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How award submissions can boost your business plan

By CCIWA Editor 

Entering business awards are not just winning accolades, they can also help you write your business plan and force you to review it annually. 

Writing awards submissions can require comprehensive analysis of all aspects of your business but the investment in time is worth it, says experienced tourism award submission writer and Willie Creek Pearls CEO Sally Hollins. 

Prior to becoming CEO in 2016, Hollins wrote 25 tourist award submissions in four years and developed a reputation for winning gold. 

“It’s all about the story and how you sell,” she says. 

“Once you get an award you can’t just put it on the wall and think ‘we’re good’. You have to work it. 

She said winning and standing out from the pack is the obvious reason to enter, but it’s the more serious side of looking at your whole business to write the submission that is even more important as it helps frame your business plan. 

“The first question is about the product and how you display excellence and your values with regard to that,” she says 

“The second question is about your business plan – your goals, your strategies your objectives and they are all measurable and dated and all of that. There’s also a section in there on risk and training.  

“Third questions are all about marketing, fourth questions about customer service and the fifth question is about sustainability.  

“So if you work your way through all five of those every year you have your checklist of your business.” 

When entering each year, your previous submissions reveal what you were trying to achieve, what you did achieve and what you didn’t.  

She says it creates an increased awareness of all the important things to consider, such as risk management.  

“My risk management is up to date and rated according to importance and what could be a catastrophic and not catastrophic result of them,” she says 

“For example, last year was not great in Broome and we even had to close the farm for three months because we had 1.2m of rain in a month and we couldn’t get out there, the roads were damaged.  

“One of the risks was no access to the farm, so if you have business interruption insurance, tick. So it’s a really good checklist for the health of your business.” 

“The benefits of it are huge in terms of getting out of it at the end of the day a document that is almost a business plan. That is actually how I wrote the business plan for Willie Creek because it was more or less the submission.” 

Hollins says the judges comments and suggestions for improvement are invaluable and a great way to get advice on how your business is looking 

“Some of the comments are not so glowing but you do it better next year,” she says 

“It’s feedback saying you can do more on this and why. They basically grade you from a business perspective of is your business healthy.  

“It’s a great way to get outside feedback and look at your business with open eyes. You can see how to improve and incorporate the enhancements into your business plan update. I’m a huge advocate of the process.” 

Entering business awards are not just winning accolades, they can also help you write your business plan and force you to review it annually. 

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