In just over a month the Techies Awards 2020 will be open for entries. We can’t wait to make the award scheme even bigger (and better) next year, putting the spotlight on our area’s most innovative and exciting tech firms.
Ahead of the big day (Monday 6th January 2020), we thought we’d team up with one of Swindon and Wiltshire’s biggest award winners, Purpol Marketing’s Denise O’Leary to get her top tips for entering and winning awards. These tips are based on Denise’s new book, Winner – How to Win Business Awards.
Many business owners and small businesses dream of the profile they could create and look on in admiration at other award winners. Lack of confidence is an often-cited problem for small businesses alongside limited time and resources. The process for winning awards is very similar to Denise’s proven formula for winning bids – each award entry needs to be treated as a bespoke marketing campaign.
Promote your USP: Unique Selling Point
Every company will be different – you have got to determine what your company USP is – this is the Unique Selling Point that makes you stand out and makes your business memorable. This is the content you need to focus on to make your entry impactful.
What do you want to be known for? Pick the most relevant award and category to enter.
Evidence is essential – Get client testimonials
Award entries give you the opportunity to document your achievements, but if you haven’t done yourself justice on that entry form, they can’t give you the credit, even if they are already aware of your business. Evidence is key, and what they might already know about you cannot be considered unless it is presented. If someone outside the business has realised you are good and has been prepared to go on the record to say so, it is far more powerful than if you, as a business, say how good you are.
Tailor your entries for ultimate success
Each award is likely to be judged individually, so we would always recommend that you tackle each award independently. The key to winning awards is in meeting and exceeding the criteria as best you can, every award entry must be bespoke and tailored in content and language to match the award category you are entering. Check the entry criteria – Do they have a minimum turnover requirement? Who took home the trophy in previous years?
Visualise that win
Understand why you want to win. When you know this, it will educate you as to the process you have to follow and the awards you will want to target to enter. Build an Award Calendar – Finding the right awards to enter can be time-consuming, but the good news is that most are an annual occurrence. So rather than having to do the leg work each year, build yourself a calendar that includes the details, due dates, etc. This will make it easier for you to target the ones you want.
Always be honest with your entry. Don’t lie, make up figures or avoid mentioning something that the general business community will know about you. If you’ve had a challenging year, say so. Follow that up with why it was a challenge, what you learned and explain how you are going to increase your efforts or refocus the next time. The judges for your awards are usually experienced business owners, investors and experts in their fields. This means that they are experienced enough to see through any attempt to cover up your weaknesses. Being sincere and explaining your challenges is very powerful as it shows you are constantly learning.
Do you have the capacity to win?
Almost certainly yes, provided you choose the right award for your company and dedicate the time to write a compelling entry. There is a myth that only big companies win awards, but this is not true, and you have to be in it to win it.
The book WINNER – How to Win Business Awards, is launching on Amazon on 14th January 2020 and is available to order on: www.winnerhowtowin.com
Visit www.the-techies-sw.co.uk on Monday 6th January 2020 to submit your entry. Entries will remain open until midnight on Friday 3rd April, 2020.