We did it!

With your help Paperless Marketing was able to secure 400 votes in the FedEx Small Business Grant Competition!

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About the FedEx Small Business Grant

Since 2012 FedEx has been giving business owners, nationwide, the opportunity to tell their stories and engage their fans for a chance to win as much as $25,000 to help their business grow. On April 25, 2017 this grant program will award to ten (10) small businesses with one of the following:

Prize Packages

  • Grand prize: One winner of $25,000, plus $7,500 in FedEx Office® print and business services
  • Silver prize: One winner of $15,000, plus $5,000 in FedEx Office print and business services
  • Bronze prize: Eight winners of $7,500, plus $1,000 in FedEx Office print and business services

But what does it take to be in the running?

Step One: Entry

The entry period for this year’s contest was February 21, 2017–March 29, 2017 (and I really wish I would have known about it before March 29th!). In order to qualify your business must be a for-profit small business in good standing that has been in continuous operation selling a product or service for no less than six (6) months and has 99 or fewer employees. In addition:

  • Entrant/owner must be at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of Submission
  • The business must be registered with the Secretary of State in the home state where the business is domiciled (and I am crossing my fingers and toes that this will not apply to us given we are a sole proprietorship and are not required to register)
  • Entrant/owner must be an authorized agent of the registered business
  • Not a previous FedEx Small Business Grant Contest Winner
  • Not in any way affiliated with a franchised business
  • Not under bankruptcy protection or have judicial liens or attachments
  • The business must be in good standing as of the date of Submission and must remain so through the end of the Contest

Did you get all that?

Next, I had to create Paperless Marketing’s profile. On the contest profile we were required to upload four images that represented Paperless Marketing, with one (1) of those images being the business logo. That was the easy part. Then came the “few brief questions that help FedEx and voters get to know you, your business and why you should receive a grant.” This was a lot more difficult. Especially due to the word limitations. As Garth Stein once said, “The human language, as precise as it is with its thousands of words, can still be so wonderfully vague.

We also had the option to upload a 90-second video about the business and episode one of #HateTheHustle worked perfectly.

Step Two: Voting Period

For as often as I utter the words “Hate The Hustle,” the voting period, which opened March 1 and closed last night, April 5th at midnight, was nothing but hustling. As mentioned before, I didn’t submit our entry until 11:45 March 29. That gave me from the time it went live the afternoon of the 30th until midnight on the 5th to get as many votes as I could.

For those of you who don’t know why I hate the word hustle let me explain. Before the word hustle became a mainstream term to describe the “entrepreneur lifestyle” by Gary Vaynerchuk, Grant Cardone and others, it was a term used to describe those who obtained their wealth through a dishonest strategy that often takes advantage of othersCome on, let’s make the hustle before that slack-jawed idiot catches on. A hustler then, was a fraud or swindle. Hustle as a verb means to hurry or bustle and who is a fan of that?

Why I Consider 400 Votes A WIN!

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I have never been this exhausted. Campaigning is much harder than I thought, but just like the half marathon I ran a few years back, the mountain looks more like a hill once you get to the top.

When my profile went live on March 30th it began. I investigated other’s profiles and quickly learned what the average number of votes were. Most businesses had less than 50, some fell between 250-300, a few had over 500 and one or two had more than 20,000 votes! After doing some basic arithmetic I realized that in order for Paperless Marketing to throw it’s hat in the ring I needed to get between 300-500 votes. The closer to 500 I could get, the better my chances of making it into the top 600.

Top 600? I thought it was supposed to be the top 100?

You’re right, it is, but do you honestly think FedEx would give away over $120,500 in grants without having the final say? According to their website:

A selection committee within FedEx will use the following elements to choose finalists:

  • Votes received
  • Clear, compelling and engaging essay answers/video
  • How the grant money would be used
  • Social presence to develop your brand voice, including use of visuals, cohesiveness, humor, engagement, uniqueness
  • Website ease of navigation, ease of product ordering (if applicable)
  • Uniqueness or innovative
  • Sustainability or environmentally friendly component
  • Positive impact on community
  • How well the entrant’s brand aligns with the FedEx brand
  • Whether the small-business owner is prepared to be a small-business ambassador or mentor to other small businesses
  • A second question will be emailed to those reaching the top 100 and a response in the form of a video will be due by 11pm EST on April 17, 2017. Finalists not submitting a video by the cut off time will not be considered for further evaluation. This video along with the entrant’s original submission will be used to determine the Top 10 Winners.
  • The FedEx Entrepreneur Advisory Board (a group of past grant winners and finalists) will also select one (1) winner as the Alumni Choice Award using the same criteria identified above. The Alumni Choice Award will be one of the eight Bronze Level $7,500 grants awarded.

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Step Three: What’s Next?

The Top 100 will be announced on April 13, 2017 (which is the same day Paperless Marketing will be attending the New Bern Chamber Business Expo introducing our newest creation! Want to know what it is? Come find us on Thursday!). The final ten (10) winners will be announced on April 25, 2017.

If chosen I will be notified via email with instructions for completing and submitting a second submission which consists of creating a video, (“Second Submission) not to exceed 5 minutes in length, answering the following question:

“What is your passion as an individual and business owner and how is that passion reflected in your business?” 

And as we all know, my answer is:

“My passion is to “change the conversation” around how we market our businesses through education and creation. It’s reflected by Paperless Marketing in its values which are #KeepLearning, #KeepGrowing, and #KeepInspiring. Marketing your business to others requires a certain way of looking at the world, a shifting of perspective, and learning to become an entrepreneur is hard work. Together we can “change the conversation,” breath new life into marketing which currently underestimates our intelligence & takes advantage of persuasive tactics that prey on naturally learned, socially conditioned behavior and get to our fans faster through trust, authenticity and doing what we love.” 

WE:ME

Want To Help?

Do you want to help me answer the question for the second submission? If the answer is yes, here is what I need from you.

In a 10 second video please answer one of the following:

  • Why did you make the decision to vote for Paperless Marketing in the FedEx Small Business Grant Competition?
  • {If we have previously worked together…} How was I able to help you “change the conversation?”
  • {If you have used PaperlessMarketing4U.com or participated in #WorkItWednesday…} Did you find the information to be useful? Why or how did you use it?
  • How have I inspired you to #KeepLearning, #KeepGrowing and/or #KeepInspiring?
  • If you could summarize Paperless Marketing in three words what would they be?

Please submit all videos to breanna@paperlessmarketing4U.com with the subject line: Legends Share.

And stay tuned to find out on April 13th wether or not we made it to round two!

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Thanks for reading! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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