Business awards are a brilliant and cost effective way to promote your business and your brand.
And yet I work with so many who tell me they never enter into any because “you won’t get any extra sales” or that it’s just “for vanity”
Firstly, business awards are usually free to enter. The caveat to this, is that you would be expected to buy a ticket to attend the awards night if you were shortlisted and the cost of this can be anywhere from £50 to £200. However, this is a small price for the PR and visibility your business receives as a result of being shortlist even if you don’t win.
“Some of the most valuable and long-lasting contacts I have made in business, were forged over a mutual appreciation of a good red wine and a trip outside in pursuit of a smoking area at an awards ‘do’!”
And if you win?
Being able to call your business ‘Award-winning’ (and if you win more than one, multiple Award-Winning!) lends credibility to what you have achieved, which can be priceless in a crowded market place. And the coverage you can receive from the back of an award might be worth thousands in paid-for advertising. Even though it is over eight years since I won the prestigious and national Natwest Everywoman Award, my name, and photo remains indexed in Google upon sites such as Marie Claire, Manchester Evening News, local news sites and a number of business publications. Even now, when people are considering whether to work with me they Google my name and see from a reliable source that my credentials are accurate and true.
So which awards should you enter?
If you are a female business owner, I would highly recommend an entry into the Eva Awards which is open for entry for a little while longer (not long, so be quick) but there are also some brilliant national awards, not to mention Red Rose Awards, the Bibas and many others for Lancashire business owners.
Some categories have less competition than others. If you are lucky enough to qualify for a ‘Young Entrepreneur’ category (usually under 25 or under 30) there is generally speaking, fewer eligible businesses competing in that category. And although it may be controversial to say so, the quality is often much poorer than in other categories. In my experience, start-up categories receive a great many applications but often do not have the commercial performance to really wow the judges – in some instances, they do not even know their basic financials such as turnover, gross profit and net profit. There are of course exceptions, and if you are a start-up with a great product, great story and have a good grasp of your commercials and strategy you are already miles ahead of the competition.
Is it all about profit?
Not always! I have seen many great businesses win multiple awards, who are openly loss making due to being in their infancy. In these instances, profits might be overlooked if turnover is showing real traction and you have a forward strategy to grow. Some awards place greater focus on the ethos of the award (community, job creation, the ‘story’ of the business) than its commercial performance.
5 Top Tips in Writing your Award Application
- Carefully read the eligibility rules and the ‘ethos’ of the award you are entering
- Look at previous winners in that category to get a flavour for what might have impressed the judges
- Know your financials for this year, last year and next year (at the very least!)
- Your story and vision is important, but don’t let it eclipse the business credentials.
- Be sure to clearly demonstrate in your application how you business is commercially viable. A business that cannot be monetised is just a hobby! Even if you aren’t making money yet, the judges need to have a clear appreciation of how it will make money in the future and how scaleable it really is.
If you would prefer to hand over the application writing to someone else, we have a great track record of writing award applications for clients (currently a 100% success rate in at least being short listed! Although I am sure the streak cannot last forever) as well as having won multiple awards myself.
Obviously we cannot guarantee you will be short list for an award application we write, but we have a pretty good idea of what makes a compelling application through research and experience. Costs vary but typically this service costs around £75.00 per application.