Shropshire Business Awards - Becoming a Finalist

Shortly after I joined Fitsco, after a bit of thought, I decided to apply for the company to be nominated as a finalist of the Shropshire Chamber Business Awards 2019.

It was a straightforward decision to apply, as I felt that Fitsco needed to shout about the fact they are one of just two companies making their own threaded inserts in the UK and that they weren’t doing enough to increase their own brand awareness in the local area.

I searched through the awards, and found three awards to apply for, which I felt that Fitsco had the best chance of winning, which were: ‘Best Small Business (6-20)’, ‘Best Manufacturer’ and ‘Technology, Innovation and Enterprise’.

I broke each award down into their own individual criteria and arranged for the team to meet to discuss ideas. As someone who had been in the role for less than two months, it wouldn’t have been possible to apply without the valued input of Phil, Jayne, Carys and Paul. Getting the five of us together in the same place at the same time proved to be one of the biggest hurdles in the whole process! We worked through the criteria, with all of us chipping in our own thoughts and ideas on each, and I had plenty to work with and talk about.

Another hurdle to overcome was keeping within the strict 750-word limit. On one of applications, nearly 2500 words were written. Trimming these down to be clear, concise and still focused on the criteria that each award sets out proved to be a thought-provoking task.

The awards applications were all submitted on the day of the application deadline, which was Friday 26th April, with the finalists announced a week later, Friday 3rd May.

During this week, I wasn’t expecting to reach the awards finals and I just worked on as normal, looking at other avenues to promote the world of threaded inserts through. On the Friday, the announcement day, I waited in anticipation for the announcement to come through, frequently checking the Shropshire Chamber website and Twitter feeds all morning to see if there was an update.

At lunchtime, an email comes through! The finalists of the ‘Technology, Innovation and Enterprise Award’ is announced – we didn’t make it. At this point I was disappointed and a bit dejected. I tried to reaffirm myself that there’s two more awards and two more chances for us to reach the final, but there was an overwhelming feeling that perhaps I thought the applicants across Shropshire were too strong this time, as there are hundreds of small businesses and manufacturing companies all over the county. But, soon after, an email comes through. We’ve done it. We’re heading to the final as a finalist in the ‘Best Small Business (6-20)’ category. Joy. Elation. Relief! It’s worth it. I send a WhatsApp to the team to let them know and congratulate them on their hard work in reaching the final and they are all delighted, as am I.

Shropshire-Chamber-of-Commerce-Finalist-Logo

No sooner than the office of myself and Carys that day calms down, another email comes through from the Chamber and we’ve made another final, ‘Best Manufacturer’ this time. We have just reached the final of two out of three awards, and we’re all absolutely delighted.

The application process is now completed and we then looked forward to finding out when the judges will arrive, to show them around the world of designing, making and manufacturing threaded inserts.

There are several things I can take away from applying for business awards, and here is my advice:

  • Be confident in yourself and your business. I have to admit, there was times in the process where I wasn’t sure if it was worth us applying. With it being my first effort at writing an application for an award, I didn’t think I’d be experienced enough and thought there would be more experienced businesses applying for the awards. But, having reached the final of two categories, the process has instilled confidence in myself and the business.
  • Think about your business from the outside. Having only recently joined Fitsco, a few weeks before the application process began, I was able look at the company from the outside. It’s important to think about what you’re good at and what differs you from the competition.
  • Look at the award criteria and be concise. It’s easy to copy and paste some general information from your website or a PowerPoint but look at what is required for each criteria and write about that. The 750-word count doesn’t allow you to waffle or talk about irrelevant information.
  • Get more people in the team to contribute. This is an important stage to combine knowledge, where everyone will have their own thoughts and ideas on each individual criterion. I don’t have the technical ideas that some team members have, where as other team members have good ideas on the processes that are taking place. Contribution is key.

Blog by Dan - 14th June 2019

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