We've entered (and won a few) awards now for a number of businesses. Win or not they really are a valuable process to go through. Finalists get certificates which look impressive and the recognition of just attending and being in the mix is great publicity. Awards Dinners are a great opportunity to network and celebrate achievements by everyone in your industry.
Most awards allow around six weeks to complete submissions, but you should start as soon as they open. Sometimes there are even bonus prizes for early bird submissions.
The first submission generally takes up the most time and others can be adapted from there. So enter as many award categories that are relevant to your business.
Before getting started dig up any relevant documents you have (previous award submissions and About Us documents etc) to inspire your answers.
You don't need to reinvent the wheel, if your About Us wording is sufficient, then use it. There might be paragraphs on your website or LinkedIn profile that could also be used.
From there, prepare a draft submission. It can help to jot down your answer in a few dot points first, to ensure you are answering the criteria. Then go back and expand your wording into full paragraphs.
Ask a colleague, mentor or friend (someone with a keen eye for detail who won’t let any typos slip through!) to read it over and add any additional points they think of.
Aim for short, snappy, entertaining content and stick to any word limits. Use a range of real life examples whenever you can and make the most of the words you're permitted.
Leave your submission for a few days and come back to it for a final read through, when you have fresh eyes. You might make a few adjustments or have thought of other points to include.
Remember to attach any other supporting documents that are requested.
We'd recommend writing your submissions offline before uploading your answers to any online forms. This will allow you to retain a copy of your answers (handy for next year) and it will prevent any accidental online data loss (because no-one likes rewriting things at the last minute).