's Women in Business Resource Center, Klassi Duncan, was also on-air with us. Lynette Colin, the previous executive director, phoned in to wish us luck.
I must admit, I was nervous before we got in the booth. Turns out, I had nothing to be nervous about. We each only spoke on air for about a minute. We all wished we had a little bit more time to talk more about our individual businesses, even if just to mention our websites.
The interview was conducted by Rachel Graham, who also happens to be a previous Women in Business Challenge finalist and almost-winner.
Before the interview, Rachel told us about her experience as a finalist in last year's challenge. Rachel's company, Small Hinges, is a communications firm that helps African American women candidates get elected to office.
She delivered an excellent presentation, but ultimately ended up losing. Most people watching thought she should have won.
So what happened?
Well, turns out she lost based on one question in the Q/A section of the pitch.
Quentin Messer of the New Orleans Business Alliance, one of the judges for the WIB Challenge, asked if her communications firm would expand its target market to include the hispanic population.
Her answer: No. That's not her business' area of interest. She specifically serves the African American community.
Many in the audience thought she answered appropriately.
Apparently, Mr. Messer thought she was missing out on a big opportunity. It was a very close and controversial call, but her answer to that one question ended in a win for her competitor, Diva Dawg, a hot dog food truck.
While she wishes she would have won, she did emphasize one good thing about not winning the money: her mom got ill shortly after the competition, and had she won the $10,000 she wouldn't have had the extra time to help her through her illness.
Rachel's continuing her work as a journalist and plans to return to her company's growth plan in about 18 months. If she could give us any one piece of advice, she said it would be, "don't ever give up or let anything get you down."
We're taking that advice to heart.