These days there are many different opportunities to enter business awards, industry awards and other awards relating to specific skills or types of business. If you haven’t ventured into this area yet, it’s worth taking a look at.
Start local – there are usually business awards for your nearest city, town or perhaps county in several categories. There are even awards for start-ups, so you don’t have to have many years of trading to call on.
Doing an online search for ‘business awards essex’ (if you’re based in Essex) or for ‘PR awards’ if you’re in the PR industry will produce a good list to start out.
Some awards have an entry fee, while others are free.
Get your entry right
Read the entry criteria carefully.
Enter the right categories. Don’t enter an award you aren’t well-qualified for or you’re likely to be disappointed. For instance, if you’re looking to enter marketing awards, ensure they are for businesses, not for the marketing agencies.
Research the last winner and who made the shortlist. How do you match up to them?
Understand what the process is. Most awards start with a written narrative or written answers to questions, but some involve a visit from the judges for short-listed entrants.
Answer the questions asked – not the one you would have liked to have been asked. When you’ve written your answer review it in relation to the question and make sure your answer is well-targeted.
Even if you’re completing an online form always write your entry in Word and keep a copy. Firstly, it will give you a word count – and if they say 200 words max, don’t send in 250. Secondly, keeping what you’re written somewhere accessible means that you have material you can edit for future submissions, instead of having to start from scratch.
Work to meet the deadline comfortably. Awards are judged and presented at different times of year. Sometimes this year’s awards aren’t presented until early next year, sometimes they are presented early in the year. Don’t leave it until the last minute or your presentation is likely to be rushed and not as good as it could be.
Keep a list with the award category, the awarding body, the deadlines, a link to online forms or information pages, the date of the presentation event (if there is one) etc. This will make it easy to keep up with what needs to be done if you are aiming to enter more than one.
The well-known radio station ‘What’s In It For Me?’! Why bother going to the effort of entering an award? Winning an award is validation of your business having reached a high standard for the award category.
- It’s reassuring for potential customers to see you’ve won a recognised award – even a local one.
- It can be inspiring for your staff to know they’re working for a successful company – and may provide an opportunity for a staff night out to the award ceremony!
- It will get you press coverage as a winner (or even if you make the short-list) and maybe an opportunity to be interviewed by local press or industry journals.
Then it’s up to you – you can add it to your stationery, website, email signature, brochures, etc.