In our global marketplace winning an award for your business achievements is one of the most effective ways to gain the competitive edge in your industry and show the world why they should buy from, trade with, and work for YOU.
So with all these great benefits, there’s good reason to spend time and effort winning over the judges. But where do you start and what really makes a winning award entry? Take these five steps to winning awards and you could become a winner at the Chamber Business Awards.
1. Pick the right category: If you don’t run in the right race, you don’t stand a chance of winning. So start with a good old-fashioned notepad and pen and brainstorm your past year’s business highlights with your team. What are you most proud of achieving and who was connected to that project? Write down the key projects, milestones, names and results. You will soon see the standout ideas that lead to a category that’s a natural fit for your achievements.
2. Keep your eye on the prize: Print the category criteria and read it carefully, underlining and highlighting the keywords to help you maintain your focus before you start writing. And don’t be tempted to start writing in the online entry form, write your draft entry in a word document that you can edit later. Look at the keywords in the questions and use them in your answers, ticking them off as you go along – this will help you stick to the criteria and reduce the chances of going off at a tangent or adding distracting information.
3. Tell your unique story: Think back to why you started your business in the first place. What were your hopes and dreams? How did you want your customers to feel? What would make you different? Tell the story of your success using real-life case studies; start with the goal, move on to your methods, highlight the challenges faced, and talk about how you delivered outstanding results. And don’t save your most exciting points to last – grab the judge’s attention with your headline achievements.
4. Don’t forget the data: Every winning award entry has the facts and figures to back up the story. Collect quantitative evidence of your success and build this clearly into your entry. Show how your financial growth can be attributed to your successful projects; outline investments and explain how they will drive future growth; show how profits are growing as well as turnover; and don’t forget all other available metrics such as improved NPS scores, survey results, social-media statistics and employee numbers.
5. Let your entry breathe: Don’t be tempted to submit the first draft of your entry; let it breathe. After a couple of days look at your entry again and start editing. Cut out meaningless fluff, delete superlatives, remove jargon, explain acronyms, shorten long sentences and run a spell-check. Now read it aloud, how does it sound? If you stumble over a point, keep editing; write as you speak and make every sentence matter. Now share it with someone who knows very little about what you do – how well do they understand your business by the end of it? Repeat step five until your entry is as good as it can possibly be. Now, and only now, are you ready to press submit. Good luck!