As a competitor, winner, organizer and judge at business plan competitions, Tony Lael, co-founder and executive vice president at CoreConnex, Inc., has a pretty unique take on how they should be run. Lael recently launched a business plan competition, the Tigerpaw Amazing Business Race, designed to be a take-off on the Amazing Race Television show.
Contestants must use Corelytics Financial Dashboard and Tigerpaw Software. Over a year’s time, these contestants must track the progress of their business goals using these tools and must hit certain benchmarks every three months in order to move to the next round in the race. Winners will be selected in three categories:
- Best sales organization
- Best service management organization
- Highest business profitability
“What makes this a unique competition is that part of becoming a racer requires that each company participate in a 13-point management assessment to evaluate the state of their current business model, business plan and management practices,” says Lael. “Then, along the way we will be connecting with each racer at pre-determined check points. This is a much more interactive competition than any business plan competitions I’ve been a part of or judged.”
Earlier this year, Corelytics won the Intuit App Showcase, a business plan competition for Intuit Apps. The Corelytics Intuit app for QuickBooks Pro was selected from among 159 applications and the 30 finalists who appeared at the competition final in San Francisco in August. Lael has also judged several competitions, including the Washington State University Business Plan Competition.
When creating the Tigerpaw Amazing Race, Lael sought to incorporate methods by which contestants could be judged on their implementation and results of their business plan. “In our view, a true business plan competition is the company that can make their business plan happen,” he notes. “The Tigerpaw Amazing Business Race is going to allow us to do just that over a one-year period.”
As part of the contest, the organizers, including Lael, will connect with contestants every three month to assess their progress. “Every business plan competition I’ve been in or have judged presents participants with rules and deadlines, then the contestants get up in front of a panel to pitch their plans,” he adds. “Traditionally, contestants only get feedback at one point.
“This makes it difficult to both validate whether the contestant really deserves to win because they were able to execute on their plan and no ongoing visibility for judges of the results obtained based on the plan given,” he continues. The goal for the Tigerpaw competition is to judge contestants where the rubber hits the road — how they execute their plan on a consistent basis.
“We believe this will transform the way business owners who enter the race will think about where their business is going and how they manage that business based on their plan,” Lael says. In real life, business owners have to constantly adapt their strategies and measure their results and the Amazing Business Race will enable competitors to be judged on how well they execute on a consistent basis.
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