How to write an award winning application in 5 easy steps

Congratulations, you’ve decided to enter that award!! You have made the right decision, now for the fun bit!

You want to make your entry count, so how do you go about it, and stand out from all the other applications?

originally posted 3 September 2019

But if you haven’t decided to enter that award, you may be thinking: why bother?

I get it, so here’s why I think entering awards is a good idea:


It’s a huge motivation for your team. Speaking from experience, my team get a real buzz when we are finalists for awards, let alone thinking of winning!

They actually ask me to enter awards, as they’re proud of what we’ve achieved!

Review where you are

We’re all busy, and although as business owners we should be working on our business, not in it, we still have to roll our sleeves up and get stuck in sometimes.

So it’s good to take a step back and review what you’re doing. Acknowledge the good stuff, learn from the stuff that hasn’t gone so well.


It’s not all about the winning. Being recognised as a finalist is huge, and something to be recognised for, and shout about.


It will improve your reputation, in your industry, in your business community, and as a great place to work too!


It will also open an array of opportunities for you. As a result of being finalists, or winning awards, we’re now asked to speak at different events.

We’re also entering different awards, and Sharon has been asked to judge for the Xero Awards, Accounting Excellence Awards, and Herefordshire Business Awards!


Entering awards is a huge confidence boost (see above) before you even get to the finalist or winning stage.

As I said above, it’s so valuable to take a step back and see how far you’ve come.

And then to become a finalist or winner is HUGE!

So now we’ve convinced you to enter, here are our top 5 tips on making your award entry count!

1.  Answer the question

Actually – read the damn question first! Take time to think about what the question is really asking for, before answering.

This is a great time to stand back and evaluate yourself or your business (depending on who you’re applying for an award for!)

I was recently judging the Accounting Excellence Awards in London, and  one of the answers just said “to follow”. Guess how many marks they got?

2. Focus in on what makes you extraordinary

What makes you worthy of winning an award?

How do you go the extra mile, in relation to your award category?

If it were a client care award – how do you really wow your clients? For an employer award – why is your workplace the most amazing to work at?

Don’t just describe “doing your job”. This is not extraordinary.

3. Use bullet points and don’t waffle!

The judges will have a lot of entries to go through, so make yours stand out to them by being easy to read.

Bullet points also help you to stay on track and focussed, and stop you waffling.

You could also use numbered points if this is more relevant.

Don’t use vague statements that you can’t back up with stats, metrics and other evidence.

4. Don’t brag!

This never comes across well. State the facts, it’s up to the judges to decide whether you’re amazing enough to win the award.

Of course you want to tell the judges you’re amazing, but let that speak for itself through your facts, statistics and testimonials.

Which leads nicely to my final tip:

5. Use quantifiable evidence

Saving the most important step til last.

If you are stating something you’ve done well, the judges are not just going to take your word for it, you need to be able to back it up with evidence.

Again, make it easy for the judges. I once saw an application just providing a link to their Facebook page when asked to provide quantifiable evidence!

This could include:

  • Your business results and improvements (look at turnover, gross profit, net profit, and how this has improved)
  • Customer or staff testimonials
  • Google and Social Media Analytics
  • NPS score (Net Promoter Score)
  • Other awards

We wish you the very best of luck with your award entry!

If you win, you’re a finalist or neither of those, I do believe that entering awards is a hugely valuable opportunity to stand back and look at how far you’ve come. Have a look at my blog What’s the point of entering awards for more benefits of entering.


The Herefordshire Business Awards are now open for applications! Go go go! You can apply online here.

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