How to Win Business Awards

If you’re anything like me, you may be closely following the Academy Award nomination race. Lincoln is a lock for Best Picture. No…wait! It might be Silver Linings Playbook. Anne Hathaway will take Best Supporting Actress, but – uh oh – now Amy Adams is gaining momentum.

So exhilarating.

If you’re not like me, you probably couldn’t give two hoots about the Academy Award race. But, I bet you’d still love to snag some of the prestige that comes along with the business equivalent of the Oscars.

Ladies + Gentlemen, today we’re talking How to Win Business Awards.

Why should winning business awards hit the top of your wish list?

It’s not about ego (ok, for some, it may have a little to do with ego). What it’s really about is being able to leverage the credibility that comes along with winning an award and turn those kudos into cash for your business.

Also, mounting an award campaign is exciting and creates a big buzz around your brand. You wouldn’t believe what actors and actresses go through to campaign for an Oscar. Planted stories, exhausting personal appearances, strategic interviews, schmoozing influencers, oodles of advertising, and, lets not forget, those stunning designer dresses and suits. While you certainly don’t have to go to this extreme, you can still benefit from the excitement an awards campaign brings.

Ready to get started? Follow these steps to create your own Hollywood-inspired race for the gold:


The entertainment world has it easy. They know which awards bring the most clout.

As business owners, we need to dive a bit deeper.

The first rule is to research some awards you could possibly win. Google business awards. Look at your competition. Check out award competitions in your region.

One important rule of thumb is to look for awards that your customers will understand and recognize. For example, most industry-specific awards hold clout with your peers, but your customers will have no idea what they mean. If I won an Anvil award, PR agencies might think I’m the bomb, but my ideal client wouldn’t have a clue as to what an Anvil award is.

I was named a Small Business of the Day by Fox Business News, which my ideal clients understand and celebrate.

Some awards you may want to to check into:

INC 500/5000

The Stevies (for women in business)

Webby Awards

Dream Big Awards Program

Startup Nation Leading Moms in Business

Apply with Gusto

Most business award competitions have an application process. Treat it with care and put in the time and effort to showcase your best work. Judges sift through hundreds and sometimes thousands of applications, so make sure yours stands out by following directions, highlighting your impressive credentials, and incorporating some personality + punch.

Rally the Troops

Many award programs choose the winners based on audience vote (think of it like The Voice, but for business folk). This is the time when you want to rally your troops by letting everyone know you’re aiming for the award. Share it on Facebook, tweet it, blog about it, email your subscribers, post it on your homepage, add it to your email signature, give away valuable content or special gifts to those that champion your campaign. It takes work, but the payoff is “oh so” worth it.

You’ve Won! Now What

Most people that win awards expect a flurry of customers and press to shower them with attention and sales. It doesn’t always happen this way.

This is the same reason an Academy-Award winning actor/actress will end up in some lame box-office flop the very next year.

Act like the “award-winner” you are and leverage your newfound title properly.

Just like the Best Actor and Best Actress will do loads of interviews on that “moment,” you can roll out your own red carpet and share the story of your award-winning journey on your blog. Why did you submit? What was the campaign process like? How did it feel to win? Don’t forget to thank your supporters. Who knows? You may inspire someone to win their own award.

And, of course, you may now title yourself as an award-winning [insert business name here].

Sounds amazing, right?

TAKE ACTION: Research one award you plan to go for in 2013 and post it in the comments below. It’s never too early to claim your race and start rallying the troops to support you!

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{ 4 comments } Add your comment ...

  1. Hi Melissa, GREAT ARTICLE and certainly motivating! Appreciate you sharing your insight. I am a Gold Stevie for Women In Business winner and a Gold Stevie winner in the American Business Awards. I hope you will check out my blog articles on this topic at Let’s connect and both be even better and bigger WINNERS!

  2. Thanks, Melissa! Great read :)

    I have a question – as someone who is new-ish and is still working her way up to the top, how soon is too soon to go for a business award? I know I don’t need to be the absolute end-all, everyone-knows-my-name kind of business owner to win an award. But I’m wondering if they’d expect me to be in business for a certain number of years before considering me.

    Which now, reading that it makes me think I’m just doubting my own abilities! Hahaha

    Thank you!

    • melissa |

      Hi Jenna! There are plenty of awards for new-ish entrepreneurs so just check out the criteria for the award you’re going for and, if there’s no stipulation for number of years or amount of revenue, GO FOR IT! :-)

  3. Russ |

    Great article! Winning awards not only elevates your brand they help you get exposure and can improve employee moral and loyalty. I mean who wants to work for a regular old company.

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