How to Apply for Business Awards

Three Parts:Locating AwardsApplying For AwardsEarning the Award

Awards and recognition are important to businesses for more reasons than just the business owner's vanity. Awards are excellent for getting the word out about your business and can help in validating the success level of your business. Plus, awards and recognition are successful ways of motivating you and your employees to do better in the future. Luckily, earning a business award can be easy, as most business owners never bother to try. The steps below will help you to apply for a business award for the betterment of your company.

Part 1
Locating Awards

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    Clarify the types of awards you will be applying for. You need to be sure that you are applying for awards you can actually win. Otherwise, you will just be wasting your time. This involves two different parts. First, make sure you qualify for the awards. This means that the award allows entries from your industry, your location, and from businesses of your size. Second, only apply for awards that are looking for the things you do well. That is, play to your strengths.
    • If you are known for excellent customer service, for example, apply for awards that judge customer service. If you are known instead for product quality, consider avoiding the customer service award.[1]
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    Figure out which awards your competitors have won. Having (or not having) certain awards can be a standard of comparison between competing businesses. Visit your competitors' websites or stores to see which awards they display. If you don't have these awards, apply for them. This will eliminate one more advantage that your competition may have over you.
    • Look especially closely at awards your competitors have won in multiple years. Applying could be your opportunity to steal it away from them.[2]
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    Investigate national awards. Some of the biggest small business awards are offered by national organizations and companies. Winning of these awards will bring widespread recognition to your business, but the competition will be fierce. If you think you have what it takes, apply to one or more of the following awards:
    • SCORE Awards.
    • National Small Business Week Awards.
    • DREAM BIG Awards.
    • Stevie Awards.
    • Entrepreneur Magazine's Entrepreneur Awards.
    • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
    • Deloitte Technology Fast 500.[3][4]
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    Search for industry awards. Each industry may have special awards for outstanding businesses within that industry. Check with trade publications, special-interest magazines, industry websites, and other industry-specific magazines to see if they have any business awards you can apply for.[5]
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    Check for local awards. Your local Chamber of Commerce or local magazines may have programs that give awards or recognition to businesses. Make sure to check with these organizations to see what awards you can apply for. These may not give you national recognition, but you will gain greater recognition in your community.[6]

Part 2
Applying For Awards

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    Begin your application. When you've found some awards to apply to, don't wait until the last minute to apply to them, instead start your applications now. If there are many of them, create a schedule for filling them all out. Consider spending your free time at night or on weekends to fill out these forms. If you get the award, it will all be worth it.[7]
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    Plan your written submissions. Before you write your application, sit down and plan out figures and facts that you want to include. Make sure to have a list of key point ready so that you can say everything that you want to say. During this process, make sure to check your list against the requirements of the award. Add in any details or information that you may have left out.[8]
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    Submit your application. Before you submit your application, have a coworker or family member proofread it for errors and to make sure you included everything that was required. Check to see that all required documents are attached and in the correct formats. And most importantly, be sure to submit your application on time. Being even a few minutes late may disqualify your submission.[9]
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    Keep a copy. After applying for one business award, save a copy and use the document for applying for other awards in the future. Doing so will make the process of applying for awards more efficient and save you time, even if you have to edit large parts of the document to fit the criteria for each award.

Part 3
Earning the Award

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    Tell a good story. Award reviewers sift through hundreds or thousands of applications, so you'll have to make yours stand out. To do so, you'll have to tell a good story. That is, when you apply for your award, don't just tell the events in a matter-of-fact way. Instead, Use your experiences from the difficult road you've had as a small business owner to craft a story that explains the hardships you've faced, the impacts of your decisions, and how your business has interacted with and been built by the people involved with it.
    • Avoid financial descriptions and instead focus on tangible effects and the emotional impacts of events and business shifts.
    • However, keep your story short and sweet; judges don't want to read a novel.[10]
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    Make sure you include everything. It's very easy for your application to be immediately thrown out because you didn't follow the rules. To avoid this follow every provision in the application instructions. Include every required document and format everything exactly as instructed. This helps you prove to judges that you really want to win.[11]
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    Follow Up. After you've applied for an award, make sure to institute some way of tracking whether or not you have won it. Many awards will notify you, but sign up for the awarding organization's newsletter to make sure you don't miss anything. You can also follow up with judges or the organization after applying to thank them for their consideration. Making it clear that you really want the award just might make a difference in the judges' selection.[12]
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    Display the award where possible. If your business is shortlisted or ranked by an award, and especially if you win one, make sure you show that off to your customers and employees. The award may provide you with a standard press release to use, but if they don't be sure to make a press release of your own explaining the award and that you won it. Additionally, you can send out a newsletter to customers that summarizes the award and the story behind your winning it. This is a good opportunity to thank customers for their support.
    • Post links on social media to the page on the award's website that shows your business and its victory.
    • In some cases, you can display the award's logo on your storefront or advertising. However, some award programs will charge a fee for the use of their logo.[13]

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Categories: Business