Posted: Mon 30th Jun 2014
Follow these steps to be on the path to entrepreneurial victory.
1. Eyes and ears open
New Awards and categories for small business are regularly launched. This year has seen the introduction of The Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Enterprise Nation's own Top 50 Advisers Awards. They join others such as the StartUps Awards, Smarta 100 and The Pitch. Be on Twitter, Facebook and a frequent visitor to small business blogs to stay tuned to Award opportunities and deadline dates.
2. Produce a winning entry
Tell your story in the entry and bring it to life with top quality imagery. Kate Edmunds is founder of creative gift and greeting cards business, Eggnogg, and recently won an award in the Supreme Innovation & Design Awards.
Kate's advice is: 'Enter a unique product that you're passionate about accompanied by a well written piece about you and your product and good photography is essential. Your entry will shine through!'
Consider getting help with the wording from a professional copywriter or PR professional, who can be found on talent marketplaces such as Elance, oDesk and Peopleperhour.com. Finally, it sounds obvious, but submit within the deadline date!
3. Perfect the pitch
If you're shortlisted and this involves presenting to Judges, here's a couple of tips: practice, practice, practice the pitch. Drink water and breathe before you go in, do the pitch standing up (you will come across as more confident and optimistic) and, if you're pitching a product that's portable, bring samples to leave for the Judges. This isn't bribery - you're purely trying to stand out and leave with a good impression!
If the Award is to recognize the business, be sure to prep for questions on everything from finances to growth plans and how you would make the most of winning the Award. Organisations running Awards want to know you'll promote a successful result too. If winners are to be announced at an awards dinner, be sure to show up!
If you win the Award, tell everyone you know! Write a release, contact the local press/radio/TV and display your win on the website, email sign-off and, if relevant, company promotion materials. You want customers, suppliers and the media to know you're a winning company that takes innovation, customer service, product design etc seriously.
Maybe for this Award, your application wasn't successful. In which case, keep trying! Different Awards look for different attributes in a business. If at first you don't succeed, don't give up as you will find the Judges and Award giving body that sees the brilliance in your operation, and wants to celebrate and recognize this so others can be inspired.
At the end of the day, every small business owner is a winner. Find the Award that recognises you as such!
Emma Jones is founder of Enterprise Nation