The BusinessGreen Leaders Awards are not just the largest and most prestigious green business awards in the UK, they are also the most competitive. So what does it take to ensure your entry stands out from the rest? After seven years of chairing the award's judging panel, BusinessGreen editor-in-chief James Murray offers his insights on what makes a strong entry and provides some top tips to help maximise your chances of success.

 

1. Read the criteria and plan your entry

Once you've decided on which category to enter it is vital to take the time to read the criteria fully and plan how your entry will demonstrate that it meets the criteria. You may not be able to answer every single question posed, but the best entries show a real engagement with the broad criteria the judges are using. Most importantly, the judges are looking for entries that demonstrate innovation and the potential for green business models and technologies to be scaled up. In short, the awards are dedicated to green business leaders, so your entry should show how you or your organisation are genuine leaders.

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2. Pull together the data points

The strongest entries tend to draw on plenty of evidence to back up their claims. As such, providing data that shows how a company or project has delivered tangible environmental benefits is often key. Even if your project is still on-going, projected gains and clear targets can help bolster an entry's attractiveness to the judges.

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3. Clarity is key

As the old journalistic adage goes, the golden rule for any news story is 'who, what, why, where, when, and how'. The same applies for awards entries. You don't want the judges to be left in any doubt about what your organisation or project does, so a clear and simple explanation of your primary activities and goals is absolutely critical. Once that is established you can then provide more detail about why your organisation and its work stands out.

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4. Don't neglect the entry name and short summary

The name you submit for your entry is the name that will appear on the short list if you are lucky enough to become a finalist. Similarly the short summary in the entry is used to provide a one-line description of your organisation, project, or individual in the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards programme. This is your chance to let all the other finalists know what it is you do and why you are a green business leader. As such, a clear explanation of what your organisation or project does is better than an opaque tag line

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5. Testimonials can help

Third party endorsements, whether they come from colleagues, customers or partners, are always likely to catch the eye and help an entry stand out. Different people always have different perspectives and it is also worth working with colleagues to ensure your entry really captures the full reach of your organisation's work.

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6. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words

Photos, infographics, and videos are not essential to an entry, but they can help the judges visualise what a project or campaign is all about, especially if it involves an emerging technology or clever communications strategy. You don't want to overload the judges with material, but a few well-chosen pieces of content can help ensure your entry stands out.

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7. Don't leave it too late

Very few people do their best work at the 11th hour, so don't leave it too late to draft and finalise your entry. You will also want to build in enough time to source input from colleagues and then share the final draft with others in the organisation. The deadline for entries may not be until 16th March, but it is still best to get started early.

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8. Read the rules and Ts and Cs

The last thing you want to do is spend the time putting together a strong entry and then undermine it by inadvertently breaking the rules. For example, it makes sense to broadly stick to the word limit, ensure your entries are timely and reference that work that has taken place since the start of 2017, and make sure your organisation has a UK presence.

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9. Check you can make it to the awards

Most important of all, no one wants to go to the trouble of producing a compelling awards entry only to then discover they don't have the time or the budget to attend the awards ceremony and pick up a gong if they win. Unlike many awards the BusinessGreen Leaders Awards are free to enter, but we can only invest in hosting such a high profile event and providing much of our daily online content on a free to air basis if those organisations that are shortlisted do then attend the awards. Pricing information for the event is already available for a range of packages. All tickets include the rights to a finalists' logo that organisations can use to help bolster their green credentials. So if you are planning to submit an entry please be sure you can make it to the awards themselves.

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10. Proof read your entry – and then proof read it again

Last but not least, the most exciting entry in the world can be quickly undermined by the odd glaring typo or confusing sentence. The judges ultimately have to make their decision on the strength of the entries in front of them, so maximise your chances of success by taking the time to check your submission for accuracy and clarity.

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