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!

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