Our BuBul awards expert, Louise Turner of Awards Writers, has helped hundreds of people and companies claim their glory through awards. Here are her tips about how to prove your case if you run a small businesses and are considering entering awards.
If you want to win an award, you’re going to need to prove that you deserve it. And that comes down to numbers.
As an experienced judge, I’ve seen plenty of award entries which tell a great tale, but just don’t back it up with evidence.
But as a small business without the need for extensive board reporting, KPIs, dashboards and other analysis, what numbers could you use?
As with many things, the answer is – it depends. And what it depends on, is what kind of category you’re interested in entering.
Awards for small business growth
If you want a trophy for growth or success, the headline evidence is fairly obviously going to be turnover and profit. This might seem like telling Grandma how to suck eggs, but I have genuinely judged award entries in growth categories without these metrics in them.
Other numbers you could include to evidence growth include:
- Clients, and the number of new clients
- Client tenure – how long do your clients stick around? Has the average length of time increased?
- Locations – whether that’s offices or sites
Awards for best employer
With recruitment so tricky in every industry right now, being able to say you’re an award-winning employer could help with what corporates call “employer brand” – how potential employees view you.
The kinds of numbers you’ll need to be able to present in an award entry include:
- How many people in your team
- Churn – how often do people leave?
- Average employee tenure – how long do people stay with you?
- Number of internal promotions
- Sickness absence rates
- Numbers about any benefits you offer, including holidays, volunteering days, pension contributions, Employee Assistance Programmes or other schemes
- Team engagement rates, or other numbers from staff surveys (if you don’t do one, it might be worth looking into)
Numbers aren’t the whole deal of course, so you’ll also need to demonstrate your strategy for being a great employer. What do you consciously do that’s better than similar organisations? How do you know it’s what your team wants and values? How have you benchmarked your business against other similar ones?
For everything else…
The biggest thing you need to focus on when it comes to metrics and data is impact. How can you prove that what you’ve done has made a difference? How you define that is totally dependent on what you do, but here’s a way to think about it.
If you run a facilities team in a hospital, you might have a target to change lightbulbs in theatres within 30 minutes of them being reported as having blown. If you wanted an award for your team or that part of your service, you might choose to say that you meet your target 98% of the time. But is that the impact of you changing that lightbulb?
I’d argue not. The impact of changing the lightbulbs swiftly is enabling potentially life-saving surgery to go ahead. So if you’ve improved from 85% to 98%, you need to do a calculation about how much longer the theatres can be in use as a result, and show the judges how many extra hours of surgery you have enabled, which will also have an impact on waiting lists.
It’s an extreme example, but it’s the difference between 9/10 people said the training course was great, and 95% of people were still implementing what they had learned six months later.
Thinking carefully about the data you’ll need for a future award entry now could really improve your chances when you’re ready to submit. So, what else do you need to measure to help impress the judges?
Entering and winning awards is a great way to publicise your business and win more customers. Why not have a chat with Louise to see how she can help you?