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6 min read

How to win a business award

Are you an award-winning business? If not, you could be. If you’re excellent at what you do and deliver what your customers want, you should be putting yourself forwards for relevant awards. And no, you don’t need to wait for someone else to do it for you – most people submit themselves. 

Why does winning an award matter?

There’s some scepticism that everyone is award-winning these days. But just because there are lots of awards out there to enter, you still have to meet strict criteria and usually be judged against other entrants by a panel. It also takes effort to submit a great application.

But is it worth it?

“Awards definitely give your business a boost – from the PR exposure when you win to the increased confidence customers have in you.”

Jen Smith, social media trainer and copywriter

Awards instil confidence in your business, especially in the area you’ve been awarded for. Prospective customers see it as reassuring, and current customers will be proud to have chosen you. It reflects well on them. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to generate publicity through traditional PR and on social media, as well as being able to use awards branding across your marketing materials online and offline. 

What awards should I enter?

As we’ve mentioned already, there are many different awards that businesses can enter. You might want to try your luck in a broad field or go for something completely niche or industry-specific. The broader you go with your award entries – ie a national business award – the more competition there will be, whereas something more niche might give you a greater chance of winning or being shortlisted (but maybe less exposure and recognition). 

Where to find awards

Boost Awards have a handy list of all UK business awards you can enter and a quick Google will throw up plenty for you to go for. You should also check out your competitors and see if they’ve won any awards which you could apply for. Here are some other places you can look…

Chamber of Commerce

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Not only does the British Chamber of Commerce have its own annual nationwide awards, but your local chamber should know about other more local awards you can enter.

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Trade or Professional Associations

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Does the industry you work in have an association you can become a member of? If so, they will likely have awards to honour the best within the industry.

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Specialist awards

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Are you a specialist in any particular way? There are awards for all sorts of unique aspects of business, including awards for having a great company culture, for being a rural business, for running a business with a disability and so on.

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Five examples of awards you can enter

We’ve picked out five different examples of real awards you can enter, most of which are open for entries right now. 

  • The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards
    The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards

    Covering large and small businesses, these awards take place on 12 November 2019 with the deadline for entries on 7 June 2019. Enter now.

  • Disability-Smart Awards 2019
    Disability-Smart Awards 2019

    Showcasing the most innovative and inclusive employers, these awards take place on 23 October 2019 with the deadline for entries on 20 September 2019. Enter now.

  • UK Customer Experience Awards
    UK Customer Experience Awards

    Recognising businesses who put the customer at the heart of everything, these awards take place on 10 October 2019 with the deadline for entries on 28 June 2019. Enter now.

  • British Street Food Awards
    British Street Food Awards

    Competition bringing together the best food stalls from around the country in regional heats culminating with a national final.

  • The Rural Business Awards
    The Rural Business Awards

    Showcasing the best businesses operating across the rural sector, these awards have regional and national ceremonies. Enter now.

Checklist: How to write an awards application

To give yourself the best chance of winning or being shortlisted, you will need to put time and effort into writing your application. Go through our checklist below to ensure you’ve covered off everything.

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What happens if I’m shortlisted?

If you’re shortlisted, you will usually be invited to an awards ceremony. These events often invite the press and will give you the opportunity to network with other shortlisted entrants, enjoy dinner and entertainment as well as wait to see if you’ve won your category.

If you do win, you’ll likely have your photograph taken with your award and speak to local press about your experience.

Do be aware that these are often events you have to pay to attend. This is normal practice to cover the cost of running the awards and generate profit for the organisation hosting them. 

Remember, even if you don’t win, being shortlisted is still worth shouting about on your website and elsewhere. Most organisers will provide you with awards branding which you can use to reinforce and enhance your proposition. 

What else do I need to think about?

So, you’re all set and ready to enter your business for an award. Before you do, here are some quick things to bear in mind: 

  1. Some awards have a business entry fee. Make sure it’s legitimate before you cough up any cash and if you’re unsure, speak to previous winners to hear their experience.
  2. You might not win, and it might not be anything to do with your submission. The panel may have an idea of the type of business they want to award, or someone else met the criteria better. If you feel disheartened, ask for feedback on your application.
  3. Entering awards takes time, so be choosy and think about which ones are going to be the most beneficial for you to win and would make you most proud.
  4. You can submit specific employees to win awards, so if you are an employer, consider putting your team up for awards.
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