Posts Tagged ‘National Business Awards’

Beat Brexit by winning awards for export


Whether you champion the ‘in’ or ‘out’ camp in the Brexit discussion, one thing is for sure; if your business is based in the UK you are hoping for an outcome that ensures you have the strongest possible trading opportunities, no matter what the result of the referendum.

Knowing what being in or out of Europe means to your business is important, and of course having a clear view of the future is essential, but if you have already achieved ‘export’ status you already have something to recognise, celebrate, share and benefit from in many ways.

Now more than ever is the time to show the world why you are a great British business; to show them that you are a safe bet when it comes to international trade; to show them what you can offer as seasoned expert at exporting.

Award-winning exporters stand out

Exporters face incomparable challenges – finding the right global markets, managing a global strategy, taking the most effective routes to market, managing employees within a new culture, balancing revenues across multiple currencies – you name it, pretty much everything about exporting is challenging. But when you get it right, when you cross all the bridges and when you jump all the hurdles, exporting can create outstanding benefits for your business. 

If you have battled through economic turbulence over many years and come out on top by taking your products, operations and services across the world you could now be in line for a key return on your investment by becoming an award-winning exporter.

In these changing global times, wouldn’t you like to have the external credibility that will give you the competitive edge? Because if exporting suddenly becomes more complicated, challenging or competitive than it already is, then your award-winning status might just be the golden ticket you need to get you through the door to a new market.

Exporters, your country needs you!

It’s time to shout about your success and get the recognition you deserve. Just think how much value an award that tells the world you are the best business in your country and your industry could bring.

Did you know about the incredible awards out there specifically designed to recognise exporters? They are available to both the most accomplished exporters and the newest exporters on the block.

Take a look at my top three awards for UK exporters below:

1.The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise – perhaps the most coveted award for UK based businesses. These awards are also extremely rigorous. The International Trade category requires a minimum annual turnover of £100K and NO DIPS in profits are allowed (unlike in the Innovation and Sustainability categories). Approximately 100 exporters receive awards from The Queen every year and the value of the award to each business is truly outstanding. Check out my simple Queen’s Awards infographics to see if you could enter this year.

  • Important dates: Open May to September

2. The Chamber Business Awards – run by the British Chamber who have the knowledge and experience you need grow and develop your export capabilities, these awards naturally always feature an export category. Entrants start by competing at regional level only, then the finalists from each region go on to compete nationally where one will be crowned the overall winner. You don’t need to be a member of the Chamber to enter, but your entry is free if you become a member.  

  • Important dates: Open 11th April, deadline 24th June.

3. The National Business Awards – these awards have just introduced an exciting new category for 2016 – the QBE New Exporter of the Year in association with Exporting is GREAT. Designed to celebrate the newest exporters on the block, entrants will be setting the benchmark for success with their results from the past 18 months. The entry experience for finalists includes a presentation to the judges in September, a prestigious gala dinner in November and media promotion for winners.

  • Important dates: Open now, deadline 20th May.

** New Award for 2016 The UK Business Awards 2016 **

On top of the three great awards above, we now have a brilliant new award open to enter for all businesses across the UK. Created by Awards International, the people behind popular awards such as the UK Customer Experience Awards and the Employee Experience Awards, The UK Business Awards includes a category especially for Exporters and promises to be a big highlight in the annual awards calendar for many.

  • Important dates: Open now, deadline 23rd August

These are just a few awards out of many international and national awards, and the chances are if you are doing well enough to win one of these, there are many more you could be winning too.

I have personally seen the difference a high-profile award can make to a business trying to open the doors to a new market or raise its profile in a new country, so don’t miss out on the kudos that being a national award winner can bring to your business or you could miss out on much more.

For a FREE Queen’s Awards assessment or to be assessed for your likelihood of winning any one of the awards above and more just drop me a line and by answering a brief set of questions I’ll be able to let you know whether 2016 is your best year to enter and my experience will give you an outstanding chance of success.

The secrets to winning awards for your small business or startup

The Awards Expert, National Business Awards, Small Business Awards, Startup Awards, Win Business Awards

Are you an entrepreneur or innovator? Perhaps you don’t even think of yourself that way, you’re just ‘Freelance’ or ‘getting started’. Well no matter how small your business or start-up, you could be winning awards – but there’s a few secrets to success you need to know first.

Entrepreneurs and innovators running small businesses tend to fall into two main camps when it comes to entering ‘industry’ or ‘business’ awards competitions.

The first is the ‘hungry for awards’ camp who are keen and eager to start filling the trophy cabinet from day 1.

The second is ‘I’m too small to win awards’ camp who stand back from awards opportunities and watch others walk away with the awards.

Both have their reasons for their approach to awards. Both have their pros and cons.

