What does it take to become a UKBA winner?
With the early bird registration deadline for the UK Business Awards fast approaching, organisations across the country are throwing their hat in the ring and asking: how can I win this thing?
Well, we’re here to help! This blog will give you some key pieces of advice to help you wow the judges, both in your written entry and your LIVE Online presentation. Victory is never guaranteed – our judging panels’ independence makes sure of that – but by reading this, you’ll be giving yourself the highest possible chance of success.
We hope you find it useful!
1. Make sure you choose the right category(-ies)
There are 26 categories this year plus the UK Customer’s Choice Award, which members of the public vote on. Regular categories are divided into three sections: disciplines, industry heroes and business heroes in a crisis.
They encapsulate the range of achievement we’ve seen across British business in the last year. And you need to make sure you pick the right one for you!
Our Awards Consultants are more than happy to speak with you about your specific business situation and can advise you on which category is best suited to your accomplishments. You can always book a call with them to discuss your best options:
2. Gather the raw data on your company story
Before writing your entry, planning is essential! So many winners from previous years, like Dr Paul Phillips from Weston College, have stressed the importance of thorough planning in the early stages of their awards journey.
Leaving no stone unturned, you should go back through your initiative and get all the key information down. There’s no point trying to structure it all at this stage: you just want to make sure you have all the raw material you’ll need later.
Our finalists consider this one of the most beneficial aspects of the entry process: they have to think about their work from first principles, and this often leads to some illuminating conclusions.
3. Start structuring your entry based on the criteria
It’s crucial to get familiar with the criteria! After all, the judges will have this document in front of them when they score your entry. If you’re also closely attuned to the scoring requirements, both you and the judges will be singing from the same hymn sheet!
Make sure that you’ve addressed every aspect of the criteria in your first draft. And make sure you’re honest! The judges aren’t going to be overly impressed by something that’s too sanitised: you needto give a frank account of the actual journey you’ve been on. Ultimately, it’s the organisations that tell the most compelling stories that come out on top – and it’s hard to tell a good story if you leave out all the danger.
This is something we often hear from Gold Winners: their submission goes through several drafts before the final version is submitted. Ideally, you should be leaving a bit of time between drafts, and of course, you should be seeking out the opinion of multiple stakeholders to maximise its appeal.
Once you’ve had a round of feedback, the entry might go through a couple more drafts before it’s finally ready to submit. This is why it’s best to start earlier! If you do that, it will relax the entire process, you’ll have time to mull things over between drafts, and you’ll avoid the stress of a caffeine-fuelled last-minute writing session.
5. Think different for the presentation
If you’re shortlisted for the awards, you’ll have to think about your presentation to the judges. In our experience, this is a chance for a more personal touch. If your written submission was more about the technical details of your organisation’s journey, the presentation is an opportunity to show the real meaning it’s had for your company.
Many winners talk about the presentation as “bringing their initiative to life”, and that’s a great way to describe it. The aim is to give some animation to a story that, until that point, the judges only knew about on paper. That means thinking creatively: having multiple presenters, incorporating video and weaving in anecdotes are all great ways of adding to the human element.
But remember: you must also keep to the criteria! It’s OK to have a more eccentric structure for the presentation, but you should keep hitting those key scoring points if you’re hoping to emerge as the winner.
6. Finally, you MUST explain the commercial benefits of your initiative
Our judges are experienced business professionals – and that means that they’re looking for evidence of genuine commercial success.
You might have launched a fantastic initiative, but if your awards entry or presentation lack precise, quantifiable results from a business perspective, you’re not going to impress the judges enough to be a Gold Winner.
If you’ve had great results, lead with that! Don’t leave it for the judges to figure everything out for themselves: it’s best to spell it out!
Now is the perfect time to put this advice into practice and enter the UK Business Awards! Remember: your Early Bird registration discount lasts until May 7.