By Copy Writes Copy
You don’t have to be intelligent to write an amazing small business award entry, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy. In fact, when done properly, writing an 'award-winning' award entry, is flipping difficult, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Award entry writing can actually be really simple, and take up hardly any of your time.
How? I hear you ask.
Simple - stop giving a sh#t
In this helpful 11 Step Guide, we show you that by not giving a s#@t, award entry writing isn’t that difficult at all. So cast aside those worries, pour yourself a glass of something, and let’s teach you how to completely f@#k up your entry, and probably bring your business down with it.
Step 1: Don't give yourself any time
It’s only a form - so stop stressing. Leave it until a couple of days before the submission closing date, and then burn that midnight oil. The form will probably be full of repetition, spelling mistakes, scribblings-out and non-sensical sentences, but fear not.
Simply add a little note along with the submission, hinting at a possible neurobiological disorder - now the judges have a moral obligation to at least give you a shot.
TOP TIP: Remember – time is just a human concept and doesn’t actually exist. Use this excuse if your late entry is returned.
Step 2: Don't bother reading the questions properly
You’ve always been known for your speedy decision making – why should an award entry be any different? Your time’s precious, so don’t waste it trying to make sense of complicated questions.
If the award organisation can’t be bothered to write clear, easy-to-understand sentences, then that’s their problem not yours. Write the first answer that comes into your head, or refer to Step 3.
TOP TIP: Goals are a great motivational tool for the small business owner. Why not use your stopwatch - set yourself a goal to complete the form in 10 minutes, or 8 minutes if you want to be a real champion?
Step 3: Skip questions
Don’t waste time on dull questions such as- How would you view your award? or What do you think the future holds for your industry? Instead, spend time on the ‘money questions’, the ones that give you the chance to talk about your career accomplishments.
Write about the time you halved staff lunchbreak times to increase time spent with clients, or when you stopped wasting money on IT Support and took everyone back to paper spreadsheets and Filofaxes. Judges love to hear about that sort of stuff and they score you high, probably.
TOP TIP: If you’re worried about skipping questions, why not take a course in tai chi? Concentrate on the ‘flux of yin and yang’ instead of worrying about a few missed answers.
Step 4: Ignore word counts
Word counts are subjective. Judges will love to see your squashed up, unintelligible paragraphs that exceed any set word counts.
You could even finish paragraphs off on some those spare business cards you have lying around. Just don’t forget to shove them in the envelope before you seal it - you don’t want to lose points for forgetfulness or miss out on a little marketing opportunity.
TOP TIP: If you don’t have much to write about, up your word count by using superlatives and extra words you don’t need to write, such as:
‘We love our customers because we love them.’
‘Our quality produce is the best quality produce we produce.'
Step 5: Don't bother rough drafting
As stated in Step 2 - your time is precious. Just get your thoughts down directly onto the form as quick as possible (that boxset isn’t going to watch itself). If you make a mistake, use a marker pen to cover it up.
TOP TIP: If you’re feeling creative, turn the mistake into a humorous Banksy-style political message that points out that ‘banal awards for participating in a morally-corrupt economic system, serve only to prolong the suffering of the already down-trodden proletariat’.
Step 6: Tell lies
Let’s be honest – you’re going to be making stuff up. But before you do, remember - this award is going to have a massive, positive impact on sales and your reputation, so it’s worth getting creative.
Don’t be obvious and lie about customer service records, mentorships and apprenticeship schemes etc. If you’re going to lie, be current, and use popular phrases. Here are 3 popular lies you might like to try:
Our organisation has reduced non-recyclable plastic use in all our offices to almost zero.
We’ve adopted a gender-neutral interviewing policy.
Our canteen is now only serving vegan food.
TOP TIP: Why not invent customer testimonials too? Customer advocacy’s all the rage nowadays – who says those customers have to be real?
‘Great service!!! Always on time and always got the job done. I’m going to tell all my friends about you.’
Gladys King- Renfrewshire
Step 7: Don't get help
So, you’re thinking of getting a professional to write your award entry? That’s fine - if you want someone to take all the credit. These so-called professional award entry writers will:
Know all the best techniques to give your business the best chance of success
Get to know your company and all the positive points that make it worthy of the award
But seriously, have you thought this through? Are you actually prepared to pay good money for something you can easily do yourself? Just get writing and stop being a slacker.
TOP TIP: Why not cut and paste content from all the best award entry samples online? Remember what Oscar Wilde said – ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’.
Step 8: Show off at every opportunity
Big yourself up, but don’t go into specifics. Tell the judges how ‘bloody passionate’ you are as a business and that you’re the ‘best of the best’ and your customers ‘always recommend you’. But don’t give any more details than that, and definitely don’t give any proof, because let’s face it, you don’t have any.
TOP TIP: Why not send the judges a free sample of whatever it is you do (especially if you make fifty pound notes)? 😉
Step 9: Keep your team out of it
This isn’t their award. And being totally honest, they’re all a bit weird and they don’t stop moaning – ‘We want more money’ or ‘We want 21st Century working rights’, blah, blah.
Forget them - you started this business, and it’s your wall the certificate will be sellotaped to. This is YOUR time to luxuriate in YOUR success.
TOP TIP: Why not try getting rid of your team?
Step 10: Don't forget all the charities you help
Judges like nothing better than a good old dose of philanthropy. List all the charities you donate to. Again, don’t be too specific. It could just be that time you added a penny to your takeaway pizza bill, or when you bought a lottery ticket, or threw a couple of pence into a buskers hat.
Whatever it is, embellish it and tack it to your business, and you’ll have the judges salivating with admiration and respect.
TOP TIP: Show the judges you care by donating the staff Christmas bonus to charity. You’ll increase your chances of winning an award, and your staff will have a warm, charitable glow about them throughout the festive season.
Step 11: Don't read your submission aloud
It’s just embarrassing. You know you’re not the greatest writer and you don’t really want to amplify those clunky sentences, jarring errors and untruths. And definitely don’t read it to someone else. They’ll laugh at you, point out your ineptness and really knock your confidence.
Just shove it in the envelope or tap send, and then forget all about it until your get your nomination.
TOP TIP: Handwrite paper entries using barely decipherable copperplate style calligraphy. It’s the perfect way to hide your mistakes in a classy way that’s sure to impress the judges.
Winning an award for your business, especially if you have a small business, can be hugely beneficial. It can be a great marketing opportunity, give your business credibility and a noticeable advantage over your competitors, so it’s vital to fill in the award entry correctly.
Follow the guidelines set out by the award organisation, and if necessary hire a professional, but whatever you do – DO NOT FOLLOW THE STEPS IN THIS GUIDE. Some of them are illegal and can get you into all sorts of bother.
We hope you enjoyed reading this piece of satire, and if you'd like something similar written for your business, get in touch.