"How to win an award" - by someone who ALMOST won an award

Let's start (self-indulgently) with a paragraph about me.

In June 2015 I left the comfort of employment to do some freelance subcontracting work whilst l researched the cloud accounting software that was changing the face of accountancy. In Oct 2015 I decided to set up a bookkeeping practice which focused on this "new" technology. In July 2016, with the help of some glowing testimonials from my clients, I was shortlisted for the technology champion at the AccountingWeb Practice Excellence awards and on Thursday I found myself in Mayfair, wearing a dress, waiting to see if my name would be called out.

My name wasn't called out.

Had I won, I would have happily drove the trophy to your house to show it off. I would have bragged about how a Mum to a toddler, who works part time in Cardiff, could win a national accountancy award within a year of trading. I would be writing my press release. I would be ecstatic.

But I didn't win. Unfortunately this wasn't going to be my David and Goliath moment.

However, if you have your heart set on an award, be it a local or an industry focused one, here are my three tips on how to achieve this:

    Do something that you love
    There needs to be a degree of obsession about your business. A real joy and passion for what you do. I live and breathe accountancy; from the basics, through to marketing and industry trends. It's courses, books, webinars, blogs; one after another. Continually asking questions and forever trying to find answers. My business is both my job and my hobby.

    Stay focused on what you're trying to achieve
    I wanted to create a technology focused Practice. My goal is to automate bookkeeping and create valuable management reports (KPIs, cash flows, budgets etc). So that is what I focus on doing. It's very easy to get distracted and wander off to do different things that seem exciting, fun and sometimes more profitable, but being average a lots of things doesn't win awards. Be brave and go a little niche every now and again.

    Allow yourself to be inspired
    Look at what other people are doing. They don't have to be in your industry. Quite often, other people do amazing things! Amazing marketing, customer service, innovation etc. Absorb it all. Break what they do down and see what you can apply to your own business. Give it a go. Make mistakes. Leave your comfort zone.

      I appreciate that not everyone sets up a business for trophies. I also realise that when you go for industry focused awards like me, pretty much no one outside of your industry would have heard of them so they have limited marketability.

      That said, it's a great motivator. A great ego boast. A great validator. And a great experience. I might not be the accountant who won a national award within a year, but I was shortlisted and I'm determined to get better. To keep looking at ways of automating bookkeeping. To keep giving my clients better information and at quicker speeds to base their business decisions on. To keep on improving. And you never know, maybe next year I'll get the chance to refer to Loud and Clear as an award winning bookkeeping practice.


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