Annette Densham is co-founder of The Audacious Agency, specializing in award-winning profile building, branding and business awards.
Incredible business award submissions are prepared months before the open date. Helping your organization stand out starts and ends with collating and gathering substantiating information ahead of time so that when it’s time to submit for the award, you already feel like a winner.
You might have heard, “Prior planning prevents poor performance.” This means getting your house in order, so you’re prepared for all possibilities and not overwhelmed chasing your tail. Planning also means you have put thought into where you’re going and what you’re doing. My company provides award submission assistance, and I’ve seen that when it comes to entering business awards, leaving things to the last minute is a great way to ensure you don’t get the results for which you’re looking.
Entering awards is more than throwing down a few words in the entry form. Awards require you to justify your claims. This means that if you’re sharing your achievements over a 12-month period, you have to be able to substantiate the why, how and what of your accomplishments.
Start by determining which awards your business is going to enter in the next 12 months. Map these out in your calendar, working backward from the closing date to the opening date for each award, to assess how much time you will need to dedicate to crafting your submission. Allow at least five to 10 hours (depending on the award size) to write your submission and collate your supporting documentation.
Once you know what’s coming up, you can then start gathering the data you need to give to the judges showcasing your innovation, accomplishments and results. This planning should include reviewing where your business is at and where you want to be (otherwise known as setting your goals and objectives).
To do this, I recommend reviewing seven areas of your business. How many questions can you answer?
1. People: Do you have the team you need? Are you keeping track of reviews and testimonials? Do you or your people need more training? Do you have time allocated to work on your business? Are you keeping track of your successes and wins?
2. Product: Do your offerings need reviewing, and can you add anything to the sales mix? What’s the feedback on your offering? How’s your pricing, and does your content reflect what you offer? Do you keep track of sales and other data that reflects your growth? What do you need to tweak? How do you market it, and is it working?
3. Profit: How’s your sales process? Does your funnel need adjusting? Do you keep monthly stats on growth? What’s your most profitable product or service? Can you clearly show how your business is doing financially?
4. Performance: How do you show up in the marketplace? Engagement and interactions matter. What are your stats and insights from Google My Business, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms?
5. Profile: What’s your PR like? For example, what podcasts have you been on? Have you entered or won any awards already, written articles or appeared in the media? How do you show up online? How often do you blog or post? Does your public image need updating? Has your website become a static billboard? Have you put links on your website, email and other places showcasing your PR wins? How’s your messaging?
6. Process: What can be automated to make life easier? How/where can you allocate time to market your business? Do you have a system to keep track of your metrics and wins?
7. Impact: Who do you help? Why are you involved in the community? Do you donate your time? Do you have corporate social responsibility programs? If so, what are its results and outcomes?
This might sound like a lot of content to prepare, but if you create a checklist and work on one item at a time, soon, you could have your business house ready to rumble. As you go through the list above, take note of the gaps and make a checklist. Then, create a folder in the cloud or on your computer under the seven headings, and start moving information into each folder. Every time you’re able to answer one of these questions and fill in a gap, file that information away so you don’t have to scramble to find it. In doing so, you will have at your fingertips, in one place, all the information you need to add to an awards submission.