Is your start-up ready to face a panel of comedians?

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Shappi Khorsandi, Anglo-Iranian stand-up comed...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Australia is about to get its own life start-up show hosted by — wait for it — a comedian.

What does that say about start-ups? I wonder…

Small business competitions are springing up all over the place. Think of those that have become successful on TV such as Shark Tank, Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice.

Locally competitions are also starting to take off with a petroleum company grilling small business owners on their business ideas.

One participant in a local small small business competition said she loved attending entrepreneurial competitions to motivate herself as an entrepreneur and she even bought her teenage son along to introduce him to the world of entrepreneurship.

Do you have a small business idea that you want to present at one of these competitions? How would you feel about a comedian asking you questions about your small business solely for entertainment value? Do you want every small detail about your start-up business to be made public on a national platform?

These start-up and small business competitions may be valuable for some entrepreneurs who need a leg up for financing and possible business advice from some of the big names out there. But not every small business that enters these competitions will get the advice that they are really looking for from comedians, celebrities and instant gooroos. Participants in these shows afterwards quietly fade away and nothing is ever heard from them again.

The thing about these competitions is that the radios, print media and television as well as the celebrity hosts and corporate sponsors get a lot of mileage but do small start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures benefit?

The reality is that in the real world of business, the fiercely competitive marketplace, customers will judge your value proposition not guru business advisers and comedians. Customers will decide whether your product or service can make their lives easier, faster and better. A potential customer will smell a fake or dud a kilometre off.

It is far better to find a mentor or local business adviser who has started and run several small businesses. These are the people that will give you advice that is valuable. Rather than being grilled by a comedian or a celebrity find someone who has been down in the trenches and learned how to survive and thrive in the real world of small business.

These are the advisors that will help you identify and carve out a niche in highly competitive markets, identify your fatal flaws in advance, evaluate your expertise and capabilities through a thorough market analysis and build a business plan as well as help you test your business concept to validate your value proposition.

By all means if you’re into that sort of thing go for the celebrity small business show. But afterwards when you have that horrible feeling that all you really got out of the show was entertainment value then look for real advice.

Go here for a step-by-step way to grow your business.


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