TOO few companies see any success from their business awards entries, says a leading organiser.
They fail to learn the basics and miss out on the benefits, when all they need to do is follow a few simple checks and balances.
Satisfying the entry requirements of a well-run business awards ceremony can be thought-provoking, time-consuming, expensive, and jolly hard work.
Even so, many companies find it a fruitless task, as their entries are eliminated and fail to gain any mention in dispatches.
For those reasons, they miss out on the collateral benefits and the business they can generate from a competent entry, and many fail to participate at all.
Steven Crohill, organiser of the North West Finance Awards, says it’s easy to get right, but also very easy to get wrong.
He says: “In the five years I’ve been organising these awards, we’ve seen all the common mistakes, but it’s easy to avoid them, if you just organise yourself before compiling your entry.
“An awards success is a hugely valuable marketing tool. It’s an endorsement of your business from among your peers.
“Being able to say your competitors recognise the standard of your work – that is as good as it gets.”
Getting on to the shortlist, says Steven, is down to a few good points, which should always be followed.
“There’s a very good way to make your entry as judge-friendly as possible,” he says.
“Read through the categories with care. Over the years, the North West Finance Awards have made it simple by bulleting the most important qualities, but, if the organisers haven’t done that, simply take each sentence a make it into a separate point.
“Paste these into your entry submission to help you concentrate on filling in the most relevant details needed to impress the judges.”
There’s a whole catalogue of common errors and Steven thinks he’s seen just about all of them. So many applications fall at the first hurdle, he says it’s important to get the basics right.
Steve’s awards checklist…
> understand what you’re entering and stay on category
> keep your entry relevant
> include relevant details, name and company contacts
> say the basics, don’t assume the panel know your company inside out
> ensure the information supplied is fact not fiction, backed up with evidence
> make written submissions clear and make it easy for the judges to spot success
> have your application reviewed before submitting
> if presenting live – rehearse
> quantify your achievements and fully describe their context
> don’t leave entry to the last minute, for all the obvious reasons
> don’t know? Ask the organisers. The worst questions are the ones left unasked
> don’t exceed limits on word count, file size, images, duration
> above all – don’t miss the submission deadline
“The big question to ask yourself is if you really are up for the award,” says Steven.
“If you want to see some return on effort, be sure you really feel you can compete, and the category is something you really believe you could win.
“That’s the sort of attitude that comes across in any written submission, and will be picked up by the judges.
“Good luck, and, if you follow this template, you’ll be in with a much better chance of walking away with a gong, a shortlisting or, at the very least, a much better esteem of your own abilities and confidence.”
Steven’s checklist is online at www.nwfinanceawards.co.uk.
Steven Crohill is available for interview in print and on air. Contact Simon Walton, NWFA public relations manager, on p01578 760686 / m07540 313018 / e firstname.lastname@example.org. Images available.
The fifth annual North West Finance Awards take place on 25 September, at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton.
Nominations close on 25 July.
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