Winning business awards has so many upsides:
They raise your personal profile and the profile of your business; clients or customers like it as they are associated with you; it’s great for the morale of your staff; and it attracts new employees and potential investment. It’s great for your corporate CV.
If you ask anyone who’s entered an award, even if they didn’t win, they will tell you how much they benefited from the process. Entering awards forces you to take stock, to recognise what you have achieved, and where you are heading.
So if you are interested in entering business awards, what can you do to maximise your opportunity for success?
Well, judges are looking for people or companies who are making progress in their field, who are delivering great outcomes to others, or who have overcome challenges to get where they are now.
So, when writing a business award nomination, the three key elements for success are:
Make time for your entry.
Awards have long lead times, so you don’t have to write your business award entry all in one go. In fact, it’s a good idea to go through a number of drafts. I advise people to read through the entry form very carefully over a coffee and to jot down notes for each answer which they can flesh out later. You’ll have to provide some data, such as financial records, referees, perhaps a business plan, and these things can take time to pull together.
Write in the first person.
If you are entering as an individual, even if you are an employee, use ‘I’: I achieved this…, I introduced that… If it is the company that is entering, use ‘we’: we achieve this…, we introduced that… This makes it more personal; as if you are talking directly to the reader. Some business award entry criteria will ask you to write in the first person anyway. In business, we’re not used to writing so personally, which can be confronting for some. So relax and enjoy your opportunity to shine.
That means being honest and frank. When asked about challenges or successes, explain what you did and how you overcame the challenge or what you did to achieve the success. And importantly, describe the outcomes for you, your business or employer, customers or clients or colleagues. Keep your explanation straightforward: state the information in a matter of fact way. It’s not about boasting, or embellishing your words; it’s about being yourself. Equally, don’t be overly modest – you need to set out your achievements and how you’ve made a difference.
Most of all, have fun. Enjoy the look back at your achievements and your future journey.