Calling all entrepreneurs!
Every great business, invention or development starts with the same thing – that spark of inspiration that leads to a truly great idea. What happens next is really up to you.
As the old Thomas Edison saying goes, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. But today, if you don't have the right funds, a great idea can disappear no matter how much perspiring takes place.
After ten years of helping Britain's car buyers find the finance they need, we're spreading our wings a bit at Zuto. This year, we're launching our Entrepreneurial Spirit Award scheme to help get the UK's brightest new business talent on the right track.
What's it all about?
We're giving five budding entrepreneurs the chance to undertake a two-week workshop here at Zuto with our award-winning founders James Wilkinson and Ryan Dignan.
You'll have the chance to learn more about finance, marketing, sales and operations – all the "perspiration" factors that keep a business running steadily.
The "inspiration" part, however, is all down to you: at the end of the two weeks, you'll pitch your idea to James and Ryan. The winner will receive those all-important funds in the form of a £5,000 grant from Zuto!
How do you enter?
The competition is open to anyone with a fledgling business, or a new business idea, and is a permanent resident of the UK. You can enter as a joint or sole applicant, too. All you have to do is send us your proposal.
Click here to find out how to enter and for full terms and conditions.
How to make your proposal stand out
Business proposals, pitches and presentations are a skill that not everyone has – but it's always something you can learn. Here are a few of our tips for a strong proposal.
The golden rule
The most important thing of all is that your idea is the most important part. Yes, we want to know about you, your experience, and your talents, but don't let a personal desire for the spotlight pull attention away from your idea. The idea is the star of the show – don't lose focus!
We're encouraging applicants to accompany their proposal with a video – though you don't have to. It's just another option for putting across your idea, with the added bonus that we get to see a little more of the people behind it. If you're thinking of making a video, remember:
• Don't force it. You don't have to submit a video. If you don't think a video would be your strong point, and your written proposal is enough to catch our attention on its own, then don't waste your time worrying about a video.
• Less is more. A video is like an elevator pitch – it should be succinct and to the point, or your great idea will be lost in a sea of jump cuts and establishing shots. Five minutes at the absolute longest – but even shorter if possible. Keep it simple!
• It should work with your written proposal. A video shouldn't be a spoken-aloud version of your paper submission – but it shouldn't be so different that ideas don't translate from one to the other. Keep the message consistent, but make the most of the different mediums to deliver points in the most effective ways.
This is the biggest part of your proposal, so it's important that you get it right. Here's our advice.
• Start out brief, add detail later. Boil your idea down into as simple an offering as possible. A couple of sentences, a short paragraph – just the most important points. Lead with this executive summary, and then go into more detail later.
• Don't dilute your idea. You might think giving as much information as possible is essential, but sometimes too much can distract from the core of the idea. Work out what's essential, and what would be better discussed further down the line.
• Think about your methodology. Having the idea is one thing – working out how you would do it is something else altogether. Explain your methods, but again, keep it simple.
• Ask yourself the toughest question of all. Would you invest in this idea? We're sure you would, as it was your idea in the first place – but try and imagine it's something someone else has brought to you. Read your proposal through and, based solely on what you see, be honest with yourself. Would you invest in this idea? If the answer is no, it's time for another try.
Ready to get stuck in? Click here to start the application process – we can't wait to hear from you!