Why Being Runners-Up Is A Good Thing

Recently, Big Fish competed at EO Thrive’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in Detroit, Michigan. A few of our team members travelled to the motor city to showcase our business to a panel of judges, while experiencing a network of young, successful entrepreneurs. After weeks of preparation and practice, we gave our presentation. The judges said it was the closest competition they’d seen in years. We showed the world what our business was all about, from our progress to our potential. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished. The results were announced, and we patiently awaited our ranking.

We were announced as runners-up in the competition.

Now, obviously we were a little let down that we couldn’t take home the trophy, but the conference gave us a chance to step back and look at a few things. After a short, but exciting trip, we’ve come to a few realizations about being in second place.

1. It gives us a reason to try harder.

Just like the Avis ad from the ’60s, we are proud to call ourselves No. 2. We believe that this has given us incentive to work even harder to achieve our goals. We want to be the best, and in order to do that, we have to become a better business than the best. Having that gap between us and our fellow entrepreneurs has given us a tangible task that we can strive to accomplish.

2. It’s not about winning. It’s about having a successful business.

Although this was a competition, and we definitely wanted to win, we know that it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it gives us some clarity as to what really matters: being a better business. Winning prizes and respect doesn’t compare to the ultimate benefits of getting back to work and achieving real success in our market. Being runners-up just confirmed in our minds that we have to get back to work and not worry about winning a competition. Less talking, more doing.

3. It puts things in perspective.

Since we had to compile our business into a clear, organized pitch in order to compete, we were forced to take a very close look at ourselves. Most businesses don’t have the opportunity or the requirements to scrutinize themselves in such a detailed fashion. We had to look past our day-to-day operations and dig deeper to uncover what really sets us apart. We now know what our best and worst attributes are, and we can use them to pursue areas that we might not have explored if we weren’t forced to closely examine our strengths and weaknesses. We found our identity, and now we can use this newly found voice to enhance the future of the business.

4. It allows us to network with successful entrepreneurs.

Although the conference was centered around the competition, not every second of the trip involved competing. Our team met with many professionals, young and old, who gave us advice, insight and a sense of camaraderie. It wasn’t cutthroat. We weren’t isolated from our competitors or mean to anyone in any way. Instead, the entire event was filled with positivity and encouragement. Our team socialized with the competitors outside of the competition, having conversations about everything from the future of our businesses to the sites of Detroit.

5. It rallies our team together.

Being involved in this process has caused the team to pull together in order to reach success. We all worked on some part of the process, from designing the presentation to doing research to listening to Kenny rehearse his speech (over and over). Our team came together before and after this competition. After the winners were announced, we discussed why we didn’t win and what we’ll be doing to further the business based on the results. We used this experience (before and after the event) to bring our team together and fight for a cause. Now that we’ve moved on from it, we can press onward with a newly formed sense of togetherness.

Even though we didn’t win it all, our time in Detroit wasn’t a waste. We have no reason to hang our heads. On the contrary, we are more energized and confident than ever before. We have used this experience to grow and learn, and we are immensely proud of our team for what we have accomplished and will continue to achieve. It’s time to rock!

What’d you think? Do you have a similar experience that you’d like to share with us? We’d love to start a conversation with you. Hit us up in the comments below, on Facebook or give us a little tweet! Stay tuned to our awesome YouTube channel for upcoming projects from our wonderful clients!


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