It's funny how life can come full circle in unexpected ways. As a high school wrestler, I was the number one ranked athlete in NYC at my weight class of 170 pounds during my senior year. Unfortunately, due to an injury, I was unable to finish my senior year of wrestling and missed the opportunity to compete in the New York State wrestling championship - every wrestler's dream. It was a devastating setback for me, as I had worked so hard to get to that point.
(Chad Williams (Midwood) vs Fernando Gonzalez (Brooklyn Tech)- 2016)
Fast forward four years, and I found myself in a very different competition - the New York State Business Plan Competition, this time as a senior in college. I had founded my own socially conscious streetwear clothing brand, dooProcess, and was determined to win. With the help of the Buffalo State Small Business Development Center and their advisors, I crafted a business plan that I knew could make a real difference in the world.
The competition consisted of two parts: the regionals and the state competition. For the regionals, I had to compete against other schools in my region and place in the top 2 in order to advance to the state competition. I believed my business was such a good idea, that I submitted a mediocre business plan to the judges for the regional competition. I took second place. Taking second did not sit well with me because of my competitive nature and how much I knew dooProcess was a good idea. However, it fueled me to make my business plan for the state part of the competition that much better.
The state competition was much more fierce, as I was now going against schools like Cornell University and Syracuse, which were considered elite competition. They had programs such as Launchpads and incubators to help them with their business plans, which made them even more formidable opponents. But I didn't let that scare me. I knew that dooProcess was needed in this world, and that the judges would see that too. I had a mission, a passion, and a drive that wouldn't be quenched. And so, I got creative.
To give myself a competitive advantage, I came up with two great ideas. The first idea was to reach out to past winners of the competition to get their advice. So, I got in contact with Uyi Omorgbe of NASO, another clothing brand, who provided me with great advice that I was able to use going forward. The second idea was to create a video submission that would wow the judges and keep them engaged when watching my submission. I then came across a video on YouTube that used a whiteboard animation effect to create the video and a light bulb went off in my head. I then taught myself how to use the whiteboard animation tool editor (Sparkol) and I incorporated that effect into my final recorded pitch submission for the state tournament. I knew that this video was the one and would keep the judges engaged and make my video stand out from the rest.
When it was time to submit the final video for the state competition, I went in feeling great, knowing that I had given it my all. After a month of waiting, the judges finally made their decision. I had won! dooProcess had taken first place in the consumer products track of the 2020 NY Business Plan competition. It was one of the greatest feelings ever.
As I reflected on the experience, I realized that winning this competition had made up for the disappointment I had felt all those years ago when I couldn't compete in the New York State wrestling championship. It wasn't the same thing, of course, but it felt like a victory all the same. It was proof that hard work, dedication, and a refusal to give up in the face of adversity could pay off in ways you never could have imagined. I may never know what it would have felt like to compete in that wrestling championship, but I do know that I'm proud of what I've accomplished with dooProcess and what I will accomplish.
Winning the NY Business Plan Competition not only gave me the confidence to continue pursuing my dreams, but it also gave me a platform to showcase the mission and vision of dooProcess. It was a moment of triumph and accomplishment that I will always cherish. It showed me that even when life doesn't go according to plan, there are always opportunities to rise above and achieve greatness.
And who knows? Maybe one day, I'll have the opportunity to coach a young wrestler to a championship victory of their own. Life has a funny way of coming full circle, after all.
A Story By - Chad Williams (Founder of dooProcess)