“Whenever an individual or a business decides that success has been attained, progress stops.” Thomas J. Watson

SMEs:  It’s time to Stand Up and Be Recognised – 10 Practical Tips to Entering Business Awards



Acknowledgement  Author: Diane Gray of Change Play Pty Ltd (

In a conversation with one of our business owner clients recently, I suggested that they should consider entering the upcoming business awards. It was evident they were quietly pleased about the suggestion, but what was more evident was their humility about their success, and gratitude for the community support they receive.

From experience, this reflects 90% of SMEs.

Yet together SMEs employ most of the working population.  In regional and rural areas, SMEs are the backbone of communities, and they build successful businesses despite the challenges of big business competitors, distance, transport and logistics, mobile and internet blackspots, skill shortages, expanding red tape and many more.

Yet when these businesses are nominated for a business award they become reticent, not wishing to sound boastful or big-headed   And if they are brave enough to enter, then next challenge is overcoming the overwhelm of actually completing the entry.

And who can blame them –  it can be a daunting undertaking, and as a result, the opportunity to acknowledge the SME’s contribution to their communities is lost.

“Contribution to communities through business deserves recognition.”

Diane Gray


SMEs need to be recognised – and the message here for SMEs is:  Step up.

Because the advantages of entering, far outweigh any challenges, particularly when help is easily accessible.

What are those advantages?

  • The exposure provides a platform for marketing and further business opportunities – certainly a bonus in an increasing competitive landscape.
  • Customers, clients and suppliers are part of your success, so referral business, and customer loyalty, is likely to increase.
  • Your profile as a great employer will be enhanced, and potential future employees will notice.
  • It helps to build a sense of comradery and pride between current employees.

And the advantage that seems to mean the most?  The gratitude people show for your contribution to their communities.

So, by now it should be an easy decision to make, and here are 10 practical tips to help write a great submission for your awards:

  1. A nomination is a compliment – whether received from a customer or client or supplier, they are nominating you because they truly value the service you provide, and to them you have made a difference – very often a big difference! So, keep this in your mind as you start to write your submission.
  2. Make sure you allocate plenty of time to write, and read, then re-read your submission.
  3. Copy the questions into a word document so you can proof read and spell-check – or even better, have an editor proofread for you.
  4. Answer the questions – make sure your response answers the question asked, and doesn’t wander off on a tangent, or waffle on.
  5. Stick to the word limit – that means do not over-write or under-write. Be in the ball park, because the word count is an indicator of the type, and quality, of information sought for each specific questions.
  6. Use language that has both rational and emotional engagement for the reader; that means you will be demonstrating the full impact your business has on your clients, employees, community etc.
  7. Be sure to check the award criteria. You will want to make sure you are meeting it, and have solid examples and evidence of how you, your team, and your business meet the criteria. Be sure to include how you meet the criteria in every aspect of your business, e.g. financial markers, customers’ feedback/reviews, market innovation, leadership etc.
  8. Provide a clear description of your business (or person in the business) that states honestly and clearly what you are about, and what is important to you in relation to the criteria. Write this as if you are being introduced to a complete stranger.
  9. Showcase your business because many judges will not know how great your business is unless you tell them and share key deliverables that you have achieved. These can include quantitative examples such as turnover or revenue earned and qualitative examples such as leadership, peer support or workplace culture.
  10. PROOF READ AGAIN before you hit submit and make sure your entry is in on time.

Best wishes and congratulations in advance.

Written by Diane Gray of Change Play Pty Ltd (


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