Woman business owner receiving business awardWinning a business award raises your profile and increases your self-worth while creating new opportunities for you and your business. Plus applying for business awards is a great process that allows you to involve your team in understanding and celebrating what makes your business truly special.

You can never have too many awards!

All the same, like most things in life quality and not quantity should be your aim. So be particular where you put your time and effort into applying for a business award. Do your own research and find award opportunities that will support your business goals.

Here’s my top 10 guidelines to preparing your business award winning application.

1. Preparation is critical
Here is where you should spend the majority of your time because once you’ve done the preparation actually completing the application will me a snap. Check over the questions on the application and make a list of all the reference material, pictures, evidence and testimonials you have, or perhaps need to create and get them organised.

2. Keep answers on point
This is critical, read each question carefully and make sure you understand what’s required before you answer it. Make sure you provide only what’s relevant and stick to the point. Now is not the time to waffle on with interesting but irrelevant information.

3. Be honest
Answer each question with the truth and not as you would like it to be. Remember you might be mystery shopped and found lacking which will only do you harm. You can turn a negative into a positive by identifying a current weakness that you are working on to improve your results.

4. Make it interesting
Stories are a great way to engage the reader and deliver information that otherwise could be tedious and bore the pants of the judges. Use this technique to make your point and stand out. It works!

5. Share challenges you overcame
Business is rarely (if ever) all smooth sailing so engage the judges by sharing a critical time in your business journey. One that could have derailed you but didn’t because of the action you took to overcome it. Evidence of your staying power will count with the judges.

6. Don’t skip questions
Sounds obvious doesn’t it. But believe it or not it’s not uncommon for people to simply skip a question. Most applications have a grade allocated to each question. In fact sometimes judges are allocated only part of the application so may not see the total entry. If you skip a question you’ll certainly lose marks that will cost you a win.

7. Add images
Unless images are not permitted, use pictures and images to demonstrate and illustrate the points you’re making. It’s true, a picture paints a thousand words and can also support the written word by way of evidence.

8. Include social proof
Social proof is any fact, external comment or testimonial to validate you, your services or products and should be used to the full extent. Where appropriate use hyperlinks to online material.

9. Highlight successes
Now is not the time to hide your light under a bushel. Blow your own horn and highlight previous successes. Give as much detail as you need to demonstrate your achievement. And include as many highlights as warranted. They all count!

10. Let the judges know why your business is a winner
What really sets you apart from other businesses? That’s what the judges will be looking for so make sure it’s easy to find and “SEE” yourself accepting the award!

Here’s a bonus tip and one I’ve used to great effect. Even with an online application it’s worth your while to print out a couple of hard copies and bind them into a presentation. You can include hard copies of your marketing materials, photos etc and deliver them by hand or post.

One final point, when all is said and done, doing great work is no guarantee you’ll win the award. Your job is to write the best award submission you possibly can to demonstrate to the judges exactly why you should win. Their job is to judge, not to do any of the work for you so make sure you don’t leave anything out. Follow all the rules.

And know too that simply by entering you’re already ahead of the game and have a great chance to become a finalist or better still, a business award winner. Good luck!

Google AlertsThere are very few free tools as powerful, yet simple as the Google Alerts service. You can think of it as your own automated, fully customised search engine service because that’s what it is. Google Alerts is a service that generates search engine results, based on criteria decided by you. And delivers the results to your e-mail account on a frequency that suits you.

And while some on the Internet may use it to monitor their children, celebrity gossip or current trends, it’s actually a powerful business tool that is both easy and free to set up AND can provide you with meaningful, results to boost your business. There’s no limit to the number of individual alerts you can set up but take care not to overload your inbox!

