How to Nominate or Apply for the 2014 Awards
Visit www.theawards.ca for eligibility requirements, award categories and information about the selection process. Then submit a nomination form before the May 16, 2014 deadline. All nominees will receive an application package which must be completed before July 28, 2014.
Remember that you can nominate yourself and/or other successful women entrepreneurs. Although the nomination deadline is not until June, the sooner you submit nominations, the better, because that allows extra time for nominees to prepare and submit an impressive application.
Check out tips & insights and submit your nomination today!
Tips for a Winning Submission
We asked past winners for their insights on how to submit a successful application. Here is what they shared with us:
- Be professional in your presentation.
- Follow the guidelines.
- Engage your staff.
- Provide proper background.
- Find your story.
- Tailor your submission to the category for which you are nominated.
- Write in a friendly, upbeat style.
- Include powerful collaterals and endorsements.
- Be prepared to be audited if you are chosen as a finalist.
- Don’t be shy!
1. Be professional in your presentation. Your application reflects you and the professionalism of your company. That means no hand-written submissions, spelling mistakes or typos. Remember that these are premier awards and it takes time to submit the application properly. If you do not have the time, consider hiring a freelance writer or professional marketing firm to help you, especially if your expertise is not in marketing. You’ll need to give good input and be sure that the final submission is a true reflection of you and your business.
2. Follow the guidelines. Ensure you provide the length and style specified in the application rules – i.e. 10 pages, double-spaced, 12 pt type and maximum five exhibits. You can include three references - good sources include your banker, accountant, suppliers who have helped you, and professionals in your industry who know you well and with whom you may have worked.
3. Engage your staff.The application process is a terrific way to get your employees involved in helping you and boosting morale in your company.
4. Provide proper background. Don’t assume the judges will be fully familiar with you or your business. Be detailed in your personal profile and business description, outlining your business from a personal point of view. It’s key to market yourself because it is the success of you as an entrepreneur that is more significant for these awards than the success of the company. And make sure you have a professional photograph on hand in case you are chosen as a finalist.
5. Find your story. Everyone has an interesting story to tell, but sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. If you think of significant learning experiences you’ve had along your path to growth, a story will inevitably emerge. It can be helpful to find someone to draw it out.
6. Tailor your submission to the category for which you are nominated. First of all, make sure that you fit the category – for example, Start-Up requires that you have been in business for at least three years and, in the Lifetime Achievement category, you are eligible even if you have had more than one business in your 15 plus years. Whatever the category for which you are nominated, study the definition carefully and ensure copy is written to justify why you should win – for example, in the Trailblazer category, ensure your application highlights how you are ahead of the game and set trends; and in the Momentum category, define an obstacle you have faced and how you overcame it.
7. Write in a friendly, upbeat style. Be authentic and sincere as this will shine through in your application.
8. Include powerful collaterals and endorsements. Marketing materials, media clippings and third-party support such as client testimonials and reference letters are good to include. But be selective and careful not to clutter your application with too many - remember, a maximum of five such exhibits, and no videos.
9. Be prepared to be audited if you are chosen as a finalist. Ensure that your numbers are transparent and that you have audited financial statements.
10. Don’t be shy! This is your opportunity to step back, take stock and applaud yourself for your hard work and achievements. It’s a healthy exercise since women tend to undervalue their accomplishments.
If at first you do not win, keep on trying! Even if you put considerable time and effort into applying and don’t win the first time, you will get something out of completing the application that will surprise you. It will make you feel very good about yourself. The moral: never give up. And if you apply the tips you’ve read here, you’ll be a step ahead in your pursuit of victory!
Visit www.theawards.ca for eligibility requirements, award categories and information about the selection process.
Completing the Financial Data Section of the Application
Many nominees have questions about the kind of financial information to be included in the application and why it is requested. Note that all financial information submitted is strictly confidential. Here are step-by-step instructions for completing the financial data section that you will find on page 1 of the application form:
- Record the first three items - Gross Revenue, Net Revenue and EBITDA - from your income statement:
Gross Revenue: Record the revenue amount before discounts for sales returns, allowances and any discounts offered
Net Revenue: Record the revenue amount after discounts for sales returns, allowances and any discounts offered
Note: Since some companies present revenues as gross amounts and others as net amounts, the two must be specified to ensure that the auditors clearly understand how you record revenues and will be in a position to compare apples with apples when assessing your business against others. Note that there may not be a difference in your gross and net revenues, particularly if you are a service-based business. But there will be a difference for any company that offers a trade discount or has returns - for example, publishing companies that record gross revenues when they ship out product to book stores, and then must record net revenues after adjusting for any returns.
EBITDA (earnings before interest on long-term debt, taxes and depreciation/amortization): Take your net earnings /income and add back any interest on long-term debt, depreciation or amortization, and taxes from the income statement.
Note: The EBITDA number is an industry standard used in evaluating companies. It provides a look into your operations and demonstrates the earnings on a comparable basis. Supply any necessary explanations here. For example, if you are an owner-manager taking advantage of tax-planning strategies such as bonuses, you may need to adjust for that.
- The numbers required for the following two items - current ratio and debt/equity ratio - are recorded on your balance sheet:
Current Ratio: Take your current assets and divide by your current liabilities. If the resulting number is greater than one, it indicates that you are financially soluble and have enough current assets to pay your current liabilities. If the number is less than one, you have a working capital deficiency and may not be able to pay your liabilities on a timely basis. A healthy business will have a ratio well over one, whereas a troubled company with negative working capital will be below one.
Debt/Equity Ratio: Divide your total debt (excluding accounts payable) by your total equity. This demonstrates how much you personally have at risk vs. the amount of capital invested by others in your business. The smaller the number, the more the company is at risk for financing the operations and growth. A larger number means that certain of the financing risks have been transferred to non-equity investors.
Percentage of Ownership: Indicate if you own the business 100%, or provide your share of the voting shares if you have partners.
Completing this financial data for your last three year-ends will go a long way in ensuring a solid application. You may also find it helpful to consult with your accountant or banker.
For more information about the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards, visit www.theawards.ca