Today my team lost at the CEO Challenge Junior Achievement event. Each team had six weeks to come up with a viable business idea and then present it to judges in a competition against twelve other teams. I worked with one of the teams from my alma mater, Jackson High School. The students came up with their idea. I helped by giving them a little guidance here and there. My team had a great idea, practiced hard and gave a great presentation.
But they lost in the first round. The judges didn’t think they had their numbers right.
It wasn’t that their idea wasn’t good. It
was is a great idea. In fact, if they stick with it, they will all be multi-millionaires. It wasn’t that their numbers weren’t good. The numbers were solid. The lesson from today was all about trust. They couldn’t convince the judges to trust them and their research.
You can have the greatest product, the most perfect solution, the best option, but if you don’t build trust with your customer you won’t make the sale. The team had the data, but not the relationship. The winning teams won the relationship/trust battle.
You spend a lot of time and research looking for the right products. If you want to grow your business, spend an equal amount of time learning how to create relationships and build trust. In fact, today’s presentations showed that it might even be more important.
PS Sorry, I can’t tell you their idea. The first thing I told them was to clamp up and not talk about it to anyone without a Non-Disclosure Agreement to prevent someone with more resources from stealing the idea. The second things was to find a way to build a prototype, a working model of their product. It is a life changer for the end user. I really hope they stick with it.
PPS The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. These high school teams blew the judges away with their creativity and ingenuity. If you aren’t doing what you need to do to stay on the top of your game, there are some folks coming up behind you at great speeds.