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Winning a business or industry award can be a great honor for your business, as well as a great PR opportunity. However, to be considered for many awards, you’ll need to submit an application that’s reviewed by an award committee. To help you with this process, we asked the members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:
What is an important thing to remember when applying for a business or industry award? Why is this so important?
1. Have a unique angle
Come up with an angle that’s different from every submission the judge is going to be looking at. Focus on what makes you unique and different. What makes you different from the rest? What have you got that no one else can copy? —Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
2. Get your team involved
No entrepreneur who is looking to scale can go it alone. Don’t forget your team when you are considering moving forward on an award. If you don’t share in the wealth of an award, then your team likely won’t be around for the long haul. Only thinking of yourself is a sure way to be by yourself. —Brad Burns, Wayne Contracting
3. Paint a complete picture of your brand
Make sure you highlight what is different about you. What is your brand story? See this question as an opportunity to paint a picture of your business. Explain your passion, how it all began, how your business has grown, and your future plans. Make sure you touch on your mission, values, and the culture of the business. These elements are the foundation of your brand and serve as key differentiators. —Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
4. Study the previous winners
Before applying, take a look at who the previous winners were and see where they are now. Make sure that they are still going strong and have elevated their businesses since winning. Applying for an award that does nothing for your career is a waste of time and energy. —Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy
5. Have a reputable industry player nominate you
Most committees take a reputable third-party nomination more seriously than a self-nomination, so if you are looking for an award, it might be worthwhile to speak to someone in your network who is very well-known and experienced to nominate you. —Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.
6. Consider the potential value of applying
Consider what will come as a result of applying for and winning an award. Some awards grant you access to additional resources, a community of fellow winners to collaborate or connect with. The results of the award are just as, if not more, valuable than the award itself. Look at an award as a tool to help grow your business and spread your mission—not simply a plaque to place behind your desk. —Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
7. Know your value proposition
Why you and not someone else? What’s different about you? What’s your value proposition? Keep it very clear and present at all times. Do you solve any problem for society and the world in general? What specifically? Be clear and concise, and get to the point. Show utility, resolution, relevance, innovation, and that you are disruptive. Show them you deserve that award. —Kevin Leyes, Leyes Media & Team Leyes, by Leyes Enterprises
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8. Leverage your story and statistics
It’s important to remember that you should communicate your individual story in addition to metrics of success. Some people only focus on their inspirational journey and some only focus on statistics of their increase in revenue. Both elements are essential for crafting an award nomination that effectively communicates why you should be recognized. —Jennifer A Barnes, Optima Office, Inc.
9. Become the industry benchmark first
There are many players in an industry, and becoming the leader or a benchmark will inflate your brand’s value in the eyes of others. Have a unique way of approaching marketing, sales, and customer relationships. Just strive to be the best at what you are doing and the reward will follow. Once you meet all the standards and become the benchmark to others, then you can proceed with the application. —Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz
10. Make sure it’s merit-based
There are awards out there that exist only to boost egos. Some awards exist because they were paid for by those who win them. For an industry-related award, you want to receive it because you deserve it. It’s about your achievements and success, and if you have nothing to show for it, it’s embarrassing and undeserving. —Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
11. Spend your time and effort on the right applications
It’s important to apply to the right arena or industry when you’re trying for an award. If you do win or get nominated for the award, it can add to your credibility and help you get recognition. —Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
12. Highlight an achievement that shows innovation and impact
When you apply, make sure it’s with your best story. Skip the marketing pitch that won you the biggest client account. Pick the best achievement you had that demonstrates your innovation and impact—that’s the one that’ll most likely get you the win because it will resonate with the jury. It’s about the impact and benefit of your story, not just the products you used to achieve it. —Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
13. Have a plan to leverage your success if you win
Don’t think that your work is over once you win. Yes, award programs can come with their own benefits and exposure, but it’s up to you to leverage your success to the fullest extent possible. You should know exactly how you will use the award in your branding, in attracting new clients and employees, or in creating new business. Receiving the award should simply set into motion an existing plan. —Jordan Conrad, Writing Explained
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