YouWIN! 3 first round has come and gone and we are now face with a daunting task of answering the 2nd round questions which is more complex and technical. First let me congratulate you if you made the second round list.
The second round is the final lapse and is very pivot because what you submit here determines if you will make it. Therefore, it is imperative for you to be meticulous with your business plan. Thorough research should be done and facts and figures should always be given.
Unlike the first round that we were restricted to only 50 words, in this second round we are given up to 200 words and the questions are more broaden, technical and complex. We have about 60 questions to answer. It will interest you to know that the first round of YouWIN! 3 received well over 150,000 applicants and out of that, 6000 were shortlisted for the 2nd round and are trained in various centres across Nigeria.
YouWIN! 3 is very competitive compare to preview ones. During the training it was announced that the quality of business plans received this time around have really improved compare to preview ones and this goes to show how competitive it is.
Looking at the 2nd round questions, in some instance the questions are still the same except that you have to explain in more details (up to 200 words)
The most important part of the 2nd round is the financial aspect of it. It will interest you to know that 60-65% of the marks is assigned to the financials part. It will also interest you to know that it is your financials that determines how much YouWIN will give you. If you request for N10m and your financials can justify that amount and can only justify N5m, you will be give N6m instead of the N10m you requested. Therefore, ensure that your financials is well-analysed and harmonised with the questions should be your top priority.
I have answered all the questions in my YouWIN guide and also analysed the financials include sales forecast, marketing among others to give you an edge over others.
As part of my goals of using this platform (my personal blog) to help a lot of young Nigerians that are aspiring to be entrepreneurs, I have decided to search for opportunities (grants, business plan competitions, tips etc) and post them here free for you to tap from it. It is on this ground I decided to share my experiences as one of the pioneer YouWIN awardees and as someone who as mentored a lot women in the 2nd edition of the programme and also this 3rd edition.
I will be posting how to answer those questions and also review them.
LET GET STARTED.
Below are the questions and how to answer them.
Before we jump into answering those YOUWIN3 2nd round questions, my advices for you are:
1) Be precise and concise: YouWIN don’t have time to read your jargons, so go straight to the point.
2) Give facts and figure: Facts show that you have insight of your business.
Below are the YouWIN3 second round questions and answers:
Section 1: Type of Business
Question 1.1: Is this a proposal for a new or existing business? Please select from the drop down menu.
This is quite simple, you are required to just select from the list of drop down menu if you are existing business or not.
Question 1.2 When did your company start trading (Not required if new business)
You are to state here the year or month you commenced operation. If you are applying as a new business, you don’t need to answer this question, you can ignore. E.g March 2010
Section 2: Description of Business
Question 2.1 Select your industry sector
You have a drop down menu to choose from, just select the same industry selected in round 1.
If your industry is not listed, you can use the text box provided below the above question to state it. You are limited to 20 words.
Question 2.2: Explain the type of business you’re in
Provide a short summary of your business and outline the products and services that you plan to deliver (200 words)
This question is very important and is like your executive summary…
To answer this question, you need to take something into consideration.
- The word limit is 200 and you need to convey the value, selling benefits…
- It is highly technical even though is quite simple to answer, but very easy to fail. It is like your executive summary, which is very important
- You need to be precise and concise
- Use your ELEVATOR SPEECH/PITCH
To answer this question correctly, I will like you to introduce your elevator speech. What do I mean by elevator speech? It is a short speech or description you give about your business before the real one. Elevator pitches define your business in terms your prospective investors want to hear. Your marker uses the quality of the elevator speech as a way to judge whether to continue with your idea.
Imagine if you step into an elevator at the top floor of a building to go down to the lobby. Someone you don’t know steps in with you. You smile, greeting each other. The other person asks what you do. How will you answer? Would it take you much time or would you just beat around the bush?
Like I told you before, your marker doesn’t have the whole time to read your jargons; therefore you have to sell benefits instead of features. You start by telling them the benefits your customers would derive from using your products or services. Nobody will buy your products or services if it will not add value or solve their problem and that is exactly what YOUWIN or the person that will mark your proposal is looking for.
If you cannot put what you do into clear and concise words, how will other people, or rather, potential customers, know what you do?
In business, you need a brief elevator speech with a follow-up with details. The brief version offers a nutshell view of your business, enough to wet the appetite of a potential customer and cause them to ask for more details. When they do, you are ready with your more detailed follow-up. Memorize both versions so you are never at a loss for explaining what you do.
The Basics: Specialize
Activity: State clearly the kind of service you provide or the products you sell. Be specific.
I don’t mean something like, “We do computer programming and system design.” That hardly gives insight into what you do best. I also don’t mean, “We develop software for database management, systems integration, network management, Windows applications, and other custom applications.” Small businesses that do everything under the sun lose credibility. You need to have focus.
Your Elevator Pitch Should Include:
- The Problem Your Business Solves
- Who Has the Problem
- How Big the Market for the Solution Is
- Your Qualifications to Run this Business
Maybe we should use this kind of template and just change the words in the bracket :
- [Name of your company] provides [name your products or services] for [describe the specific segment of the market you will serve] who [describe the problem this solves for them].
- [Enter one sentence that tells why this business is needed and by whom.]
- [Make a statement about the size and/or growth trend of the industry.]
- [Write a sentence or two, no more, to address your qualifications to run the business.)
- [Make an honest, upbeat, substantive and credible claim about the business potential in terms of sales or profitability.]
Example: Software Product
My company provides a low-cost, email newsletter management tool for organizations to communicate with their customers and generate repeat business. (20 words)
Quite unfortunate that there is no space for follow-up, so we won’t use the follow up above except our brief version.
Notice two key points:
The service’s key benefit: making the process of getting repeat business easy.1.
Including a benefit highlights the value to a potential customer. Just saying what you do or sell isn’t enough. Tell the listener what he or she can get out of using your service or product.
Another Example for Restaurant
Utibe Restaurant helps Chinese who want to feel at home provides an exotic assortment of tastefully prepared Chinese dishes.
Ensure you mention your products and service and where you have more than 20 products or services, please use general terms because the space will not be enough. In my own business plan, I mentioned the price of some of my services.