Here’s why you didn’t win that business award

Jasmine Hanna, business award writer, leans against a wall with folded arms

No, you didn’t miss out on that business award because you “weren’t good enough”. Here are the real reasons you didn’t win, along with strategies to turn the tables next time.

1. You left it until the last minute

The truth is, you’re not the only person who left that business award submission to the last minute, but doing so compromises on quality. Winning entries require in-depth planning, time to gather supporting evidence and careful proofreading. And don’t forget the all-important thinking time. Thoughtful responses, not quick answers, win awards. For example, could you recall on the spot the finer details of your best three customer service success stories in the past 12 months?

Tip: Business awards are held around the same time every year. Keep track of award dates and set yourself a reminder ahead of time to begin planning. Also, sign up to newsletters of awards programs – they will give you the heads up on important dates and if you’re lucky, reminders when time is running out.

2. You didn’t include concrete evidence

Simply stating you’re the best or that you deliver great service won’t cut it. A business awards judge is looking for solid proof. This means quantifiable achievements, such as the number of new clients, your retention rate, how you went above and beyond, or your Net Promoter Score. It’s details like these that validate your claims and put you ahead of the competition.

Tip: Create a “fantastic folder” to collate outstanding achievements, projects, and client feedback across the year and if you’re not already, track key business metrics regularly.

3. You didn’t answer the question

It’s easy to get carried away listing all your achievements, especially if you’ve had a big year! But this might lead you to miss addressing the specific question, or to not provide enough detail on each initiative. Rather than telling the judges about all your achievements during the qualifying period, try to pinpoint the ones most relevant to the question at hand.

Tip: Check every word in your response directly answers the question, and if it asks for examples, pay close attention to how many are required.

4. You entered the wrong category or program

Different business award programs and categories are designed to recognise different achievements. Align your entry with the category that best fits your success story. For example, if you overcame a challenge with an innovative solution, look for innovation-focused awards. Similarly, if growth is your biggest achievement, target categories celebrating this.

Tip: Research and choose awards that align with your businesses’ strengths, rather than entering the first one that comes across your desk.

5. You didn’t read the fine print

Every business awards program comes with specific criteria and a qualifying period. Ignoring these could lead to disqualification before you even begin. It could also lead to inclusion of information which isn’t relevant – even though you probably had oodles of relevant examples you could have provided instead.

Tip: Carefully read every single word of the award criteria before you decide to enter. Then, make sure everything you’ve mentioned took place in the qualifying period.

6. You went over the word limit

Keeping to the tight word limit of a business award submission is often the hardest part about entering. If you go over the word limit, either the submission portal won’t let you enter in the additional information, or judges will disregard it. This means crucial parts of your submission will be ignored, leaving judges with an incomplete picture of your business.

Tip: Plan your submission with the word limit in mind. If the word limit is tight, focus on a few key points rather than trying to cover everything.

7. You ignored the “additional attachments”

Optional attachments and videos are opportunities to stand out. Treat them as mandatory and devote time to making sure they leave a lasting impression by showcasing your unique strengths. While they require extra effort, additional attachments are invaluable for adding depth to your submission and can be pivotal in clinching the award.

Tip: Don’t leave these to last. Plan for them early, allowing time to source case studies, testimonials, or create engaging videos or graphics as part of your submission.

Don’t let another year pass by without showcasing your business’s true value. Contact us today for expert guidance on crafting a winning business award submission that highlights your unique strengths and achievements. Let’s make that next business award yours.

Why is it important to start preparing for a business award early?

Starting early allows you to thoroughly plan your submission, gather supporting evidence, and ensure thoughtful responses. This increases the quality of your application and your chances of winning.

How can I provide concrete evidence in my business award submission?

Include quantifiable achievements such as new client numbers, retention rates, and Net Promoter Scores. Collate outstanding achievements and track key business metrics regularly to support your claims.

What should I do if I'm not sure how to answer a question in the application?

Focus on directly answering the question and providing relevant examples. Ensure every word in your response contributes to addressing the question, and pay attention to the number of examples required.

How do I choose the right category for my business award application?

Research and select categories that align with your business’s strengths and achievements. For example, if innovation is your strong suit, look for innovation-focused awards.

What are the consequences of not reading the fine print in award criteria?

Ignoring the criteria and qualifying period can lead to disqualification or inclusion of irrelevant information. Carefully read all the details before entering to ensure your submission is eligible and relevant.

Why is it important to adhere to the word limit in a business award submission?

Exceeding the word limit can result in parts of your submission being ignored or not accepted, leaving judges with an incomplete picture of your business. Plan your submission with the word limit in mind to ensure all key points are covered concisely.

How can additional attachments enhance my business award submission?

Optional attachments like case studies, testimonials, and videos are opportunities to showcase your unique strengths and add depth to your submission. They can be pivotal in clinching the award, so treat them as mandatory and plan for them early.

How can I get help on my business award submission?

Contact professional consultants or agencies that specialise in crafting award submissions. They can provide personalised advice and help you highlight your unique strengths and achievements in your application.