Winning Tips for the Small Business BC Awards
by Toby Barazzuol on Friday Oct 17, 2014
On October 1st, nominations opened up for the 2015 Small Business BC Awards, BC’s premier recognition event aimed at celebrating local small businesses and entrepreneurs. Participating in award programs like this can be a great way for businesses to raise their profile, build confidence, establish their reputation and create new opportunities, regardless of where they place.
The 2015 Small Business BC Awards look to be bigger than ever with an expanded total of 10 award categories. This opens up the field and means that with a little strategy and planning, you could go pretty deep into the competition. So as two-time past winners of the Small Business BC Awards, we thought we would share some tips on making the most of this opportunity for your small business.
If someone has already nominated your business for an award, skip ahead. If there is a business that you love and admire, go ahead and nominate them... they’ll love it!
However if you haven’t yet been nominated, you do have the option of self-nominating. Nominating yourself is perfectly fine, that’s why it’s an option. Both first-party and third party nominations are accepted, and the nomination form is simple to complete. Wherever your business is at, it’s always important to celebrate your milestones and accomplishments, and the process of applying for awards can be valuable in itself. So go ahead and nominate yourself, you deserve it! And do it sooner than later because the nomination and voting period closes on November 30th, so the earlier you get started, the more momentum you can build.
side note: in 2012 we self-nominated and went on to win Best Employer. In 2014 Eclipse Awards was nominated by Matthew Tsang of MyLoudspeaker and we went on to win Best Green Business.
Even though there are 10 award categories this year, you don’t want to participate in all of them. We recommend choosing 2 or 3 categories at most to compete in. Remember, you have to drive votes in each category, so you don’t want to dilute your efforts.
Rally your community….
Once you’ve completed your nomination form, you’ll be given a dedicated webpage where you can send your supporters to vote for you. This is the time to rally the troops and call in your favours. Spend some time to identify your allies. They might be social clubs, business associations, or alumni groups you’re involved with. Ask them for help in promoting your webpage via social media. If possible, prepare some social media updates that they can use easily. This is your chance to let people know about some of the great things you do!
Vote Vote Vote!
It doesn’t matter where you’re located in BC or when your nominated, in the first stage all of your efforts should be focussed on getting votes to support your nomination. We feel that one or two vote requests per day is fine, but any more than that and you run the risk of annoying your supporters. Treat your supporters with respect and they will do the same in return.
Voting closes on November 30th and after that votes are tallied and adjusted for geographical location. If you’ve placed within the top 10 votes in your category, congratulations, you will move on to the next round. If not, you can still be proud of your efforts because more people know about your business now than they did before, and you can always come back again!
As a Top 10 finalist you’ll be given one month to provide the judging panel with a more detailed application outlining why you deserve to win the award. Focus on providing the information that they request, and also consider the sponsor of the award category. What qualities do you think they would want to see in the winner? Take some time with your application as this may be one of the rare occasions where you reflect on your business and what exactly have you accomplished. Not only is this reflection important and valuable to you and your business, your application will be used to narrow down the Top 5 finalists.
If you make it to the Top 5 finalists, you will be asked to make a live presentation to a panel of judges. This is where some preparation can help you bring it all home. First of all, you’ll want to use some presentation software. We used Prezi, which is not only a fantastic and easy to use tool, it also sets your presentation apart from typical Powerpoint presentations. It’s worth spending a day or two getting familiar with this in order to create a memorable presentation. Here is the Prezi that we created for our 2012 Best Employer Award presentation.
Again, review the requirements of your award category, consider the sponsors and the members of your judging panel. Emphasize the elements of your company that support the category that you’re in. Then practice your presentation until you know it well and comfortably. The judges want to see the real you, so authenticity is important. And remember to have fun! Yes, the stakes are high, but don’t take things too seriously.
After your presentation it’s time to relax. You’ve done all you can do and you’ve come a long way. Whatever happens, you’re already in the Top 5 in the province in your category, and that is an accomplishment itself!
These are some simple tips to guide you through the 2015 Small Business BC Awards. With a little planning and effort, these awards can be a tremendous way to draw attention to your business and create new opportunities. They’re also a great way to have some fun, connect with other small businesses throughout BC and ultimately, celebrate the spirit of small business.
So we hope you’ll nominate a business you love, or challenge yourself with a self-nomination. Either way, see you at the awards ceremony on February 26 in 2015!