Without a doubt, the number one benefit of entering business awards is that 90% of the gains come from simply making the list of finalists. No winner’s podium needed. Just you and a shortlist.
Does that mean you shouldn't try to win? Of course not. You should always be in it to win it.
But writing and compiling entries takes a lot of time and effort. So just in case that entry was feeling a bit too much to put together, here's what’s up for grabs…
1. Street Cred
Awards are like an independent review of what you’ve been up to and a gold-sealed stamp of approval. They demonstrate industry expertise. Otherwise known as ‘knowing your sh*t’.
Clients know this. As a result, award winners are seen as more reputable and more honest. And more trust equals more sales.
2. Marketer’s Dream
Getting nominated is enough to fill your marketing schedule for months.
You’ll get a nice logo to share so make sure it’s prominent on your website. Write a blog (or two). Throw it all across social media. Lots. Add it to your email signature.
And don’t forget the free marketing done by the awards organisers themselves. They will want to sell seats for the final ceremony. Which means selling YOU.
3. You’re Everywhere
And more will see you as a result. More potential customers. More potential collaborators. More investors. Plus, the judges themselves.
Household name? I can’t promise. More sales? Combined with an increased reputation for awesome work: I’d bet my last Rolo on it.
4. Opportunities Galore
An opportunity to wear that party frock that hasn’t seen disco light since NYE 2019? While I’m actually not referring to the allure of the final ceremony, at the same time, let’s not underestimate the power of a party.
But long after the hangover is gone, the opportunities you'll be left with are new business connections and new business ventures. An award nomination will attract customers. It’ll attract investment. And it’ll get all those people who previously shunned you, lining up for coffee and cake at your convenience.
Business awards are a sure-fire door opener. After all, you’re now the expert.
5. Talented folk
You’re now one of them. Yes, you. And you’re officially invited in. No more watching from the side lines. No more wondering why you didn’t get that big contract.
Awards have tight-knit communities around them. Tight-knit communities of talented business folk. Communities you’re now invited into with wide open arms.
6. Business MOT
It’s an opportunity to reflect. As a small business owner, you're so often frantically keeping the hamster wheel turning, that when forced to pause, you may well find you’ve more to celebrate than you give yourself credit for.
And while it’s a great time to reflect on what’s working, it’s also an opportunity to figure out what could be better. Client feedback still on your to-do list? Do some surveys! Haven’t done much in your local community of late? Figure out what you could be doing and start reaching out.
7. Kudos and confidence
We may not like to admit it. After all, it’s not the reason we do what we do. But who doesn’t like a bit of old-fashioned praise?
As a self-employed business owner, you don’t get the annual appraisal, pat on the back from the boss and well-deserved bonus. Who tells you what an awesome job you’re doing? Other than your mum? Really? But we do have business awards. So get your fix of affirmation. You’ve earned it. You deserve it. And quite frankly, you bloody need it to keep doing what you’re doing.
Being an entrepreneur is hard work. And we all want to keep giving our very best for our clients. Clients who love confidence. So hold your head a little higher. Shake hands a little firmer. Own your worth.
You’ve got this.
8. Staff Morale and Retention
Being nominated for an award is a boost for the entire team. It brings pride in the company, pride in individual contributions, and bonds everyone in a shared achievement with something awesome to look forward to. This produces better work and better customer service.
And why, oh why, would they ever consider working for someone else?
9. Edge Over Competition
You wanted that something to differentiate yourself from the competition?
Are awards a vanity project? For some businesses, maybe. And for some shady award organisers, most definitely! So, it's important to do your research and know what red flags to look out for (stay tuned for another blog on that).
In conclusion: small business awards come in all shapes and sizes and measure organisational success in a variety of different ways: best employer; best growth; best contribution to the community…
Work out what you want your business to be known for, go after an award that demonstrates exactly that, and reap the benefits.
But remember the best part: you don’t even have to win.