Be an award winning business, you’ve got to be in it to win it

Monday 15 May, 2017

Winning an award in front of your clients, stakeholders and industry peers is one of the most powerful and targeted ways to showcase and strengthen your brand.

Awards communicate your company’s capabilities, your team’s exceptional skills and your commitment to achieving outstanding outcomes.

Why nominate for an award?

  • Boosts reputation and credibility.
  • Boosts confidence.
  • Offers business development opportunities.
  • Enhances your profile.
  • Creates good public relations.

Since 2002 I have written more than 50 award submissions for organisations from a manufacturer, a sports club to an events company, with a 69 percent success rate.

Here are eight tips that have helped these organisations to become award winners:

Tip 1: Consider Is this Award Right for your Business?

There are many awards. Some are national, some state-based and some are local. Consider what your business is good at and who it serves, then select an award that you believe matches with your mission. Start with an award that is local and industry specific, a narrower reach means it is more likely your business will be in the winner’s circle.

Tip 2: Choose The Right Award Category.

While the “Business of the Year” might be tough to win first time out of the blocks, focusing on a category like export or innovation or sustainability may just give you a fighting chance. One key to winning or becoming a finalist is to select a category that might not be popular with other applicants. Think: big fish in a small pond.

Tip 3: Chose The Right Calendar Date To Apply.

Many business awards are open during the middle of the calendar year. Popular months are July to October. It is “award season”. Many awards panels avoid the Christmas and New Year period to host their business awards. However, this could work in your favour. If you choose an award that has a closing date in January many applicants are likely to be on vacation so your submission might have more chance of winning.

Tip 4: Apply!

The key to winning awards is to give it a go! Some business owners think, “I have no chance, why bother?” But as they say you have to be in it to win it. The first award submission will take effort. But it does get easier.


Tip 5: Understand the Judging Criteria.

Focus on what the judges are asking. Read each criteria and make sure you know what the judges are asking. Yes, it sounds simple, but a key to winning awards is to actually answer the question they ask. If there is a word limit, don’t exceed it. Telling your business story in a succinct way is a valuable asset.

Tip 6: Give Yourself Time. 

If you open up the awards submission at 9pm on the night before the deadline then the quality of your submission might not be optimal. You need to give yourself time to complete the application so you can put your business in its best possible light. Also some awards applications ask for references. You need time to consider who to ask and give them time to respond. Likewise, you might need to request some information from your external accountant and that takes time too.

Tip 7: Make The Most of the Awards Night Networking.

The awards night is a chance to dress up and rub shoulders with other business owners. Running your own small business can sometimes be lonely. So an awards night is a chance to revel in your (and other’s) success. So enjoy it.

Tip 8: Milk It For All It’s Worth.

Today’s market is competitive and getting more competitive every second. Winning an award is a way for your business to stand out in the crowd. When the media is full of bad news it is refreshing to offer your local editor a good news story! Be careful to comply with any media embargo – you don’t want to let the cat out of the bag too soon. You don’t have to win the top gong to benefit, just being a finalist or even simply being nominated can be a winning story.

The benefit of winning an award doesn’t stop with a pretty photo of you holding a shiny trophy. Not only does winning an award provide newsworthy content for industry media, it also creates great content for your web site and social media platforms.

Nicole Lander

About the contributor:

Nicole Lander is a story-teller, entrepreneur, and the Chief Fun Officer of Laser Tag in a Box, a nationwide party rental company. Winner of the prestigious Telstra Business Woman of the Year (Innovation) Nicole has more than 15 years’ experience running her own small business and helping others launch their own laser tag businesses. She has exported her patented technology to more than 45 countries. She is enthusiastic about making your kid's birthday party or your corporate event a success.

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