Four tips to help you ace your Xero Award nomination

The Xero Australia Awards are back for another year! That’s right, this is a chance to showcase your achievements, benchmark your business against the industry, and be in the running to win an exclusive awards experience. 

Like last year, we have 13 major categories. These are designed to recognise the diversity (and talent) of our business community. So whether you’re a sole trader, emerging entrepreneur, app partner or advisor, there’s an award for everyone. 

If you haven’t submitted your nomination yet, don’t worry – there’s still time. To help you get inspired, we asked three winners (one of whom is also on this year’s judging panel) what makes a winning entry. Read on for their top tips. 

1. Be clear and concise 

As you progress through your nomination, you’ll notice word limits attached to each question. Although it can be challenging to keep your entry concise, it helps ensure that only the most important information is included. Richard Jeffares of Two Bays Brewing – who took out the Small Business of the Year Award in 2021 – says, “It stops you from waffling. So my advice is to focus on the question and answer it as succinctly as possible.” 

What’s the best way to trim down the details? By taking a situation, action and result approach. Michael O’Neill of ServiceM8 – last year’s winning app partner – says, “When the questions ask you to demonstrate something, you really have to do the legwork. Use examples and always come back to your value proposition.” Ultimately, you want to make it as easy as possible for the judges to do their job.

2. Remember your customers (and show, don’t tell) 

When we asked previous winners what they were most proud of in their nominations, the resounding answer was how they demonstrated customer success. As an FY23 judge, Jason Robinson of Future Advisory – a firm that also took out last year’s Accounting Partner of the Year Award – says the key is to highlight how your business is making a difference in people’s lives. He explains, “Show the judging panel that you really care. We want to see how you create five-star experiences for your clients.” 

How best to do this? “Demonstrate customer success both independently and through your joint value proposition with Xero. Where you can, leverage your customers to show (not tell) what impact this has had. And be sure to use concrete examples – like events, initiatives, projects or testimonials – to back yourself up,” says Michael. Remember, evidence equals credibility.

3. Stand out from the crowd 

When it comes to judging, your award entry will be reviewed alongside thousands of others. So consider what sets you apart from the rest and amplify this in your nomination. For example, Jason made a conscious effort to showcase his practice’s brand voice, explaining, “If you look and sound like everyone else, chances are, you’ll get lost in the crowd. So it was really important for us to show our personality to the judges.” Do the same, and you’ll be in with a winning chance! 

4. Take a big picture approach

Of course, the Xero Awards are a fantastic opportunity to showcase and celebrate your achievements. However, it’s also a chance to reflect on everything that contributes to your success. Jason says, “We thought hard about why we existed. This meant looking at our mission, vision and values, as well as our goals, financial targets, and how we work with our clients – we realised how far we’d come in the end.” 

For Richard, his big picture approach was more personal. He says, “Two Bays Brewing is a gluten-free brewery, and as a person with Coeliac disease, this allows me and the team to focus on what our customers want. Every choice we make is with this in mind, and it resonates in-market (and must’ve done so with the judges too).” Be sure to tell your story because, after all, it’s what makes your business what it is today. 

With less than a week to go before the FY23 Xero Award nominations close, what are you waiting for? Head here for more information and submit your nomination before 11:59pm AEST on Monday 15 August to be in the running. Good luck!

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