Here are 10 important ways Google Alerts can help you boost your business:

  1. Monitor your brand and your reputation. You’ll want to set up alerts for your business name, your personal name, website and blog names, product names and any other names unique to your business – especially your Trademarks, so you can monitor what is being said about you on the Internet. This gives you an opportunity to respond, express thanks and give links to your work.
  2. Track when other websites link to yours. If you set up your alert with the format link:www.yourdomain.com, you will be notified of any new links going to your site. These backlinks are very valuable in helping your site rank well in the search engines.
  3. Monitor the use of your content. You will want to know if your articles, blog posts or other content is being used elsewhere on the Internet so that you can be sure it is being properly credited to you and to participate in the conversations. Simply set up a Google Alert for each item using a distinctive sentence you have written.
  4. Do research. If you are studying a certain topic, using alerts on the important terms will give you a wealth of information and reading material.
  5. Track your clients. Start a Google alert for your best customers and clients so you don’t miss important news or developments in their businesses.
  6. Track your competitors. You can gain valuable ideas and notice trends if you have alerts set up for other brands in your niche. This will also allow you to monitor more of what your niche audience is interested in.
  7. Monitor niche key words. You want to stay on top of the news and the issues for your target market and setting alerts for key words in your area will help you do just that.
  8. Monitor your own website security. Spammers and hackers actually will insert their links into other people’s websites. Use an alert set up in this format to keep track of whether this has happened to you: site:www.yourdomain.com Viagra OR Cialis OR <otherspamword>. The words that you monitor are up to you, but these are two common ones.
  9. Find guest blogging opportunities. Many blogs that use guest posts have a page explaining that process. You can find these opportunities with an alert using one of your topical keywords (such as “weight loss”) and one of these phrases (with quotes): “submit guest post” or “become a contributor” or “write for us” or “bloggers wanted.”
  10. Discover new niches and trends. The asterisk (*) symbol in an alert works like it does in search and serves as a wildcard that can stand for any term. So an alert for “new * this year” or “new * 2018” will give you these types of results.

The good news is Google Alerts are quick and easy to set up with this 6 step process….

  1. Go to google.com/alerts in your browser.
  2. Enter a search term for the topic you want to track. …
  3. Choose “Show Options” to narrow the alert to a specific source, language, and/or region.
  4. Enter the email address to deliver results to …
  5. Select Create Alert.
  6. Rinse & repeat with your next search term

It’s also a good idea to review these regularly and add or delete topics as your needs or interests change.

 

 

 

 

A woman hitting the money glass ceilingWondering how to tell if you’ve hit the money glass ceiling?

The path to abundance is strewn with roadblocks that can keep diverting you from reaching and enjoying the richness in your life and business that is your birthright.

If you’ve found yourself stuck at roughly the same income level no matter how hard you work or what you do then chances are you’ve hit your self imposed money glass ceiling.

This glass ceiling is an invisible barrier that you co-created and inherited from your family and other significant people from your childhood then re-enforced over your lifetime.

Money is simply a mirror of how much you value yourself and how much you are prepared to show up in your life.  This is reflected in the amount you are willing to receive.  No-where is this more tested than when running your own business.

And the reason you feel trapped and find yourself repeating the same patterns over and over again is because these beliefs are buried deep and lurking in your sub-conscious.  That’s why knowing this intellectually is not enough because it is your subconscious that is really running the show.

Consciously and logically you know you are skilled, experienced, and capable of so much more yet you fall short of your own expectations so begin to question and doubt that you can achieve your goals.

The good news is it is totally within your control to change your negative beliefs and heal your relationship with money.  The little known secret to increase your net-worth is to increase your self-worth.

It is our self-worth perception that holds us back or spurs us forward.  This is why all the efforting you engage in is often frustrating and fruitless if deep down you don’t truly believe you are worthy of being paid what you are worth.

Also be alert to the notion that how you do money is how you do everything.

Like peeling back the layers of an artichoke to get to the heart of the matter you can start identifying the negative beliefs you hold about yourself and eliminate them one by one, replacing them with empowering beliefs instead.

There are 4 emotional undercurrents to be aware of.

  • rejection
  • fear
  • guilt
  • shame

Remember, it is your thoughts that create your emotions and how you feel creates your actions which in turn affect your outcomes.

In the moment, when you notice feelings come up that cause you tightness or restriction – stop and ask yourself “What am I telling myself that is making me uncomfortable”?  Listening to your answer will unearth the disempowering belief that is likely to be driving your actions.

For example, a common limiting belief (especially for women) is the recurring theme of “I’m not good enough”.  A more empowering belief would be “I’m perfect, right now, just as I am”.

If you really want to breakthrough your money glass ceiling, heal your relationship with money and increase abundance in all areas of your life, including your business then cleaning up your mindset is a critical place to start.  Get started today!