Meet one of our Queen’s Awards winners…

Meet one of our Queen’s Awards winners…

Donna O'Toole, Queen's Awards for Enterprise winner SwimTrek

Meet one of our Queen’s Awards winners…

Business Awards

By Donna O’Toole

SwimTrek – The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise winners swimming their way to success!

Back in 2000, Simon Murie (pictured above) had a dream; to recreate Lord Byron’s infamous swim across the Hellespont – a stretch of open water dividing Europe and Asia which was made famous in Greek Mythology by Leander’s nightly swims to see his lover Hero.

So off he went to Turkey to attempt the swim himself, unaware of all the complications and permissions that would be required to undertake such a swim. After spending a week organising the event between the coastguard, the army, the council, and a local pilot who would take him across the water, he completed the swim in just under an hour!

Simon quickly saw the gap in the market to help swimmers to realise their dreams, without having to worry about all the hard work behind organising the event. And so SwimTrek was born. A business that has since helped thousands of people to achieve their open-water swimming dreams, safely and securely in over 40 magical locations worldwide.

Little did Simon know that 17 Years later, his childhood dream would see his business becoming the proud recipient of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category.

So how did he do it and how can you turn your dream into recognition from Her Majesty The Queen in the most prestigious awards competition in the world?

Simon and I met by chance at Acumen business conference in 2016. At that time SwimTrek had been growing rapidly, and like many business owners, Simon had put all his focus into his customers and his team, and not had the time to consider whether they could be ready to win some awards.

We discussed SwimTrek’s growth, what they did, and how they did it, and all the benefits this brought to their customers, teams, and locals worldwide. I identified their potential ‘win theme’ and suggested to Simon that actually now was the time for him to get some well-deserved recognition for the business and take a plunge into some new unknown waters – business awards. But not just any old business awards, I recommended that SwimTrek entered the most prestigious awards programme in the world – The Queen’s Awards!

With a busy summer ahead for SwimTrek, and trips planned all over the world, Simon and his team were happy to put the process into our hands and keep their minds on their customers and their business – exactly where they should be.

So with our guidance and support, the right evidence was gathered, the commercial progress was analysed, the benefits to employees, customers, partners, and the environment was assessed, and all the rigorous and comprehensive criteria was met.

Step by step, every box was ticked and every word mattered – and the outstanding work SwimTrek is doing in the adventure holidays industry shone like a beacon from the (many) award entry pages.

When Simon found out they had won, his words said it all: “Winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation means so much to me, and to the whole team at SwimTrek. It is recognition of the ongoing effort we have made to ensure we operate at the highest possible standards, and it gives us great pride to represent the UK Tourism Industry as a unique, innovative and exceptional provider of adventure swimming holidays. We can’t wait to share the news with our customers and partners across the world, and to use this as a platform to deliver even more exciting swimming adventures in the future.”  

SwimTrek Queen's awards for Enterprise, Donna O'Toole, August Recognition

And of our help and support in putting the entry together, Simon has kindly put it in his own words: “Donna helped us to understand all the different elements of the Queen’s Award application process, including what the judges were looking for and how we could line up our business processes with the criteria. The application itself looked hugely complex and time-consuming, which is an added stress when you are busy running a business. Donna took that stress away and helped us to see how what we considered business as usual was in fact incredibly important to our application.”

Could you be a future Queen’s Award winner?

Queen's Awards for Enterprise Donna O'Toole

Your company can be from as small as just two people right up to a global brand. This year there are 176 awards: 102 for international trade, 57 for innovation, 11 for sustainable development and six for promoting opportunity through social mobility.

The competition is now open and is as exciting and rigorous as ever. Winners will attend a celebration at Buckingham Palace and will be visited by the Lord Lieutenant of the county to present their award. Winners can also use the Queen’s Award emblem on all marketing materials for 5 years – priceless PR that has been proven to grow business results.

Contact me for a totally free and honest assessment of your chances of winning or sign up for my exclusive How to Win Business Awards masterclass at The Shard on 22nd June where I will be giving unique insights into the Queen’s Awards process and helping you to win valuable industry awards.

And if you fancy a unique adventure holiday like no other – you really can’t beat SwimTrek.

 

 

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The Queen’s Awards For Sustainable Development

The Queen’s Awards For Sustainable Development

The Queen’s Awards For Sustainable Development

The Queen’s Award For Enterprise

By Donna O’Toole

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are one of the most prestigious awards in the world a UK business can win. Find out if you are ready to enter and how likely you are to succeed in the Sustainable Development category in 2 simple steps:

  1. Check your eligibility to enter by using the infographic below
  2. Arrange your FREE  consultation

queens-awards-sustainable-development-eligibility-test
Donna O’Toole is an experienced awards adviser and writer with 100% success rate for her entries in The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise competition. Contact Donna  for a FREE consultation  to find out if you are ready to  win.

 

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The Queen’s Awards For International Trade

The Queen’s Awards For International Trade

The Queen’s Awards For International Trade

The Queen’s Award For Enterprise

By Donna O’Toole

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are one of the most prestigious awards in the world a business can win. Find out if you are ready to enter and how likely you are to succeed in the International Trade (Export) category in 2 simple steps:

  1. Check your eligibility to enter by using the infographic below.
  2. Arrange your FREE  consultation

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Donna O’Toole is an experienced awards adviser and writer with 100% success rate for her entries in The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise competition. Contact Donna  for a FREE awards-profile analysis  to find out if you are ready to  win.

