There are literally hundreds and hundreds of awards programmes and events aimed at UK businesses, large and small, local and national/international, but happily many are geared towards the small business sector which is the bedrock of our economy. That said it is worth remembering that it is a significant business in its own right. It’s nice to be recognised and awarded, as these happy people above will no doubt testify, but this is a money-making industry too. Organisers generally do it to make their own business successful first, then yours.
But let’s not get too cynical. We are absolutely delighted to have been short-listed in two categories at this year’s SME Northamptonshire Business Awards in our first year operating the 3 new websites focused on living, visiting and doing business in Brackley and beyond. It’s a real accolade for us.
In fact there are lots and lots of reasons why entering an awards programme could be beneficial to your company regardless of whether you eventually win. Whether your business is just starting out or firmly established, you can benefit from entering the right business award.
Awareness for your company/brand
Of course an award win or even making an awards shortlist means your business will be in the spotlight for all the right reasons and is an invaluable PR platform. Reputable business awards can generate significant direct publicity across local and specialist press and social media, and with the award process often running across several months, you can work the publicity to deliver a constant source of new traffic to your website and social pages. Add the award logo to your website and other marketing materials and keep things fresh with update features on your website and in your newsletters. Taking advantage of the exposure on your social media pages will help promote your business to new customers, as well as increasing respect from your existing client base.
Winning a business award can open doors to getting new contracts, finding new suppliers and breaking into new markets. Comments from the judges about why you won can be used as quotes in all your marketing activity for some time. So the PR opportunity can range across a significant time frame.
A business award win, short-listing or nomination acts as a third party endorsement for a business, significantly increasing credibility and positioning your company as a leader within your industry. To win a business award can help differentiates you from your competitors, and can provide a real competitive advantage when seeking or retaining customers
Self-pride, staff morale and an attraction for new talent
As a business owner and short-listed award candidate, we know the sense of pride that a nomination can deliver. For a larger business than ours it can be a fantastic morale-booster and motivational spur to have the hard work and achievements of your employees recognised as it acknowledges their contribution to your business success. Business awards could also help attract and retain new recruits, after all, who wouldn’t want to be associated with an award-winning company?
A point of differentiation
Inevitably award entries force you to benchmark yourself against your competitors. The awards application process can make you look at your business from a different perspective. To gain maximum benefit, it is essential to choose an award that is most closely aligned with your business and its core values. By carefully selecting the category you can create a niche to make you stand out from your competitors, whether it’s your green credentials, your contribution to the community, diversity, training excellence, super customer service or great innovation.
Business awards are often judged by a clutch of successful business owners and being shortlisted can give you the opportunity to discuss your business with leaders in the industry. Additionally, awards attract similar businesses and are an excellent opportunity to network and forge new relationships either to help new client sales or to improve your supply arrangements.
There’s no question that a short-listing or an Award wins adds value to the work being done in your business and it’s a great indication your business is moving in the right direction. But not getting nominated nor winning can also be illuminating. It suggests that your business is not currently optimising its activities currently. The best advice we can give is not to get too down-hearted and put off by the experience. Always use it to consider what you and the business could be doing better and identify how to do this. This could be more valuable than winning the award itself, and you can always try again next time!
Some tips on how to enter to follow.