Last weekend marked the annual kickoff for competitive barbeque season for Hidden Fire BBQ, owned by Randy Richter. In honor of the opening days, we bring you barbeque advice that’s oh-so-valid in the proposal world as well. 5) Compete as a team. Delegate duties, and hold each other accountable. If you’re responsible for pork shoulder, take charge of the pork shoulder. Be master of your domain. Expect your team to hold you accountable for the best pork shoulder you can muster, and hold them accountable to their duties as well. Whether it’s managing paperwork, running supplies or turning in the final product, each person has a role to play in the team. That being said, 4) Preparation is of utmost importance. But there’s still a lot of work to be done in the final minutes. Get involved early on. Putting a schedule in place with checkpoints for milestones is of utmost importance. Make sure your team is aware of those milestones. Prioritize duties, and get as much prep work done as possible. Just remember, sometimes final expectations are released late in the game. And you’re always going to have to refine the final product in the last few minutes. Remember, 3) You’re at the mercy of the judges—speak to their needs, and know the criteria. Know the requirements of your contest. All kinds of criteria must be met; make sure you know what they are, and that you’re meeting the specifications placed before you. Because ultimately, 2) Past competitions may earn you a name and recognition, but it’s the final turn-in for this contest that matters most. Past performance is not a think to be discredited. Wonderful achievements are good for business. No one discredits ribs from a five time award winning champ, but if these particular ribs are sub-par, you’re not winning awards this time around. Along those same lines, 1) Make sure you’re turning in the right stuff. If you’re turning in brisket, when you’re supposed to be entering chicken, you won’t do well. Guaranteed.