Why Enter Awards?
For a long time, business awards were the preservation of well-known brands. While of course those brands recognise the value of winning a big award SMEs and sole traders do not need a corporate-sized budget to have their achievements recognised on a local, national and regional level.
We know from the SME Business Awards we manage and deliver across the UK that award winners and those who are shortlisted win an enormous amount of trust and kudos through being independently assessed. This is not only impressive for potential customers but for existing customers as there is no doubt all customers feel good about buying from a ‘winner.’
The actual entering of awards has all become a lot, lot easier than in the past. A simple online entry form might typically be three or four questions about your business with some general information. You will find in many cases that the information you’ve typed in can be saved and finished off at a later date.
Entering has been made even easier as there are now many varieties of award, starting off at local town, borough or city through to counties, regions, national and even international. Some would have a business focus, others a community focus with specific sectors have their own awards too.
One of the biggest challenges for those businesses big and small when it comes to entering is the ‘imposter’ syndrome of ‘are we innovative enough to enter awards?’
The great news is that the innovation award could be for you. Businesses innovate all the time but they don’t necessarily recognise it as such.
Maybe one of your employees has introduced a new procedure that has benefited the bottom line. It could be as simple as finding savings on postage or stationery or using a new piece of software. In other words innovation doesn’t mean inventing a new widget – just ask the winners of our SME National Business Awards we host annually at Wembley Stadium.
Therefore the message is don’t do yourself or your business down.
Try looking for categories like ‘Innovation’, ‘Employee of the Year’ or ‘Apprentice of the Year’. The employment categories can be a great way of engaging some of the most important people in your business and for instance our ‘Business Woman of the Year’ across our awards is a category that gains more popularity every year.
We do know that the inclusion of testimonials from your suppliers always make a difference. These will endorse your business as will a simple overviews from them which go a long way to help judges get a picture of your success as will showing any evidence you may have of being in the local press or business press.
Business Awards are a fantastic method of increasing your exposure, honouring your efforts and gaining a credible endorsement of your business excellence. The marketing and PR opportunities for finalists, runners-up and of course the winners are plentiful and we are here to help you every step of the way.
By entering awards, entries are automatically put in front of the judges and organisers. There have been many instances of the Judges for our awards, all of who are fully independent, commenting that they would like to work with certain companies, just on the basis of their entry forms. An awards entry form is another opportunity to market a business and should be treated as such.
There is no reason why people shouldn’t use entering an award as a public relations opportunity to sell a good news message.
Some entrants might be put off in case they fail to make it through to the final but others actually leave entering until the last minute and don’t think about the possible PR. A bit of forward planning and integrating a marketing and PR plan may work wonders.
As well as being great for external public relations, awards can be used to boost team morale and give a pat on the back to everyone for their hard work. We know from our National Building and Construction Awards that jus entering awards gives a huge buzz to employees, a feeling that is multiplied when they are named on the shortlist!
Awards Night’s gives you the wonderful opportunity to let your hair down, without having to organise your own party! It is genuinely a great night out.
Businesses can shout as much as they like about how great they are but gaining the trust of potential customers is more about recommendations and endorsements.
Most awards are judged by a panel of independent business people so if you make the shortlist, are named a runner-up or a winner, you will have been endorsed by a third party.
That is incredibly useful to any business.