This research was carried out among the winners of the Slovenian business excellence prize (PRSPO), finalists and those who received special diplomas as a recognition level reached by applicants in implementing the business excellence model. Based on the findings of the research, we defined eight steps that organizations can consider as a guide on the path towards excellence. The purpose of the study was to examine how the previous winners of the PRSPO began their journey towards excellence, which were the key factors, what problems they encountered and how they managed to win the diploma or award. The analysis of the survey showed that the ISO 9001 standard is considered a first step towards the Slovenian business excellence award - in fact, it is a prerequisite for further improvements in the organization. The second step involves top management commitment and support for the introduction of excellence into business processes. The top management, in cooperation with all the employees, defines the areas for improvement and also confirms the method of implementation, both conceptually and financially. It is also necessary to take environmental aspects into consideration, which is provided by a third step along with the introduction of the ISO 14001. Once an organization defines the processes, it begins to introduce the business excellence model in the fourth step and carries out the self-assessment process. The key opportunities for improvement identified by the self-assessment process are further introduced in the business. In doing so, the organization can use various quality management approaches (the fifth step) and the first application for the PRSPO. In the sixth step, the organization encourages its employees to follow continuous education and innovation and, in the seventh step, participates again in the competition for the Slovenian business excellence award. As the required business excellence level is achieved, the organization receives the award for business excellence (PRSPO).