Awards season is upon us for the business world. Sure you have been keeping up to date about who’s entered, and discussed with your peers about the pros and cons of each business you’ve read about, but have you ever thought of entering for a business award yourself?
For a small business, award contests can not only be a great source of credibility to partners, clients and investors they can also be a big motivator internally, making staff proud to go be part of the business. And for many businesses that motivation can be worth more than any cash reward.
Creating your awards application can often seem like a daunting process, especially when as a small business owner you have a million of other tasks to do. But in reality the time spent entering an awards contest can be more than an investment than a cost. Even if you don’t take home the first prize, being part of the whole experience can be incredibly rewarding.
Promoting Your Achievements
Completing an application for an award forces you to take the time to look at what you have achieved, and where you want to take the business in the future. This can not only be satisfying to take a step back and see how much you have accomplished but will also motivate your team to carry on building towards that future.
PR and Marketing Opportunities
You can gain access to media which you might not have been able to before. Even as a nominee of a contest your business could potentially receive a mention in the media. Award organizers often list nominees on their website, in their social media and in their press releases which get picked up by the media.
If you are lucky enough to become a finalist or a winner of an award, the PR opportunities within industry publications and local press could be endless. In fact the winners and finalists of the 2010/11 Successful You Awards received over $200,000 worth of press coverage. Your business can capitalize on these media mentions by promoting them through your own social media circles and on your company website.
With many industries and markets becoming increasingly crowded, everyone is looking for that edge on their competitors which will make them stand out from a crowd. Being named a finalist or winner of a business award, when your competitor is not, could become the thing which makes someone choose you over your competitor.
Not only that but the promotion around the wards will help raise awareness of your business in the marketplace and may present you with opportunities to network with complimentary industries or potential clients.
It’s been a tough few years, which has meant that morale in some businesses has dipped. But you should not underestimate the impact of winning an award on your staff. Winning awards after all is a team effort, and for your staff to be part of that award winning team will make them proud to be part of your business. And displaying that trophy or award proudly in your business will not only show your customers what you have achieved but will remind staff why they are there and what they are trying to achieve.
The Awards Ceremony
With the majority of awards being presented at ceremonies and dinners, these events create a perfect outlet for your business to celebrate a job well done. Whether you bring your staff to help celebrate a group achievement, your clients to show-off your successes or your investors to reinforce your venture, they are the ideal time for you to reinvigorate your business.
Awards are often built upon best practice and industry standards. By measuring your business against the awards criteria and comparing your business to other nominees in your category you will be able to better assess who your competition is and if you need to reposition yourself.
Remember it’s not all about the Winning
Even if you do not win, applying for an award can help you better identify your opportunities for improvement and help motivate staff to achieve these so you can win the award next year. Many awards will provide nominees feedback on why they were or were not successful and receiving that feedback can be invaluable; especially if the awards have been judged by a panel of your peers. Think of it as a free consultation from a leading industry expert who can help develop your business.
Don’t Just Assume Awards are for the Big Boys
And finally. Don’t assume it will be only the big companies who win the awards. Most awards are won by businesses who have a truly original concept or have been genuinely innovative – for their size, circumstances or sector. As long as you are able to quantify what you have done for your business, how you have done it and how many people you have reached any award can be appropriate.
The Small Business BC Successful You Award nominations are now open until November 30, 2011. Nominate your small business in one of the six award categories and get as many votes as you can using social media, e-mail, word of mouth or any other way you can think of.
Visit the Successful You Awards website for more information on the awards and view the awards criteria.