Ever wonder how other businesses become “award-winning,” or how they won the awards they brag about? I’ll let you in on a little secret – they usually apply for them! Yup, many of the awards that businesses receive are given to them because they have entered a contest to win them. If that comes as a surprise and gets you wondering if you could do the same, you absolutely can (and it’s easier than you may realize).
A Numbers Game
Since you are probably one of millions who didn’t know that all you needed to do was simply apply for the contests, you are also one of the millions passing up on award opportunities, giving others the chance to get their business labeled as “award-winning.” Make no mistake – there are some real benefits to not passing up on these opportunities.
This concept struck me when I was talking to the host of a local radio show. He told me that at any given time, roughly 20,000 people were listening to his show. Yet, when they have a give-away, say for Bon Jovi or other rock concert tickets, the “packed lines” are comprised of only about 30 callers vying to get through on the three lines they have.
In other words, there is very little competition, and if you have the persistence to call his station for the next 30 contests they have, there is a great chance you will win one of them. Wow! It hit me like a ton of bricks – your business should do the same! Apply for contests, because you would be surprised how few businesses actually do.
How to Apply
Most of the time, contests won’t just fall in your lap. You will have to be proactive in seeking them out, applying for them, and keeping track of everything. Here are some tips for finding, applying to, and winning business contests:
- The first thing you need to do is find them. You can do this by scanning trade association websites, newsletters, press releases, and by conducting searches online. You can also do it by noticing what awards other businesses have won, then Googling the contest that awards them.
- Most contests are an annual occurrence. Rather than having to do the leg work each year, build yourself a contest calendar that includes the details, due dates, etc. That way, each year you can just follow your calendar and add to it as you come across other contests.
- Be sure to read all the instructions carefully and follow them accordingly. It will be completely up to you to meet the requirements and get everything in by the submission due date.
- You may be surprised to learn that many contests have a fee for entry. This is common and is usually affordable. But you will need to weigh the winning benefits against the fee, to determine if you want to enter (or how many of this type you want to enter).
- Once you win an award, it is time to really let it be known. Send out a press release, add the information to your website, etc. You can officially call yourself an award-winning company, at this point!
Throwing in the Hat
The reward for winning a business contest is big. It feeds the ego – which is a good thing – but it also helps to keep you (and your entire team) motivated. It is also creates really great exposure. Winning gives you a reason to reach out to the press and share the story. Plus, it provides a great networking opportunity. You will meet other business winners and the press who shows up there. So, the question now becomes, which contest will you enter first?