With an ever growing number of Awards each year and the time constraints we face juggling a busy workload, can we really justify the time and effort required to submit an entry?
To answer this question, it’s worth looking at what rewards or benefits come from being shortlisted as a finalist or being selected as a winner. Are the Awards in question recognised across your industry sector?; are they valued by your peers and more importantly by your customers? Winning an Award or even being shortlisted as a finalist can equate to a ringing endorsement for your company, positioning your business as a leader or innovator in your field and increasing your credibility. This can help you to stand out amongst your competitors, win new customers and retain current clients You can add it to your list of credentials when putting together bids to win work or investment.
Many Business Awards have a range of categories and no limits to how many you can enter. By all means enter every category you are eligible for, but if you are up against time constraints choose the category which most closely aligns with your business and what it stands for. What do your customers value most? Are they sensitive to environmental impact for example? Show them that you share their values, enter an award that demonstrates your commitment to the environment. Although you may have puts lots of measures in place to reduce your carbon footprint, are your customers aware of this? This is your chance to tell them and to gain the recognition that you deserve.
Do you struggle to attract the top talent within your industry? Winning as Award such as ‘Best Employer’ or ‘Best Contribution to staff training and development’ will make you stand out amongst your competitors and will make you a more attractive employer in the eyes of the talent you are aiming to attract.
Before spending time on your entry have a think about what you want to gain from being shortlisted or winning and put a plan in place for maximum gains. Are you new to the market? Do you want to establish yourself as a leading player? Are you keen to reach new audiences and raise your profile? Reputable business awards can generate significant publicity for your business. Managed correctly this exposure can last for weeks or even months but to take full advantage it’s best to have a plan in place from the outset. Is there someone in place to manage your social channels? Do the Awards have a hasttag that you can use on your posts? How will you link your social posts back to your website, and is your website up to scratch? This could be an opportunity to attract increased traffic to your website – the last thing you want to do is to disappoint potential customers once they arrive there. Find out if there’s a finalist or winner’s logo which you can use in your marketing. Comments from the judges about why you were nominated or why you won can be used as quotes in press releases, however check if you need permission.
Does your business have great customer service? Have you created an outstanding innovation? Or perhaps you are a fantastic employer. Whatever your strengths, you need to shout about them to make sure potential customers choose you over your competitors. That’s where business awards come in.
Awards provide a valuable opportunity to interact and forge new business partnerships or relationships with other business leaders within your sector. They can often put you in front of influential contacts whose attention you might otherwise struggle to attract.
Winning awards also boosts staff morale. If your staff are at the centre of your business success make sure you involve them and give them ownership of the Award. Recognising that your employees hard work and achievements are part of the winning formula is something that can be built into your internal communications. Increased morale and motivation will improve output and will ultimately improve your bottom line.
Research by the British Quality Foundation and the European Foundation for Quality Management has shown that award-winning companies outperformed comparison companies by an average of 17% for sales and 36% for share value after just 3 years so more proof that spending a bit of time honing your Award entry can pay off.
If you don’t win this time, you can use the entry process as a learning experience. Take a look at those companies who were nominated as finalists and those who were crowned as winners. Use them as your benchmark. Preparing your entry will force you to take a closer look at your business, examine what you’re trying to achieve, define your core values and look at where you want to position yourself. As such, it will never be time wasted, regardless of your success.
With all this in mind, you might want to consider entering the Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Business Awards 2019. Entries are open until 5:00pm on Friday 10th May 2019. CIDO are proud to be joint sponsors of Best New Business Award but there are 13 categories in total. Full details can be found on the council’s website