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Wanna show off your success in business this year at the St. John’s Board of Trade Excellence Awards, and maybe win big while you’re at it? If there’s room for an industry award to adorn your mantle, we’ve got the prescription … if you’ve got the time – ’cus that’s what it takes, y’all.
Your success over the last year deserves to be celebrated. So if you’ve got the goods, here’s how to make your story shine, by impressing the judges, and using this as an opportunity to show the world what you’ve been doing.
TIP 1: Follow the Instructions
Sounds obvious, but a lot of people fail to do this. The most important piece of information is the deadline. If possible, get the application in well before the deadline. Besides, if you’re the first to drop off your application, yours might get an extra look through. Just sayin’.
Don’t forget to add contact information for your general office, but also the person who submitted the application so there’s no delay in finding out whether you’re a finalist or winner!
PRO TIP: Read the judging criteria The judging criteria offers more information about what the judges are looking for. While judging is subjective, you can make sure you’re hitting all the criteria to the best of your ability.
TIP 2: Use Social Media to your Benefit
If there’s online voting for the award you’re applying for, get your social media community involved! While the Board of Trade’s Business Excellence Awards doesn’t have online judging, many awards and accolade do! Your followers won’t know to vote if they don’t know about the award and if they really like you they’ll give a click or two.
Talk about your accomplishments; blog about your clients’ successes; subtle reminders to judges who may be following you or doing a Google search on what kind of company you are.
PROTIP: Support the awarding organization online!
It won’t win you an award, and if you talk about your application it might result in even more competition in your category, BUT you’ll be remembered as a genuine partner, and committed to your organization and partnership is what success is all about.
Tip 3: Go Above and Beyond
Make an impact with your application and be remembered for the effort. Here’s a few ideas;
- If you use special stationary or do a monthly newsletter, put your application in that format for a personal touch.
- Use language that sounds like your company’s values; if you’re authentic to the brand spirit, the person who reads the application will feel it.
- If there’s an option to include a video, shoot a short one, even with your laptop’s built in computer!
PROTIP: Write a script, read it a whole bunch of times, and then sit down to make a video. Look straight into the camera, take a deep breath, and smile before you start talking. You’ll look more polished and confident.
Check out Dc’s video applications from last year:
Tip 4: Include your team
It’s been a long year, you’ve probably forgotten some of your highlights, but your team was affected by each of those moments differently and may remember more details, so call a short meeting and brainstorm about which successes to feature!
Ask about your team’s personal triumphs – a difficult sale or volunteer work – which can impact your application.
If there’s online voting, get your team involved with social media posts we mentioned before. When they share your company’s success online your business will grow too!
If you’re a finalist, bring your team to the awards event, nothing can beat the feeling of pride of being part of a nominated or winning team, they’ll get a chance to network, and you’ll get the benefit of employee retention through showing commitment to your successful team.
PROTIP: If you win because of a single person’s work or a few people in particular, reward them with their own tangible form of appreciation; thank you cards or something that’ll help drive employee retention, and incentivise other employees in the future.
Tip 5: Keep It Simple
Writing applications can be tough, but keep it simple. Answer every question in clear concise language with short sentences, and avoid industry jargon. Write for the judges – knowing that they may not work in your industry or understand technical writing.
If describing a product, use plain language and be clear with descriptions, and above all, stick to this year’s successes, unless the application asks for older information; dredging up the past can be time consuming and not help your application.
PROTIP: Use lists if you have a lot of information (for example; names of organizations your team volunteers with for the Community Impact awards). Lists use fewer characters in online applications and are more easily readable.
Don’t forget to thank everyone and look forward to thinking differently about your business and the work you do for next year!
Good luck with your applications and if you need help producing a video or writing your application, we can help!
Get in touch: Dc@dcdesignhouse.ca