 

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The Queen’s Awards For Innovation

The Queen’s Awards For Innovation

The Queen’s Awards For Innovation

The Queen’s Award For Enterprise

By Donna O’Toole

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are one of the most prestigious awards in the world a business can win. Find out if you are ready to enter and how likely you are to succeed in the Innovation category in 2 simple steps:

  1. Check your eligibility to enter by using the infographic below
  2. Arrange your FREE  consultation

queens-awards-innovation-eligibility-test

Read on to find out more on  how to win a Queen’s Award for  Innovation from an expert. with a track record of  100% success.
Donna O’Toole is an experienced awards adviser and writer with 100% success rate for her entries in The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise competition. Contact Donna for a FREE awards evaluation to find out if you are ready to win.

 

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How To Win A Queen’s Award For Innovation

How To Win A Queen’s Award For Innovation

How To Win A Queen’s Award For Innovation

The Queen’s Award For Enterprise

By Donna O’Toole

I really enjoy supporting businesses to win the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise competition. It’s a true game-changer for winners, brings them so much great PR, opens doors to all sorts of global opportunities, and even gets them to a reception at Buckingham Palace.

But there’s one little word that comes up for discussion time and time again when  deciding which category to enter. It’s a word that has really hit its stride in the awards industry over the last few years and judges quite rightly want to get to the bottom of what it means to you, your customers, your industry, and your future.

What is it?

Innovation

This seemingly innocent word in the awards lexicon is infamous for throwing organisations into a spin  when it comes to winning  a Queen’s Award.

Why?

Because unlike many prestigious awards programmes with  lots of categories on offer, The Queen’s Awards stay focused on only 3 categories organisations  can enter, these are:

  • Innovation
  • International Trade
  • Sustainable Development.

So if you are not exporting, and not doing something particularly sustainable, you only have one choice left — and this can create what I have fondly coined the ‘square-peg-round-hole’ effect.

To win a Queen’s Award for Innovation you must first be able to show how you are innovative, and next be able to prove that your commercial success (your growing turnover and profit) is down to the innovation you have made — be that a product, a method, a service, or your whole business model.

Top Tip: If you are not sure whether to enter the Innovation category, or what the Queen’s Awards consider truly ‘innovative’ try substituting the word ‘innovation’ for the words ‘new and unique’. Ie. Is your business, product, method or service ‘new and unique’ or has it been done before? If it has, how can you demonstrate you are different?

Once you know you have an legitimate innovation to enter, all you need to do next is establish which of the two sub-categories ‘Outstanding Achievement’ or ‘Continuous Achievement’ will show your results and your business story in the best light. And only once that’s decided will you be ready to gather the most relevant and compelling information for your entry.

If you want to make sure you are not a ‘square-peg in a round-hole’ when you enter the Queen’s Awards give me a call and in a FREE consultation I will help you identify your innovation, determine your likelihood of success and choose which subcategory to enter. And if you would like me to I will advise you on how I can help maximise your achievements in an outstanding written report that gives you a real chance of becoming a Queen’s Award winner.

The competition opens for entry on the 21st April with approximately 150 awards up for grabs. Watch this space for more top tips on what to include in your entry, insights into the individual categories, and pointers on how to approach writing your entry from someone who knows all the ingredients needed to become a Queen’s Awards winner.

 

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Which Queen’s Award could you win?

Which Queen’s Award could you win?

Which Queen’s Award could you win?

The Queen’s Award For Enterprise

By Donna O’Toole

queens-awards-for-enterprise-all-categories-infographic

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is  a leading UK business award  that you might  have heard about, but don’t know where to start in knowing if you  truly stand a chance of becoming a winner.

Well, I’ll let you into a secret;  the awards are rigorous, but certainly not impossible to win — so long as you fit the criteria for the chosen category and sub-category, have a compelling narrative, and can tie up your strategy, your story, and your results in a way that  shows you are outstanding.

These are one of my favourite awards to advise on and write, I  love the challenge of making the complex  simple, it’s the linguist in me, but I also love to see good businesses  become great,  and winning a Queen’s Award will certainly do that!

To help you take the first step in deciding which category you could be ready to enter I’ve put together  three  simple Queen’s Awards eligibility infographics — just click on the links to check your eligibility for  each category.

Queen’s Award for Innovation Infographic

Queen’s Award for International Trade Infographic

Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development Infographic

If you’re lucky the right category for you is straightforward, but what if  your  company has innovated a new product, is successfully exporting it overseas, and focuses onsustainable business practices — should you enter all three categories? Or just two? Or focus on one? And how will you position your story and your financial results  to give you the strongest chance of winning?

There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ award winner. Winners come in all shapes and sizes  ranging from small businesses of just two people with an exciting new product that’s flying off the shelves, to businesses focused on making society better, right through to a huge global business exporting around the world and turning over millions. Just take a look at some  previous winners to get an idea of the scope of businesses winning Queen’s Awards last year.

The Queen’s Awards are open from May to September, but now is a great time to start preparing. Start by looking at your end of year results and thinking about whether you have enough evidence of success. Will you need to gather customer testimonials or work on your CSR initiatives  for instance? A  winning entry can take a long time to compile, so don’t delay your chances of an award that could really put your business on the global map.
Donna O’Toole is an experienced awards adviser and writer with 100% success in The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise competition. Contact Donna  for a FREE consultation  to find out if you are ready to  win.

 

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