Have you ever put yourself, your team or your salon forward for an award? And if not, why not?
Even if you don’t win, the benefits to your business are enormous.
Here, multiple award winner-turned-judge and BABTAC Expert in business, Susan Routledge, shows you how to successfully enter and win awards, while boosting your business in the process.
Just do it.
I hear the same excuse time-and-time again:
“Our team’s fab. I’d love to enter awards but we’re just so busy. Maybe next year when I’ve got more time to think about it.”
Are you kidding me? When, in business, do we ever have more time? If you’re passionate about what you do then you owe it to yourself, your team and your clients to grasp the chance to stand out from the crowd.
Entering awards boosts your credibility, your business profits, staff motivation and client retention. It shows that your business means business. As the old saying goes, ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it.’
Pulling together an application is one of the few occasions that you’ll spend structured time thinking in-depth about your business and your plans for the future. In so doing, you’ll come up with ideas for all sorts of fabulous performance improvements.
I strongly recommend that you go through the process of filling out an entry form, even if you never press ‘send’, because by the end of the process you’ll have the best business plan you’re ever likely to have written. Your strategy will be clearer and stronger for having made the effort.
An achievement to shout about.
Hopefully, having got this far, you’ll realise that you may as well go through that tiny, final step and click ‘submit’. That one small act gives you a powerful marketing tool. Now you can – and should – shout about reaching the judging stage of a prestigious award. All your competitors will be doing the same thing so don’t miss out on this fantastic promotional opportunity. Should you not get any further, you’re already adding kudos to your staff and clients.
Congratulate yourself. You’ve done what thousands of other owners haven’t bothered to do. The first step to elevate themselves. Make the most of a highly effective opportunity to raise your brand profile.
Now get ready.
Involve your team with your application. If there are categories for employees, encourage individuals to throw their own names into the hat. Give them lots of help and support as they go, it’s hugely motivating to show your appreciation.
One of my biggest tips is to study the past finalists and winners in your chosen category.
I don’t mean that you need to make your business an exact replica, but take the time to see what made these winners stand out for the judges.
Make sure your business is in the best possible shape for judging. Do it now rather than wait until you find out you’re through to the finals – you really don’t want to be panicking about last-minute changes or worrying that you’ll get found out saying one thing but doing another.
Write an engaging story.
Communicating your unique story in an engaging way is key to your entry. You’ll need to understand what it is that makes you special. Writing in general terms about customer service or treatments won’t wow the judges. Instead, drill down into the precise details. When the judging panel reads your entry, you want to transport them to your world.
Prepare by locking yourself away with some big sheets of paper and coloured pens. Using the entry requirements as a guide, make notes about all the brilliant things your business does. Ask your team to go through a similar exercise. They’re bound to come up with something you’ve missed. Consult your best clients too. It’s a terrific opportunity to bag a killer testimonial.
You want your application to soothe the tired, caffeine-fuelled eyes of a judge trawling through days of identical forms. Make it easy-to-read, and with the direct connection to each requirement clearly spelled out at every turn.
Be certain you fully comply with the entry criteria and make sure everything is included. Nothing more, nothing less. Get a trusted, independent reviewer to spot any last-minute errors before that final, big moment, clicking ‘submit’. Well done!
Enjoy the waiting game.
I firmly believe that whatever you focus on will become your reality. Celebrate with your team that you’re one of the few businesses with enough dedication, drive and passion to send off an entry to be scrutinised by a judging panel.
If you’re not a finalist, you should be very proud of making the effort. But if you are CONGRATULATIONS! Tell the whole world!
Being in business should be fun and exciting and entering awards is very much a part of that. It also offers unparalleled recognition and reward. One day soon, I hope you’ll be sat at an Award Ceremony with bubbly in your hand and butterflies in your stomach as you hear those famous words: “And the winner is…”