Contests Can Attract New Customers

Editor's Note: The deadline for this contest has been extended until Apr. 30.

Elizabeth Kanna, owner of Kanna & Co., a boutique business consultancy, recently launched the Big Business Contest with the thought "there's nothing small about running your own business," she said.

She saw a good fit for the contest in a client: Maui Millionaires. This company holds intense business brainstorming sessions in Hawaii to the tune of $30,000 a pop. Kanna notes that attendees to the conferences are successful business people who can afford to write a check and probably not a typical start-up.


Elizabeth Kanna's consultancy is spearheading a contest for small firms. (Photo courtesy of Kanna.)

Award winners of the Big Business Contest win a free trip with a spouse or business partner to a week-long Maui seminar in December, 120 days of mentoring and $5,000.

"We will be looking at ways of increasing a company's cash flow and looking at the company as a whole," said Kanna, who co-created the event with Allbusiness.com. "We will also call in business luminaries specific to a firm's particular industry."

The deadline for the 500-word essay entry is Apr. 1. Kanna said she's looking for small business owners - whether it's a one-person firm or a 300-person firm - to tell her about their companies, struggles, dreams and aspirations. "We want to hear about their passion for their company," she said.

Kanna, who says she specializes in "taking businesses to the next level," is no stranger to entrepreneurship -- she created the highly successful Web site homeschool.com in 1998 with $500 and a 19-year-old Web master. She sold it in 2003 for a significant return on her investment.

Her consultancy, which operates with a staff of two full-timers and a stable of contractors, includes clients such as Pearson Education, scientists Sally Ride and Bob Ballard, the New York Times and philanthropists working in 50 countries.

Small Business Readers: Do you know of other business development contests for small business owners? Post your knowledge below or e-mail me at smallbusiness@washingtonpost.com and I'll start keeping a database of contests, which I'll publish on the blog.

By Sharon McLoone |  March 17, 2008; 10:05 AM ET Calendar Events
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