25 minutes in which I aim to give you some advice that will help you to submit applications which stand the best chance of success . . . and some pitfalls to avoid!
Five headings to cover today: Planning and preparing your application(s) Getting some benefits from having applied How to handle a judging visit (planned or surprise)
The details here look obvious, but there are many local examples of organisations submitting incomprehensible material, DVD’s, links to YouTube, etc. – whereas the judging panel may well be sitting in a committee room at the Council offices with a sheaf of applications to consider. Decide if you are eligible Decide whether to apply for one or more awards Highlight the relevant sections and do what is asked of you Don’t waste time on elaborate sections which add little or nothing to the presentation
Ask a trusted friend or business contact to read your application before you finalise it and before you send it. Give them the details of the awards so they can compare what you are planning to send with what the judges want to see.
The section in red is from the Inspire web site – as an example, it tells us that online applications will be the norm, and support documentation can be e-mailed. That tells me the judges do not want a bundle of brochures, a selection of DVD’s promoting the company, and/or anything else . . . just the application form and if appropriate some e-mailed support documentation (e.g. latest accounts my help your case in some instances)
The example on this slide tells the judges that sales grew and at the same time profits grew. If you were just to say “Sales were up 60% last year”, that tells the judges very little, as profits could have dived in the same period.
Judges may elect to visit on a pre-planned or drop-in basis, so plan ahead: Do your premises look good every day? If not, do something about it! Do your staff inspire confidence in every visitor? If not, do something about it! Do you know all the pertinent facts about your business? If a judge approached you now, do you know your turnover for the last two financial years, the net profit, the key ratios, the gross profit margin? Think about all those who fail on Dragon’s Den – most haven’t got the key facts in their heads!
Get all your ducks in a row . . . hope for a following wind . . . and win an award . . . Then be ready with some great quotations for local press, local radio, trade magazines, Chamber magazine (if a member), and of course your web site. The quotes from Great Guns Marketing and Newlyn are from 2008 – what will you be saying next month?!
BE INSPIRED To Win An Award Jayne Westwood Business Link
Your entry should consist of a written submission that explains clearly the project, initiative or achievement that you or your company have undertaken. Your application should demonstrate how project x has increased your company sales.
You can also send in supporting documentation by e-mail .
Does my submission include what the judges need to allow them to see that I’m the best?
Have I quantified success? Example: Sales were £250,000 in 2007 but rose to £400,000 in 2008 after we implemented our new “Everyone’s a salesperson” project. Profits rose from £25,000 to £42,000 in that same period.
Be natural . . . Be honest . . . Be ready to answer questions . . .
Are your staff able to display those three qualities also?
“The PR is excellent for business and we can certainly attribute some new clients to the coverage that came from INSPIRE '08” “ The business has been growing for the past four years and winning the award is recognition of the hard work that all of our staff have out in to making Newlyns what it is today” Add your own quotation here – ready for use in 2010!