Everybody likes winning prizes, but when it comes to your business, entering awards can be surprisingly profitable.
Consider the benefits if you win:
- You might get a prize. For example, an office makeover.
- Good for staff morale. Including the owner’s!
- Good for PR. Definitely a reason to send out a press release.
- Good for SEO. Get back links from the award site.
- Good for sales. You can put an award on your website and stationery. It’s objective proof that you’re a good business.
- A moment to reflect. Writing an award submission is surprisingly thought-provoking.
- Lifelong hype. Now you’re an “award-winning” business. Forever.
And if you lose? You lose the time you put into completing the application form and perhaps a small application fee. Nothing.
I definitely found this in my own experience. I entered Turbine in the Internet Business Awards last year in a relatively uncontested category and won. Not only did it make me and the team feel pretty chuffed but it gave us some external validation right at the launch of the business and so we put it front and centre on the website.
So, how do you go about applying for awards? Easy:
- Research potential awards. For starters, consider The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, regional awards, Startups Awards, Nectar Small Business Awards, Growing Business Awards, Smart 100 Awards and this list of different awards.
- Write some standard copy that you can reuse in your applications, for example to describe your business and your back story. This will make it quicker and easier to fill out application forms.
- Look at the website and previous winners to get a better idea of what the judges are looking for and to understand the entry criteria
- Get a friendly critic to review the entries for typos and so on.
- Apply early and often. Be organised and disciplined about your schedule so you have enough time to complete the forms on time.
- I’m a writer by choice and vocation so I don’t find the thought of writing an award application daunting in any way; but if you do, consider getting outside help. For example there are specialists in the field and a PR company could also help.