Having written more than 50 business award submissions this year, our team is well-placed to share how winning a business award can help grow your business in 2022. With that in mind, we share the following tips to help you prepare for the 2022 business awards you’d like to enter.
What would winning a business award do for your business?
Most business owners want to win a business award for one or more of these reasons:
- Generates great exposure for your business
- Builds your authority
- Attract more clients
- Drives greater demand for your products and services
- Enables you to increase prices
- Attracts your ideal clients
If you’re thinking of entering a business award in 2022, now is the time to start planning. It’s important to be strategic and know your intended outcome. Throwing together a submission at the last minute is rarely successful.
Research suitable awards now
Do your research. Find out which business awards are running in your local area or within your industry. It’s a good idea to start local or industry-based before entering major national awards.
Identify which award you wish to enter. If possible, find out the questions which were asked in 2021 and start to plan out how you might answer similar questions in 2022.
Look at who won the category/ies you wish to enter this year. What have they done to stand out? Check out their website, social media etc. to gauge how competitive you could be against such a business.
Start collating information
Create a “swipe file” where you can store information on your computer. File images, statistics, stories about achievements, anything which may help support your award submission.
Ensure you’re tracking your numbers accurately and that you’re able to demonstrate year-on-year growth and improvement. You don’t always have to disclose the actual numbers, but a graph showing the percentage increase is most helpful. Then we can tell the story behind the numbers.
Ask your staff to monitor client success, document it and keep the information on file, ready for use in your award submission.
Business Plan – Yep, you’re gonna need one!
We’ve interviewed judges to find out what makes a winning submission stand out from the others, and one of the consistent answers is – they have a business plan! Demonstrating that you have a clear roadmap of the next 1 to 5 years is important. It’s about goal setting and detailing how you would implement those plans. An additional aspect of this plan is to have cashflow forecasts in place, to show how you plan to fund your goals.
So, if you don’t already have at least a basic business plan in place, now is the time to map one out, even if it starts as just one page.
Systems and Processes – Do you have them?
Every business should have certain systems and processes in place, but have you documented them? Some awards will ask you to demonstrate how you’ve driven business growth or innovation. It’s often systems and processes which are behind these achievements. Award winners can demonstrate not only the output, but what goes on in their “engine room”.
Be proactive in your community
Depending on the award you wish to enter, often you’re asked about your contribution to community, charity or perhaps whether you mentor younger people within the industry. If you already have these connections, be sure to showcase them on your social media, in a blog post or client newsletter. If you sponsor an event, attend the event and get photos with the organisers and/or winners if it’s a competition of some type, then share those pics.
Update your website and social media
The judges will always ask for links to your website and social media accounts. Make sure your website information is up to date, including current staff members and products or services you offer. Check there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, broken links, images not loading or anything else which may paint a less than favourable picture of your business.
Go review hunting
Ensure you have a Google My Business account set up, then be proactive about asking past clients and current clients to write positive reviews for you. It’s a good idea to do this as part of your business process anyway, as social proof in the form of reviews and testimonials is an important point of reference for your prospective customers.
If your audience is mainly on Facebook, proactively follow up with buyers or clients to request a Facebook review. The same applies to LinkedIn.
You can also use these reviews on your website (with the permission of the author).
What are your reasons for entering a business award?
- To win!
Of course, most people focus on winning a business award, however, we emphasise to our clients that it’s a great honour even to be shortlisted as a finalist in your category, geographic area, regional area, state and/or in Australia. You can certainly leverage your finalist status too!
To acknowledge how far you’ve come in business
Completing a business awards entry is like an audit of your business. After completing our collaborative awards writing process, many of our clients comment on feeling proud of their achievements. They also rave about how helpful our experience and knowledge are in helping to draw out the relevant information and tell their story in an engaging way – often within a limited word count!
To boost your profile
There’s nothing like winning an award – or being shortlisted as a finalist – to raise your profile. The recognition can stretch from your team to your local area, regional area, state or even Australia-wide.
To celebrate your team’s efforts
Many of our clients want to celebrate the enormous effort their team puts into the success of their business. Entering a business award is a great way to do this. It’s helpful to ask your team for their input during the information-gathering phase. In some circumstances, a senior team member may lead the submission compilation process.
Once you become a finalist, taking your team along to the awards night is a great way to acknowledge and celebrate their contribution to your business’ success.
We trust this information has prompted you to think about entering a business award in 2022. Should you require any assistance with crafting your answers to the award questions or writing about your business to portray it in its best light, we invite you to reach out to us.
If you found these tips helpful, please like and/or share them with your business associates or LinkedIn connections.
Other blog posts we’ve published on business awards include: The Best Australian Business Awards to Enter in 2021, How to Write a Winning Business Awards Entry and Top Professional Tips for Winning Business Awards.