Start Small Win Big: Your Next Steps

Can you believe it has already been eight weeks since we began the 2nd annual Start Small Win Big entrepreneur challenge? We can’t either. As the SUCCESS contest draws to a close, it’s time to evaluate your week-to-week homework assignments and draw conclusions that you can share in your Start Small Win Big final submission for prizes and a feature in the magazine.


If you’re thinking, “Wow, I don’t even know where to start in reviewing my weekly assignments,” then never fear. For your convenience, we’ve listed all eight steps and the corresponding homework assignments.

Step 1: Refine your elevator pitchThis week’s assignment is to prepare five pitches– one that fills 20 seconds, one minute, five minutes, 20 minutes and one hour.

Step 2: Keep it simple. This week’s assignment is to write a one- or two-line description of your company with two audiences in mind—one that doesn’t know anything about your business and one that is very familiar with what you do.

Step 3: Look at metrics. Your homework this week is to state what metrics are important to you and your business. Once you do that, you can evaluate where you are today and have a goal of where you’d like to be.

Step 4: Understand your finances. So this week’s assignment is to build a 12-month cash flow statement. First, what is a cash flow statement? It’s simply a record of two things: the cash that’s coming into your business and the cash that’s going out of it. That’s it. Really.

Step 5: Talk to Your CustomersThis week’s homework is to develop a list of 5 questions you’d like to ask your customers and then reach out to them to find the answers.

Step 6: Put systems into place to keep your staff focused. So for this week’s homework assignment, I’m asking that you think about how your company works, and put some systems into place which will keep all of your employees focused on the right goals.

Step 7: Tap your network. This week’s homework is to expand your network to include other SSWB contestants. Find each other on LinkedIn, like each other’s pages on Facebook, follow each other on Twitter and Pinterest.

Step 8: Take a closer look at your social media strategy.  With that in mind, this week’s assignment is to audit and refine your social media strategy. There are four C’s of social media that you’ll need to perform your social strategy audit: Communicate, Community, Content and Conversion.


You’re almost done…. Now, it’s time to tell us why you should win SUCCESS magazine’s 2013 Start Small Win Big contest. Submit your answers here. Essays are due April 1 (no joke).

Part 1: About You

  • Your name and your business name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Your business website address
  • What kind of business is yours?
  • Tell us why you started or are starting your business.

Part 2: Write a short essay.

Please write an essay of approximately 300 words that:

• Reveals what you learned from the challenge and how you are using that knowledge.

• Tells what step or steps were the hardest for you to achieve and why. How did you overcome your obstacles?

• Assesses your results. (Did you reach your primary goal? Why or why not? If not, what are you still working on?)


The grand prize winner will be featured in the magazine and enjoy a business consultation with JJ Ramberg and Darren Hardy. Runners up will receive a SUCCESS personal development prize pack including The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, the Jim Rohn Classic Collection Anniversary Edition and more.



Journalist, podcaster and southpaw Shelby Skrhak is the former director of digital content and social media for Before joining SUCCESS magazine, Shelby launched the weekly suburban newspaper Plano Insider, and covered topics ranging from cops and courts to transportation and fashion. Her handwriting should be a font.

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