The entrepreneurs in the ‘hungry for awards’ camp realise the importance of gaining external credibility for their business; are determined to show the world how brilliant their business, service or innovation is; and have the drive and determination to reach the podium. But they are in danger of falling at the first hurdle if they don’t yet have award-winning results.

The entrepreneurs in the ‘I’m too small to win awards’ camp are just as driven and determined, but perhaps less confident. They see all the big brand names out there winning awards and think they have to wait until they’ve got a few more years under their belt and a recognisable name before they start competing.

So what’s the secret to winning awards for start-ups and small businesses?

The answer is the same no matter what the size of your business. If you don’t enter the right awards competitions you won’t have a chance of winning – no matter how big, small, old or new your company.

To win awards when you are running a small business you need to be strategic. Take a bit of the confidence of the ‘hungry for awards’ camp, add it to the caution of the ‘I’m too small to win awards’ camp, and what do you get? A balanced and measured approach to winning awards that’s what.

Work your way through the questions below and take a look at my small business and start-up award suggestions and you never know it could be you walking away with the next cash prize, mentorship or industry trophy – and then the world will be your oyster.

  • Do you have a minimum of 12 months financial results? Without at least a year’s financial results that demonstrate that your innovation, business model, or service is commercially viable and sustainable, you are simply pitching a ‘good idea’. Don’t jump in too early to gain serious credibility and buy-in from the judges.
  • Is there an interesting story behind your business? Did you know that some awards judges are journalists looking for a great story for their winner’s write-ups? If you have conquered adversity to get your business off the ground, or founded your business based on a new, fun, or unusual approach, you could have something special for your award entry. The judges don’t want to hear your whole life-story, but if a part of it is connected to the creation of your business it could give you that magical USP that helps you to stand out.  So don’t ignore your history, use it within a slick storytelling method to breath real life into your award entry.
  • Do you have big plans for the future? If you have a clear idea of the next steps for your business, and your success is just the start of an exciting journey that you have mapped out, tell the judges what you’ve got planned for the future. When entering awards for small business or start-up achievements the awards organisers are often offering significant benefits to help grow the winning businesses and they want to find a winner with a solid plan and exciting ideas. Cash prizes, mentoring, support to export, and free PR are just some of the benefits of winning many dedicated small business and start-up awards.
  • Have you selected the awards you are most likely to win? It’s so important to make sure you are running in the right race before you spend precious time working on your awards entries or invest in outsourcing your awards project to an expert. Check out past winners, look at the awards organisers own marketing material, find out who the awards organisers’ target audience is, look at who the judges are, look at who runs the awards and what the benefits of alignment could be before assessing if the categories fit your business achievements.

Enter these 7 great awards for small businesses and startups:

Now you know where you stand, here are a few suggestions of awards you could enter:

  1. The Federation of Small Business Awards: In partnership with Worldpay, the awards offer a cash prize for the winner and a logo that shows credibility the FSB awards are very popular across the UK – there is even a Microbusiness category for the smallest of businesses to enter.                       
  2. The National Business Awards : A big name award with a big brand audience – but with a lot of love and support for small businesses, the National Business Awards dedicates a category especially to New Business of the Year and even has a category for New Entrepreneurs – supported by The Duke of York no less!
  3. The Chamber AwardsRun by The British Chamber of Commerce this is a great award for gaining local business support, allowing you to enter and win regionally before competing for a national title. Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to be a Chamber member to win, and there’s even a cash prize up for grabs! Categories include Young Person in Business and Small Business of the Year.
  4. The Startup Awards: Based in London these awards offer lots of categories and will give you a ‘startup’ winner’s logo that could help you attract new investment or business support for your new and innovative business. Lots of great categories highlighting the best Crowdfunded Business and Lean Startup of the Year.         
  5. The Growing Business Awards: These awards do exactly what they say on the tin – champion the hottest small businesses in the UK. Sponsored by Lloyds bank and with inspirational talent on the judging panel, your business could get a fantastic audience just by entering. Categories for Digital Champions and Innovators.  
  6. The Guardian Small Business Showcase: A great award run by a national newspaper these awards focus on one category at a time and include a Rising Star Award. Enter for national recognition and excellent PR opportunities.

More awards for small businesses and start-ups:

And once you’ve checked out the awards above, there are also brilliant awards run by your local newspapers, magazines and business networks. Often appealing to small businesses looking to gain more local customers, local and regional awards can be a great place to start when you run a small business.

You should also check out my list of Awards for Women in Business and Awards for Entrepreneurs, Directors and Business Leaders to enter even more awards that will raise your personal profile and support your growing brand.

Do you have more awards suggestions you could add? Share them with me on Twitter and I’ll give you the inside scoop on whether they’ll work for you: Just post to @comms_director and #smallbizawards.

