Sharing The Positives From Entering #PitchtoRich 2015
Recently we've been asked to share our experiences of entering the 2015 'Pitch to Rich' challenge - So here it is:
Over the last few weeks I have been genuinely sad to see the negativity that has been spreading about Virgin Media Business's 2015 challenge giving entrepreneurs a opportunity to Pitch To Richard Branson.
Yes there have been quite a few hic-ups and yes at times been exceptionally frustrating. However I am sure that it is not only the entrants that have felt that frustration.
This is just my opinion and I am sure that there are people who will disagree with me. I am also sure that I do not know all of the facts (no one ever does). However it has started to feel a bit like spoilt children in the playground who haven't won a game so now they are taking their frustrations out on others and blaming whoever they can.
Lets look at some of the facts - 2500 people entered this free challenge with either an idea, a start-up or a business they wanted to grow. Some of those entries had good sized teams behind them and some just friends & family. Each one had the ultimate goal of winning the big prize and each believed in their pitch. Yet there were only ever going to be 10 winners. The odds were better than buying a lottery ticket - yet no matter how hard anyone worked there were always going to be winners and losers.
Each person who entered made that choice knowing that. Each person then made their own decisions regarding what actions they would or would not take, how much time they would put into it, how much money they would spend, whether they would be ethical or not and a host of other decisions - it was always their choice, no one twisted their arm or forced them to do anything. Therefore to complain about any of those things is totally ridiculous. It is important to remember that this was a FREE opportunity that for the winners would be an amazing step on the road to success. I like many others decided that it was worth the time and effort to enter, it became my full time job for the duration and as I only £200 in the bank there was no money to spend on anything - it meant genuine grafting and making contact with people on an individual basis.
I'd been in a Virgin challenge before so knew from experience that there were probably going to be some contestants who would use dubious means to get to the top of the leaderboard - and in all honesty that is sadly part of life in the business world. No business can cover all the bases to stamp it out or even anticipate what lengths people will go to.
Virgin Media Business had to react in the moment - take it one day at a time and sometimes their decisions may have seemed unfair - however you can't please all of the people all of the time and actually it was people taking liberties in the challenge that appeared to cause most of the issues. One example was the fact that the websites constantly crashed because of 'web-bots' trawling the site to create unofficial leaderboards.
or people making the vote totals unreasonably high to stack the favour in their direction (I am only meaning those who purchased votes - not the genuine entrants) - so why not call them out and tell them that their actions were frankly really 'the pits!' (I would like to use stronger language than that!)
Every Entrant Was A Winner
I believe that every entrant was a winner, if they chose to have the right mindset about it. There was something to be gained from every interaction on the journey to gather votes (as long as you weren't buying them!)
Some Of The Hidden Opportunities
- Every interaction helps to raise the profile of your idea or business
- Invitations to industry specify events
- The potential for free publicity through social media, newspapers, television
- Potential funding - an interested investor may find you, your product or service
- Potential for collaboration
- Testing your pitch and getting feedback
- The list is endless - there are opportunities everywhere
One Last Question - If you had got through to the finals would you still have been complaining openly?
Yes there were some very real issues that need to be addressed for future challenges, if they decide to hold anymore. It would be incredibly sad if they didn't as the underlying reasons behind them is truly a great one - helping entrepreneurs to create businesses that are a Force For Good, that help to solve problems and make peoples lives better.
A Huge Thank You To Virgin Media Business & Richard Branson
So I would like to say a Huge Thank You to Virgin Media Business and Richard Branson for this opportunity. You gave me an opportunity to grow. My pitch my not have won the big prize - but I did win in many other ways. The challenge pushed me outside of my comfort zone, it gave me greater clarity of my pitch, my personal motivators, my values and along the way I met some other great pitchers that I know I will stay in contact with.
Thank You :)
Jaki and The Team :)
About the Author
Jaki is the founder of If Everyone Cares CIC. After meeting hundreds of people who had been unable to find help & support when they were facing a crisis she decided it was a 'problem she wanted to be part of solving'. She is now part of a, small but dedicated, team who are creating Ododow - The Interactive Community Map to pin-point the UK's 200,000+ Charities & Community Projects - Ododow.org.