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Are business Awards Worth Entering?

I attended the Richmond Business Awards recently on 13th November 2015 when it was held at the Twickenham Rugby Stadium. It was attended by approximately 600 local business owners and was a celebration of the achievements of the local businesses for the past year with a total of 39 awards available in 13 categories.

This got me thinking about why businesses enter the awards and is it worth it as a small business to spend the time and sometimes additional expense on entering these awards. There is quiet a large number of awards that a business could enter, so it is worth investigating the requirements and estimating what your potential chances of being successful would be, before entering any particular award. You would need to choose the correct category that applies to your type and size of business to strengthen the chances of you being short-listed or winning something.

You would then need to set aside enough time to gather all of the required information that you will require to adequately answer the questions and requirements for the award entry, which can take some time. You would then need to complete the entry in good time so that you can review it and see if there are any ways that you could improve it to maximise your chances of success. It may also be a good idea to get someone else, not connected to the business whose opinion you respect, to review your entry and give you some feedback on your entry, so that you can make sure that it all makes sense to your proposed target audience, the judges. Most business award judges are business owners themselves, or have run business in the past or have worked for larger firms in a senior role to give them the skills to judge the entries.

So, what are the potential benefits of entering business awards? In my opinion, they include the following, particularly if you manage to be short-listed, selected as a finalist or win an award:

  • Additional exposure for you and the business, thus making you stand out from the crowd, possibly even making you the go-to person in your field or sector.
  • It gives you credibility in your sector and can help win potential clients.
  • Being short-listed or selected as a finalist gives you good PR material, even if you do not win any of the awards. These can be added to your e-mail signatures, letterheads and other company promotional material.
  • The biggest benefit I have found in entering these awards is that it forces you to investigate and view your business in an impartial way which may help you identify strengths that you can use to win more business, or helps identify weaknesses that you can then sort out to prevent them becoming a problem in the future.
  • The feedback that you often get back from the judges can help you improve your entry for next time, thus improving your chances of success in the future.
  • You get to network and meet lots of good businesses that could become clients or help you with your business plans for the future.

What are the potential draw-backs of entering business awards? The only one I can think of is that you may have lost some time, but I still believe that this is time well spent, as often we do not spend enough time examining our businesses critically, and we can learn valuable lessons in doing so.

Finally, to answer a question that you may have asked yourself at the beginning of this blog, which is did we win something on the night? The answer is that we won the ‘Commended’ Award for Best Small Business. We won a different award in 2013, but not anything in 2014, so it goes to show that you can’t always win, but must just keep on trying, and success will follow. Now it is your turn to try, good luck.

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