Good luck – I can’t wait to hear about your award-winning adventures!

Donna O’Toole is an awards expert with an outstanding record of helping businesses and the people behind them to win awards for their hard work. Contact Donna for your FREE Awards consultation today. 

Top 10 Awards for Directors, Entrepreneurs & Business Leaders

awards for directors, Business awards, entrepreneur awards, how to write an award entry, international business awards, national business awards

Are you a director, entrepreneur or a business leader who has created positive results for your company, your employees and your industry?

Do you have future business plans for investment, merger, growth or sale?

Or perhaps you would like to broaden your horizons by becoming a non-exec director for an organisation that could benefit from your knowledge and experience?

If you answered yes to any of the above, it’s time to start taking your professional profile seriously and viewing it from the outside in when it comes to awards. 

Yes, you know how much you have achieved, and your employees, peers and competitors might even be aware of your work too. But do the people who have the power to make or break your next business move know what makes you stand out? Can they see any external credibility that backs up why they should pick you for their next role, investment or partnership?

Winning high-level awards for directors, entrepreneurs and business leaders verifies your achievements and can create a snowball of success, presenting you with excellent PR opportunities, fantastic networking events, and a firm step on the pathway to the next level in your life.

But don’t just take a stab in the dark when it comes to awards. Making sure you are a good fit for the awards you enter will give you good alignment with your peers and competitors, a better chance of success, and support your wider goals and future plans.

Top Tip: If you don’t know which awards you could be in with a chance of winning, take a look at your nearest competitor’s awards, or pick out a peer you feel you have a similar story to and see which awards they have been winning recently. Now wouldn’t you like that award-winning profile to be yours?

Here’s a roundup of ten high-impact awards with categories for directors, entrepreneurs and business leaders…and this is just a taster, there are many more awards within your industry sector too:

Interested in entering? Make sure you allow plenty of time to create a compelling entry – these are rigorous awards and the entry requirements vary widely, with written entries ranging from less than 1000 words to more than 5000 words!

Are you a female director, entrepreneur or business leader? As well as all the awards above there is also a whole genre of awards dedicated to women in business.

Watch this space for more tips on entering awards or get in touch for free one-to-one advice on the awards you could be winning this year.
Donna O’Toole is an experienced awards adviser and writer with an outstanding success rate in helping businesses and individuals to win awards. Contact Donna for a FREE awards-profile consultation today. 

10 steps to winning business awards


Donna O'Toole, The Awards Expert, Award Entry Writer, Awards Adviser, Customer Experience Awards, Employer Awards, Industry Awards, International Business Awards, National Business Awards, UK Awards, Win Business Awards

The benefits of winning awards can be huge – more customers will choose you over the competition, you’ll get the best talent applying for your jobs, and you will boost internal morale. You’ll also often receive feedback to help you improve your business even further.

But entering business awards can feel a bit like a game of cards – play the right hand and you’ll be a winner, but miss out on that vital card and your competitor will take the lot. 

So how do you know if you are ready to enter awards and win in the first place?

First you need to pick an awards programme that is right for you. Start by investigating which awards will give you the most valuable recognition, put you in front of the right audience, align you with the best brands, and bring your business the best benefits.

Once you’ve identified the ideal awards programmes, next you need to find the right categories to highlight your successes by filtering through their specific criteria.

Next you need to get all the right evidence together to demonstrate your achievements. And only once you have completed this three stage process can you even think about starting to write your entry. 

Every single award competition sets its own entry requirements, criteria and benchmarking scores, so you must check these carefully before entering. Here are a few general guidelines that will help you gather everything you need to stand a chance of winning.

Answer the questions below to give yourself the maximum chance of hitting the awards jackpot:

  1. Do you have at least 12 months company finances showing positive results?
  2. Have you identified your USP for the award – how are you going to stand out?
  3. Do you have positive customer feedback and testimonials from key accounts?
  4. Do you have permission to share the details of your client projects?
  5. Do you have both qualitative and quantitative evidence of your success?
  6. Can you demonstrate that your product or service is leading your industry?
  7. Can you show that your innovation is making money – it’s not just a ‘good idea’?
  8. Do you have photos, imagery or videos that can bring your entry to life?
  9. Can you demonstrate how you have overcome challenges to reach your goals?
  10. Can you demonstrate multiple ways in which you have progressed and grown?

These 10 questions are just the start. There is a lot more to winning awards than meets the eye. Speak to an expert to make sure you enter awards that are the perfect fit for you and save yourself hours, weeks and sometimes even months of preparation.

Contact me for a FREE consultation and I’ll give you all the information you need to help you stand out for all the right reasons and become an award winner.