Seven questions to ask before you enter a business competition

Business journalist Colette Sexton cuts through the noise to advise on how to choose the cream of the crop in business competitions and awards

There are many competitions for businesses out there. While it is lovely to win awards, often the process of entering can be time consuming and can mean you or your best employees are focused on winning prizes instead of doing their 'real' jobs.

Of course, if you do well in the right competition, it can do wonders for your company’s reputation, the morale of your team and the way clients and potential clients perceive you. It can also provide invaluable resources to your business.

"Sometimes, award winners just receive a gong. These are nice to show your mammy."


So, how do you figure out what competitions are worth your time, and what ones to leave aside? Ask yourself following seven questions.

1 Will it raise your profile?

Does the competition itself have a media focus? Doe it have a good media partner? Has it received a lot of coverage in previous years? These are questions answered with a quick Google search and will help you to measure the value of winning against the resources you will need to dedicate to the competition.

2. Is there a prize?

Sometimes, award winners just receive a gong. These are nice to show your mammy, but other competitions can mean something completely transformative for the company, whether it is a cash prize or equipment or technology that would be of huge value to your business.

Watch: What winning The Pitch meant for my business

3. Is it good for networking?


Who are the judges? Can they bring value to your business? Who else is likely to enter the competition? Could they be a potential client or supplier you can build a relationship with throughout the process? 

4. Is it run fairly?

I have been to several award ceremonies where everyone knew the winner in advance because an organiser was friendly with one of the nominees or because nominees actually paid for their place.

It is completely pointless, and frustrating if you only want to win fair and square.

5. Do you have a shot of winning?

Too often, women are suffocated by imposter syndrome and do not put themselves forward for awards and competitions.

Related: Six ways to beat imposter syndrome


Try your best to look at the award criteria objectively and see if you meet it. If you can’t set aside your imposter syndrome, ask a trusted friend or adviser to examine it with you and see what they think.

6. Who are the previous winners?

Finding out who won the competition in previous years can be a great way of measuring its value. If you know them, reach out to ask them what their experience of winning was like. If you don’t know them, then ask yourself if they are a business or a person that you respect and you would like to be associated with.

7. Have you entered before and failed?

If you have, it does not mean you should not try again. Third, sixth, eleventh time can be a charm.

Keep trying! 


We have one...

There is still time to enter The Pitch, a competition run by IMAGE Media powered by Samsung, aimed at innovative business people. This competition is one that is definitely worth your time.

It could see you and your business walking away with a career-changing prize worth €100,000.

You will also have the opportunity to live pitch your business in front of the judges. Daunting but fair...and a great learning experience.

For more details, check out 

Entries close midnight, August 5th.

Featured image via Getty


Read more: The Pitch is now open to men and women

Watch: The Pitch Live event 2018

Read more: 'I can't stand public speaking'


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