What would you do to grow your business with $100,000? It’s not just an idle question. Forbes.com is offering that as the grand prize in its Boost Your Business In 2008 business plan contest.

Applications are being accepted now, and through the end of May.

And here’s a challenge for you: the first round is no more than 500 words, which must include (quoting):

  • Description Of The Business: Specifically, what product or service is being sold and to what type of customer? What is the estimated size of the addressable market?
  • Discussion Of The Business Model: How, specifically, does the company earn a profit? (Examples: retail sales, consulting fees, advertising.)
  • Capitalization: How is the business funded? (Examples: loans from family and friends, venture capital, bank loans, cash flow from operations.)
  • Differentiators: How is the business different from–or better than–the competition? Why do people want or need this product or service? What is the company’s sustainable competitive advantage? If the business is technology-based, has a relevant patent or license been secured?
  • Years Of Relevant Experience: For how long, and in what capacity, have you and your management team been involved in the industry?
  • Your Plan For Using The $100,000 Prize Money: This is critical! Briefly but specifically describe how you would invest the largesse to take your business to the next level. (Examples: new equipment, new people, more marketing, etc.)

For more information, visit the Forbes.com website.

— Tim Berry
President
Palo Alto Software

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.