You’ve put your heart and soul into building your company into what it is today. You’ve nurtured it, you’ve coddled it, you’ve watched it grow. And now, you’re eyeing the prize – the Small Business of the Year Award. But first, you’ve got to write the application.
Where do you start?
Here are 5 tips for creating an application that will stand out from the crowd and get recognized by the judges.
1. Think like a Twitterer.
Be crisp, clear, and concise, so that the judge reading your application understands immediately what business you’re in and what products or services you sell. Take a tip from Twitter; if you can’t explain what you do or what you sell in 42 characters or less, then you don’t really understand it yourself.
2. Tell a story.
Don’t tell us that you own a successful gourmet dog food business (yawn). Tell us how you started out with nothing more than a dog biscuit recipe and a messy kitchen and now your products are stocked in high-end grocery stores across the country.
Also, give us a few cliffhangers to build suspense (Did your kitchen catch on fire? Did Jewel-Osco turn you down at first?). Remember, we love rooting for the underdog.
3. Prove your claims.
Saying you’re the #1 dog food company is just a silly overgeneralization. But we’ll believe you if you can say that your sales have grown by 18% for the past 7 years and that you own 63% of the dog food market. Prove every claim you make, as specifically as possible.
4. Write like you speak.
You don’t want the judge to be distracted by fancy words and complicated sentences. Instead, just have a conversation with the judge. If the judge were sitting right next to you, what would you say? What words would you use? How would you make your points? Now write exactly like that.
5. Make it easy to read.
Use short paragraphs with only one point per paragraph. Break up big blocks of text with headings and subheadings. And be on the lookout for opportunities to use charts, graphs and photographs. Your document will look more professional, and your complex ideas will be more understandable.
These hints are just the tip of the iceberg to creating a winning application. But follow this advice, and your application will definitely have a leg up in the competition. Good luck!