“Our recent gongs – including Supplier of the Year (The Revolution Awards) and Most Promising Business of the Year (Be Inspired Business Awards) – have given a real push to not just the company’s profile but also to sales,” says Stephenson, who founded the £1.1m-turnover firm in 2002. “We reckon our awards are a big part of the reason why our revenue in the first half of 2008 is over 14 per cent higher than the same period last year, despite the weaker economy.” Here are Stevenson’s top ten tips to cracking business awards:1. Treat it as an investmentYes, it can be time-consuming to apply properly but think of it as a part of your marketing and make it a line in the marketing budget. 2. Make the time to apply It normally takes a day or so to make the initial application. Then, if you’re short-listed, you’ve got to submit photos and do some more work. It’s probably around two days per award in total – but with practice, it gets quicker. 3. Don’t just apply for one award Go for several. Out of the seven awards we’ve gone for recently, we’ve won five and been a finalist for the other two. In fact, we won three in one night and had to split up to attend the different ceremonies. 4. Do your research There are websites, like www.awardsintelligence.co.uk , which list business awards. All the main trade publications we get also have their own awards. You can find others by Googling awards for your particular industry. 5. Understand the secret of winningThe ultimate secret, of course, is having a good business, with the right story. But there’s also a lot more to it than that. 6. Pick the right awards Part of the skill is targeting the right awards – not just the biggest but the specialist ones where you stand the best chance, either because it’s a perfect fit for what you do, and/or because it’s an award that you think might not attract many other entrants. 7. Pick the right categories The above also goes for picking the right category. It’s a question both of knowing your own strengths and the strengths of others who might apply. 8. Pick the right person for the job Yudu has someone who’s done a brilliant job both in picking the awards and categories and in submitting the applications. She’s become a real expert in the whole process. 9. Celebrate your victory Tell your customers. Put it on your blog. For a big award, write a press release. We list our awards in all our sales and marketing material. We even list them at the bottom of our emails. Best of all, we’ve created a multi-media digital brochure, which not only celebrates all the awards, complete with photographs, video and audio, but at the same time is an example of what we’re selling. Check it out here. 10. Enjoy the benefits There are several. Winning awards is good for staff morale. It’s good for recruitment. And, if you’re a start-up, it’s good for investors.
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