Business awards – can you afford not to enter?

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By Colin Willman, FSB Chairman FSB Member Services Ltd

Business awards they’re time consuming to enter and a waste of time right? You couldn’t be more wrong.

Business awards needn’t be an expensive drain on your time and financial resource, in fact submissions are more straightforward and better still many are now slashing entry fees altogether.

Business Awards are great on two levels. Firstly they help raise the profile of your business if you’re a finalist or better still a winner. And secondly they offer further credibility to your business.

It’s difficult to blow your own trumpet – particularly when you’re knee deep running a business but can you afford to miss out on winning?

I’m biased of course and think the FSB WorldPay UK Business Awards are the Best in Business but let me talk you through some facts and handy hints.

Firstly, let’s do a quick sense check to establish whether you should be considering entering a business award:

Are you a successful small business owner with something to shout about?

Has your business flourished where your competitors have failed?

Are you a young entrepreneur with a service or a product your customers can’t get enough of?

If the answer to any of these is “yes” , then log onto www.fsbworldpayawards.co.uk as chances are you could be a contender for an FSB WorldPay UK Business Award and in with the chance of winning a cash prize of up to £10,000.

The awards are divided into four categories:

  • Business Innovation
  • Young Entrepreneur
  • Micro Business
  • Online Business

Each of the four category winners will receive £4500 plus a half-day marketing workshop. The overall FSB WorldPay UK Business of The Year winner will pocket an additional £5000.

Businesses need to have their entries submitted by the end of January 2014 to be considered for the national final in London in May.

Now, in its second year, the prestigious awards offer a rare opportunity to raise your company’s profile to a national level.

It’s a fantastic chance to let a whole new audience know and understand what makes you stand out from the crowd; what makes you a winner and why they should do business with you.

The awards are part of Celebrating Business Britain – a programme to help businesses like yours get the recognition they deserve, and to inspire business owners nationwide.

If you emerge triumphant, the national publicity generated for your company will be priceless.

Winning the competition will help publicise your brand, help convey your key messages, and make people sit up, listen and take notice of your company.

Small and medium size businesses are the lifeblood of our economy.

Almost five million small businesses run by passionate, driven entrepreneurs exist in Britain operating in sectors as diverse as retail, manufacturing, finance, technology and not forgetting the multitude of service providers.

You are the unsung heroes whose perseverance, determination and hard work are helping to drive the emerging economic recovery.

So, we believe it’s only right your innovations, achievements and successes are celebrated and recognised at a national level.

So if you feel suitably convinced – get entering now – we’d love to hear from you.

Here are some guidance and tips on how to compose a compelling entry.

How much information do I need to provide?

There are up to five questions for each category and each question only requires a 200 word answer.

What is my Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

Your unique selling proposition is what makes it special. Be enthusiastic about your business, look at it from the outside in and this will shine through.

Who can enter?

Anyone can enter, you do not have to be a FSB member or WorldPay customer, as long as you have less than 250 employees (or 10 for the micro business award) you can enter.

Does it cost?

Entry is completely free.

What are the key points to consider when entering?

Keep your entry simple and clear, don’t use industry jargon.

Stick to the word limit! Anything over the allocated count will not be considered.

Make sure you read the questions and stick to the criteria when answering.

Ask someone outside of your business to sense check your entry – this way you can feel confident it makes sense, even to those who are not familiar with your business.

What categories can I enter?

You can enter one or all four categories.

What happens if I get through to the National Awards?

You will be notified by email no later than the 3 March 2014. The awards will take place in May 2014 in London with a guest key note speaker and presenter. The awards will give you a great opportunity to network and meet key influencers.

So what are you waiting for?  Log onto www.fsbworldpayawards.co.uk to access your entry form. We look forward to hearing what makes your company an inspiration to us all.