Build a Business

2013 Build a Business Competition FAQ

How do you calculate the winners?

We determine the winners based on your Highest Gross Sales for your two months with the highest revenue, whether those months are consecutive or not. For example, if your store’s top 2 sales months are October and December, we would calculate your Highest Gross Sales by adding October and December’s sales.

For the competition, we will use the top two calendar months between October 2013 and May, 2014. Please note that for the Gross Sales figure, a store must be open for the entire month in order for that month to be used in the calculation.

Does it matter what Category I choose?

Yes, you must choose the category that best represents your products so that you are competing with people in a similar industry. There will be one winner for each category. In the Canadian competition, there is one winner for the entire country, regardless of their category.

Can I choose which mentor I get the investment from?

The winner of each category will receive an investment from the mentor for that category.

Why is there a separate competition for Canadians?

Canadian law does not allow us to give out cash prizes to winners of a skill-based competition like this. We wanted to include Canadians, but didn’t want to go to jail, so we created a competition specifically for Canadian entrants.

Why are certain states not included in the competition?

These jurisdictions have specific laws that make it difficult or illegal to run competitions like this one.

I’m outside the US, UK, AUS, NZ and Canada, can I still participate?

We welcome you to the competition and you will have full access to the tutorials, guides and videos that we are creating and posting over the Competition Period. However, you will not be eligible for the prizes listed above.

I opened my Shopify store a week ago, can I still enter the competition?

Yes you can. Any Shopify store that was opened after June 1st, 2013 may join the competition. Enter your store URL into the form at and follow the prompts.

I am an existing Shopify customer, can I still enter the competition?

Only stores opened after June 1st, 2013 may participate in the competition. We want a level playing field and existing stores have a big advantage when competing against brand new stores.

You will have full access to the tutorials, guides and videos that we are creating and posting over the Competition Period and will be able to participate in other giveaways and prizes. Enter your store URL into the form at and follow the prompts.

What do I need in order to start selling?

All you need to sell products online is Shopify, something to sell and a credit card to pay for your online store (once you’ve completed your free trial).

Can I use my own domain name with my shop?

Yes! The easiest way to do this is to purchase a domain from Shopify. All the configuration is taken care of for you. Go to PREFERENCESDOMAINS & DNS in your store admin to purchase a domain. Shopify can also integrate with an existing domain, just get your domain registrar to point your domain to our servers.

Every eligible entrant also receives a free, 12-month .CO domain registration. You’ll see a link in your Competition Dashboard to redeem this offer.

Where can I discuss tips and techniques with other Shopify users?

We’ve created a special Competition Dashboard just for this year’s competition. From there, you’ll have access to the competition leaderboard, special offers, and important announcements about the competition. There’s also the regular Shopify Forums, which are populated by lots of helpful folks.

Where can I find tutorials and guides?

We’ve created an amazing hub of information to help you find success on Shopify including: detailed tutorials and guides at Shopify University.

Your Competition Dashboard will be your main source of information, but the Shopify Blog also has lots of great content.

What other help is available?

If you have any questions before sign-up, one of our friendly sales people would be happy to answer any of your questions.

Just like every new Shopify customer, you’ll have a Shopify Guru, your very own ecommerce business coach. Your Guru can provide one-on-one help with any questions you have about setting up and running your shop.

Our Support Team is also happy to help you out.

Can you explain more about the trip to New York?

The winners will be flown (along with a guest) to New York, NY for meetings with the mentors. Shopify will cover the flights, hotel and transportation.

Can I move my existing online store over?

Obviously we would love to have your business on Shopify. However, the spirit of this competition is to encourage new businesses to be created. Maybe you already have an idea for a new business that is only semi-related to your existing store? You should try this idea and you will be free to enter the competition with this.

If you are planning to move your existing business to Shopify as well please contact our sales team and we will be able to give you special discounts.

What about a brick and mortar store?

It’s a fantastic time to move your business online. However, much like with existing online stores – see previous point – the spirit of the competition is to encourage new businesses. Moving an existing brick and mortar store online is not going to be a valid new business unless you can clearly demonstrate that you are not taking advantage of the existing offline business.

Is there a maximum order price?

Yes, only the first $5,000 of each order will count towards the competition. We put this rule in place to stop used car sales men from sweeping the competition.

Can I sell Real estate, Pianos, Cars?

Sure thing. However, only the first $5,000 of each order counts towards the competition. Also, you can’t get 100 orders placed by the same person for $5,000 each. We check for this :-)

Can I sell digital goods?

Yes, you can sell digital goods using Shopify, it’s quite easy. You can identify certain items in your store that don’t require shipping addresses and/or taxation. If an order consists of only items that don’t require shipping then Shopify will not ask for a shipping address during the checkout.

If it is software you are selling then we recommend you install Digital Downloads from the Shopify App Store.

Can I sell a combination of affiliate products and your own products through Shopify?

Yes absolutely. In fact we highly encourage our customers to source extra products that round off the product offering. A lot of our customers started by selling just a single product and later on started cross selling related products between their stores for additional sales.

I’m a programmer. Can I extend Shopify with new features?

Yes. This is what we created the Shopify Platform for. The Platform is fairly similar to the Facebook platform and allows you to add all sorts of interesting capabilities to your store. You can check Shopify’s API documentation or browse through existing apps at the Shopify App Store.

Can we use a drop shipper like Shipwire for products?

Yes, Shopify even integrates directly with drop shippers and fulfillment services such as Shipwire, Webgistix and Amazon fulfillment. These services are really the key to fully automate your online store because manual shipping is labor intensive. At Shopify we have something called the App Store, which allows you to add extensions to your store.

Why do you judge based on revenues? Aren’t profit margins a better measure of how healthy a business is?

This is true, but it would be impossible for us to determine profit margins of all the participants. Since revenues are easily trackable, we use them as the measurement of success. This was the best way running the competition without making it overly complicated. Of course, all the information we track for the competition strictly complies with our privacy policy.

Create your business

Sell your product with help from the world’s top entrepreneurs. Sign up today.

Important Competition Details

Competition registration runs from September 16th, 2013 to March 31st, 2014, but you can sign up any time. After you register, only complete calendar months between October 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014 will be used in the calculation of Gross Sales. You don’t need any experience starting or running an online store; Shopify makes it easy.

Still have more questions? View the full Competition Rules or the FAQ for more information. Canadians: Rules and FAQ.