If you’ve ever wondered how to get started with an awards entry for your business, begin by selecting the best fitting category that fits your business but also fits with what you have to talk most about! Have a look at the categories carefully, and then come back to this guide to understand how you could make your award entry stand out to the judges and give them the WOW factor!
Read (and answer) the question - While this may seem obvious, you would be surprised by the amount of people who get it wrong. Read the question in each category carefully to understand what is expected from your entry. Then tailor your answer very specifically to that, not to what you think or want the judges to hear. Don't launch into writing immediately. Think about your competitiors and how you can differentiate your business from them.
Be clear - We have an experienced judging panel and they will be reviewing very many applications, so this is your opportunity to stand out by having a well-structured and compelling application, whilst conveying a friendly and engaging tone. Remember that the hair and beauty industry revolves around people, so bring your entry to life with stories of how you solved your clients’ problems, made their experience outstanding and how delighted they were as a result.
Show evidence - Don’t just tell a brilliant story. Judges are always looking for tangible results. Merely stating ‘my salon delivers excellent customer service’ will not impress the judges. It may well be true, but why should they believe you? Support your claims with concrete facts. A good way to do this is to include client testimonials, statistics, visuals (photographs, videos, sketches), charts and graphs, relevant awards you may have won in the past and any media coverage.
Involve your clients - What makes your business special? Why not ask your clients what it is they love about your business, service and team? Their experience is crucial and will help, as highlighted above, to demonstrate how your methods are a success. However, always remember to obtain the client’s consent if you are going to use their quote or image in your entry.
Involve your team - Because entering awards is a superb way of motivating your team, take advantage of your team’s creative talent and encourage everyone to contribute to the award process. If you make it to the finals, prepare them for a possible mystery shopper visit, ensuring you have your team’s consent to photos being shared if you do win.
Be honest - Naturally, your aim is to present your business in the best possible light. But always be honest, otherwise this can lead to embarrassment and the damage of your reputation. If your business is great, it will sell itself.
Create a strong first impression - Avoid jargon, use bullet points to aid the judges and stick to the stated word count. Photos can speak volumes about your business, so don’t overlook these in your entry. But, to reiterate the first point, do read the question to ensure you’re meeting the criteria. It may seem obvious, but typos and grammatical errors create a poor impression so check, check and check again. If you’re unsure, ask someone you trust (ideally unrelated to the business) to proof-read your entry for accuracy, clarity and flow.
Keep a copy for yourself - Save a copy of your entry for future award applications. Even if you are not successful this time, you can build on what you have written and it will provide a great analysis of your business.
Watch those dates - As the saying goes, you have to be in it to win it. So make a note of important dates and deadlines. This includes the closing date for entries, the announcement of finalists, and of course, the date of the award event itself.
FINALLY - Part of the enjoyment of entering Awards is the process itself. Remember to leave yourself plenty time and really enjoy this opportunity to talk about your successes. GOOD LUCK!