Top tips for entering

Here are some hints and tips to make sure your entry is as good as it can be for the North East Business Awards.

Winning an award is not just about how good your business is but how well you can put your case across to the judges. Creating a winning entry takes time and consideration, getting to the point and being able to back up what you say.

BusinessLive has put together some handy tips to make sure your application is as good as it can be. The rest is down to your hard work - good luck!

As the old saying goes, if something is worth doing it's worth doing well. Give yourself ample time to consider your thoughts on the projects, products and initiatives that have brought you success over the past year. What have been the highlights over the past year? What have you achieved that has exceeded expectations or seen you go above and beyond your rivals?

Sounds straightforward but make sure you choose the category that plays to your strengths and if you are entering more than one category - please don't just use the same content for multiple entries. Judges want to see answers that are tailor made for specific award criteria - it shows you care about your application.

Judges will be looking at how to score entrants in each category and that can only be done if you are able to answer the specific points asked of you. Make sure you follow the guidelines and give clear concise answers to each point in turn - make your entry easy to read with subheads to highlight each question.

If you've had record sales growth this year then make sure you include the figures. Taken on staff? Say how many. The judges need more than general statements, they like details and will be looking out for exactly how you've achieved success this year.

If you've used social media to build brand loyalty and engagement then make sure your posts are up to date. Judges will want to see a vibrant active string of posts and interaction. Get active promoting your entry into the awards too - it won't sway the judges but it will show that you are happy to shout about your success and proves your place in the online community.

It's one thing for you to say that customers are satisfied but it's even better to provide testimonials. Do you have customers who will be willing to say how happy they are with your service? Judges don't need an essay but a snippet to illustrate the point will pay dividends.

When you have completed your application - check back and honestly ask yourself if it is user friendly - is there too much waffle? Can I make some elements easier to read? Have I broken up the text into clear bitesize chunks? Your entry is all the judges have to go on in deciding whether you make the top spot. Make sure it is enticing and if it links to your website, make sure that is enticing too with an up-to-date homepage.

It's always a good idea to see who you are up against and while you may not know who your competition is this year, check out last year's winners and finalists - there may be useful insights into why they came up trumps.

It's hard sometimes to be objective about your own work. When you've worked so closely on a project it's difficult to see errors or omissions - ask a colleague or two to look over your application. They may recommend including something that you haven't thought of or come up with a new idea.

Don't scrimp on the details. Before you press send, give your entry a final proof for spelling and grammar and read it aloud - it is such a useful way to make sure your sentences make sense. Rewrite parts if necessary - the attention to detail will be worth it.