I delivered a workshop last week to members of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber organise an annual Business Awards every year and don't always get the volumes of participants they would like from their 1500 membership.
Many companies feel they are too small, don't do enough; will never win against the big boys….. Not true, have a read of the Top Tips below, and remember Central government spent an unprecedented £11.4 billion with small and medium-sized enterprises in 2013 to 2014, over a quarter of spend now goes to SMEs.
READ THE CATEGORY/SELECTION CRITERIA CAREFULLY AND ANSWER THE QUESTIONS
This sounds obvious but it is surprising how many people cram in information but don’t actually answer the question being asked.
- Don’t make the reader wait until the final page to discover why your business and your application deserves to win. Hit the reader harder at the start with a strong introductory paragraph outlining your key achievements.
- Don’t lose the reader in wall to wall text. Short, punchy paragraphs help create an impactful read.
- Use the active voice WILL not CAN.
- Ensure you don’t use your industry speak/jargon.
- Don’t ignore the word limits, the judges will cut off when the limit is reached and if your killer line is at the end and over the word count, it won’t count!
WHY ARE YOU DIFFERENT? Explain what is different about your organisation and how you have tailored your services/products to meet your customer’s unique needs. A sure-fire way of making an award entry shine is focusing on why the work was different.
ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS, WHY DO THEY USE YOU? – WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT YOUR SERVICE/PRODUCT? How often do we stop to ask our current customers, “Why do you spend your money with us”? Do this exercise and find out what your customers think of you and your staff.
ENSURE YOU HAVE TESTIMONIALS TO BACK UP YOUR CLAIMS OF BRILLIANCE. Positive testimonials and your clients backing up what your achievements are useful evidence. Every time you make a claim, quantify it and substantiate it with evidence.
CHECK IT AND GET SOMEONE ELSE TO CHECK IT. Find a strong proofreader in your organisation to check the entry before it is submitted. Typos and spelling mistakes won’t leave a good impression.