Intuit, the maker QuickBooks and other small business software staples, kicked off a bold new program that has the potential to supersize a small business come Super Bowl Sunday.
Equal parts contest, social media outreach, educational resource and a major promotion, the Intuit Small Business Big Game program represents the company's effort to swing the spotlight on America's 29 million small businesses.
"We wanted to give small business owners a voice," said Heather McLellan, director of corporate communications for Intuit's small business division.
Share Your Small Business Story
Intuit encourages small business owners to share their stories at the Small Business Big Game website by September 22. By early October, 20 small businesses will rise to the top as entrants participate in more opportunities to tell their small business stories. Then in late October, Intuit's employees will cast their votes, narrowing the field of 20 semi-finalists to four finalists.
The four finalists win a "professionally produced" television ad shot by Intuit's advertising agency, RPA. In early November, voting for the winner opens to the general public. The winner's 30-second spot will air during the Super Bowl—practically every brand's Holy Grail.
"Small businesses account for 90 percent of the U.S. economy, but they rarely get credit for their tremendous impact," said Intuit CEO Brad Smith in a statement. "While one small business owner will score the ultimate touchdown, this program is one where everyone wins as it recognizes the contributions of small businesses and invites others to join the growing movement."
The program is open to all eligible small businesses, and no purchase is necessary. "You don't even need to be a QuickBooks user to participate," said McLellan.
Entrepreneurial Passion for Success
The idea for the program came from a desire to match the big ambitions and outsized passions that small businesses bring to the marketplace, according to McLellan. Her team asked, "How can we put them on the world stage?"
Legendary Super Bowl winning football coach, Jimmy Johnson and Bill Rancic, entrepreneur and the first winner of The Apprentice, bring star power to the proceedings. "I'm all too familiar with the challenges small business owners face, as well as the joy of success that comes along with taking a risk and setting out on your own. What I found is that you can’t do it alone," stated Rancic in company remarks.
Intuit, for its part, is balancing the spectacle with resources and perks that are open to all participants. Those that register for the program receive the Intuit Small Business Playbook, loaded with tips and tricks for running a small business. They also get a discount on a yearly QuickBooks Online subscription that knocks 50 percent off the price. Weekly prizes include Facebook Ad and Google Adwords credits, $1,000 grants and Super Bowl tickets.
By entering, small businesses also learn the "importance of using social media," said McLellan. The social site encourages visitors to vote and share their favorite small businesses on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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