Small Business Could Win $20,000 Please act now by sending the notice below to your members. The deadline for entries is Jan. 11. No purchase is necessary and entering is easy. All your members have to do is create a 2–minute (or shorter) video telling the story of their small business–the dream, the ups and downs, the challenges and victories, the tears and laughter. The contest encourages the use of smartphones to shoot the video. Even if they don’t win, your members who enter the contest will have a new marketing tool to help raise awareness of their business. For contest details, go to //aka.ms/smallbizcontest. Use the notice below to alert your members to this opportunity. Attention Small Businesses: Make a 2-minute (or shorter) video about your company and win $20,000! Microsoft’s Small Business Contest is open to all businesses with fewer than 250 employees. You must have been operating for six months and be privately held. There are no other entry requirements, no fees and no purchases necessary. Entrants are encouraged to use smart phones to make their video entries. Microsoft wants the story of your business–your dream, the ups and downs, the challenges and victories, the tears and the laughter. All you have to do is tell your business story in 2 minutes or less, upload your video to YouTube, and fill out the entry form at //aka.ms/smallbizcontest. Only one entry per company. Get started now: the deadline for entries is Jan. 11. Video on a shoestring budget: Tips and Tricks This contest encourages the use of smartphones to make your video. If you take a little extra care, (and spend a few dollars on accessories), your final video will have professional polish. Start by using a microphone wired to your phone. When you’re shooting, your phone should be steadied, preferably on a tripod. Finally, use inexpensive video editing software to trim your shots and give the final product some professional-looking finishing touches. Microphone, $25 Small Tripod/smartphone holder, $25 or Smartphone tripod adapter, $15 with Tripod, $25 Video editing software $5 to $20: For Mac, iMovie on the ipad and iphone plus wifi transfer app on ipad and iphone For Android, Vidtrim pro or Andromedia Video Editor And finally: Your entry may not include any third party trademarks (logos, names) or copyrighted materials (music, images, video, recognizable people) unless you have obtained permission to use those materials. If you wish, you may include Microsoft trademarks, logos, and designs, for which Microsoft grants you a limited license to use for the sole purpose of submitting an entry to this contest. View all the contest rules and follow the Twitter conversation with hashtag #MSSmallBizContest.