We spoke to experienced industry judges to find out ten of the most important things to include in your British Hairdressing Business Awards entry - and one thing not to.
- Your entry form The judges say: "You'd be surprised at how many people forget this vital part! When you spend a huge amount of time and effort working on your entry, it's easy to see how this can be a bit of an afterthought - but make sure you do include it."
- Photographic evidence The judges say: "You're a happy smiley team? We don't want to read it, we want to see it. You do lots of team building activities? Show us the photos to prove it - even if they are just informal snaps!"
- Proof The judges say: "Don't just tell us what your retention rates are; have the documentation to show it."
- Highlights The judges say: "No, not those kind of highlights. Yes, judges want supporting evidence, but a little signposting to the relevant bits will be a very popular move. Use a different font, pull-out boxes or graphics to really draw attention to those numbers."
- Labels The judges say: "Submitting lots of different photographs or pages for your entry? Make sure your name is clearly visible on all of them. When there are so many entries to look at on judging day, it's good to be able to see at a glance whose entry it is."
- Answers The judges say: "Don't forget to answer the criteria for your entry! Different categories ask for differnet things, so read carefully and, if they've asked you to supply specific evidence of something, make sure you do!"
- Personality The judges say: "I love seeing a bit of personality in an entry. Yes, it's a business awards, but this is a creative industry and I'd much rather read an entry written from the heart that really tells me about your business, your team and why you do what you do."
- Your Twitter name The judges say: "The entry form specifically asks for your Twitter handles so that the HJ team can shout about the finalists and give you plenty of promo in the run up to the event, and on the night. Make sure you include it so you can be part of the #BHA2015 buzz."
- An envelope If you want your entry back after judging, make sure you include an enevelope with your address on it.
- A big dollop of enthusiasm The judges say: "I want to read an entry that makes me excited about the future of the British hairdressing industry; something that makes me proud to be a part of it and which tells a real success story. You don't have to be making millions, you don't have to employ an army of staff; you can be a tiny salon in the middle of nowhere - if you have a good story, a good business and happy clients, you're exactly what we want to read about."
And please don't include... An entry fee! Unlike other industry awards, HJ's British Hairdressing Business Awards are completely free to enter!