5 Tips for Entering Your Business into Awards
You can’t win a business award if you’re not on the shortlist; here’s five ways to get your company there
Awards can offer businesses industry recognition and endorsement, national and local press, personal validation, and benefit your business’ brand and reputation. They can also introduce you to important contacts and networks that will contribute to your business later down the line.
After all the hard work you and your team have contributed in order to build a creditable and profitable business, it’s now time for its potential to be recognized and for your staff to be filled with pride and for your firm to have an award to impress and attract customers.
But before you can start basking in the recognition, you must convince the judging panel that you deserve it. And before your name comes out of the golden envelope on awards night, you’ve got to get it somewhere else – the shortlist.
Here’s five ways you can make your company’s entry get into the nominations and stand out to judges…
Begin by focusing on your business’ success in facts
Start your entry with the specifics that matter most: your turnover, sales growth, the costs you saved, and the number of new customers you have successfully acquired – the sort of facts people often build up to slowly when they write.
Judges are busy people; they’ll be reading your entry on the train home, in-between meetings or over their Saturday-morning coffee. So get to the interest parts quickly; telling them straightaway why you deserve a spot on the shortlist, and leave the background for later.
Tell them the story behind your business
Now you’ve got the judge interested, keep them hooked. Tell them the story of how you ended up with this (hopefully) award-winning outcome. What was life like before? What obstacles did you overcome? Did you get it right first time, or learn along the way? Tell them why you became an entrepreneur and how your business has survived the obstacles to become a successful company.
Build suspense and make it so engaging the judge might just miss their stop on the train.
Be yourself and forget the business-speak
“We leveraged cross-functional synergies; we cascaded messages effectively; we registered a significant sales uplift.” When people write at work, they feel the need to use phrases like this to sound ‘professional’. But when judges read them, they’ll zone out – especially if they’ve already read them in the five entries before yours.
Imagine your entry is a transcript of your conversation with the judge. How would you talk to them face to face? Chances are you wouldn’t say your business leveraged cross-functional synergies or registered a sales uplift. You’d say you made the most of all your teams’ skills, or saw sales go through the roof. Shedding the business-speak will help you build a personal connection with the judge.
Humans connect with humans, not corporate robots. So read your entry out loud and see if you sound like you.
Don’t just tell them, show them your business’ success
What’s more important than saying your work’s amazing? The judge thinking your work’s amazing. And to make them do that, you’ll need to give evidence rather than adjectives. What makes your service ‘world leading’ or your expertise ‘unrivalled’? Give examples of how this in evident in your business; from press coverage to turnover figures, showcase your success with evidence.
Focus on how your company’s entry is presented
We’ve all had those emails that make us sigh. Dense blocks of text that just go on and on, they feel like hard work before you’ve even started reading them. You won’t win over any judges if they’re rolling their eyes at the very sight of your entry.
So make the most of the white space on the page; use subheadings and bullet points, don’t be afraid of one-line paragraphs and make sure the text is interesting, well-structured and grammatically correct.
Successful businesses have at least a few awards under their belts and in today’s business world there is a variety of awards for different sectors; any of which could be your ticket to instance recognition and publicity. Just make sure to get your entry right.
If interested in entering your business into an awards, then check out our sister site Startups.co.uk’s awards and index for businesses that have running for three years or under, or for entrepreneurs who own more established companies there’s the Young Gun awards.
This article was written by business author Jan Dekker of The Writer.