The clock is ticking on the 2009 Baking Industry Awards and the search is on again to find the baking industry’s high fliers and success stories. The awards, now in their 22nd year, recognise the hard work and passion of the people and companies that make the British baking industry one of the most exciting and innovative in the world.Businesses of all sizes – from the one-shop retailers to the largest suppliers – are encouraged to enter and there should be a category to suit everybody. But how do you go about putting together a winning entry?The starting point should be thinking what are you most proud of? For example, how are you tackling issues that affect your business? Do you have a brilliant business plan? Have you done any valuable market research? Do you have a unique process of evaluating new products and arriving at your range? Are you able to convey a sense of your whole business working as a team?Each award will be judged according to the requirements of that category. Some will see shortlisted candidates visited by the judges. Others will call upon finalists to give a presentation on why they believe they deserve the award. Each panel contains representatives from the sponsoring company, plus an independent expert judge, selected in agreement with British Baker. A British Baker staff member then joins each of the final judging panels to help decide the finalists, who will take the trip to the Awards ceremony in London, as well as the overall category winner. l Just attaching corporate brochures to the application is a sure-fire way of boring the judges, who are more likely to be impressed by a personalised application l If relevant to your category, highlight any training and staff development that has taken place and its results —-=== confirmed categories ===The Customer Focus Awardsponsored by BakeMark —-=== Top 10 do’s: for a winning entry ===l Don’t think your business is too small – or at too early a stage – for you to enter. These Awards are open to all bakers. You’ve got to be in it to win it, so call today for an entry form! l You do not have to list every business achievement. Selectively compiled press clippings or mentions of other awards won is more likely to impress than listing your HACCP or BRC accreditations, for example Baker of the Yearsponsored by Vandemoortele l Others, who are customers of the sponsor, will load their application with information about what they have done for the sponsoring company in the past year, which will in no way advance your cause l Not tailoring the information in the entry form to the category you’re entering is a frequent mistake l Don’t be afraid to shout about your success – be proud of what you have achieved l Where relevant, include good quality photographs of your products in your entry pack. These will usually catch the judges’ eye. Remember, a good picture can speak a thousand words The Innovation Awardsponsored by ASDA l Make sure the entry form is completed clearly and legibly and that you answer all the questions fully l If you are selected for a judging visit, gather together any training material or any other information. This is a great way to showcase your success Deadline for entries is Friday 1st May, so don’t delay! l Paint a clear picture of your business, tell us how you adapt to changes, and make sure you highlight your unique selling points l Get members of staff involved in entering – don’t do it all yourself. That way it’s a team effort and employees will learn a good deal more about your business during the entry process Bakery Food Manufacturerof the Yearsponsored byADM Milling l If you don’t succeed, don’t be disheartened. Look at the process as a positive way of evaluating yourself or the business. And don’t forget, try again! The Achievementin Bakery Training Awardsponsored by Rich Products l Describe plans and objectives you have for the future. Judges want to see that you are forward-thinking l Do not over-pad the entry form. Remember, the judges will be sifting through stacks of entries, so something succinct and memorable will stand you in good stead l The best candidates will be able to show tangible business benefits – whether it’s an increase in sales or an industry first Trainee Bakerof the Yearsponsored jointly by Improve and the National SkillsAcademy Celebration Cake Maker of the Yearsponsored by renshawnapier l It’s easy to overlook the obvious things, such as sending good quality images of your products to give the judges an instant visual impression of what you’re about Bakery Supplier of the Yearsponsored by Sainsbury’s The Craft Business Awardsponsored byRank Hovis l The flipside of that is not enough detail. Do not assume the judges know about your business or your achievements Rules of the gameA company may enter more than one category, BUT different company represen- tatives must enter each of the chosen categories. No one person can enter more than one category. The winner of each of the categories will receive a trophy, while finalists receive a certificate.Remember your business’ reputation alone will not be enough to get you shortlisted. Past Baking Industry Awards have seen major industry figures and out- standing businesses and products failing to make the cut, based on their submitted applications. So it is crucial not to overlook the importance of this first step to being recognised as the best business in your chosen category.If you need advice on how to put together a winning entry, why not speak to other entrants or past winners? First and foremost, putting together an application should be a fun and valuable process in finding out what exactly it is about your business that makes it special. We wish you the best of luck!—-=== Top 10 don’ts: most common mistakes ===l Entrants sometimes think that they have to be a customer of the category sponsor to enter, which is not true l Simply being great at what you do is not always enough to stand out from the crowd. Can you pinpoint anything you’ve done in the past year that warrants industry recognition?