IMG 2112 1 - Why every business should enter business awards

Why every business should enter business awards

7 months ago I shared a post on LinkedIn asking if business awards are a vanity metric or just a really good way to promote, market and celebrate your business?

It received a lot of engagement so this is obviously a popular topic, although a little divisive at times. However, I took the positives and ran with them and put a strategic plan together to win some awards myself.

On 6th March I was awarded Runner-Up in the Mumpreneur category of the Kent Women in Business Awards and then just 3 days later on the 9th I was awarded Virtual Assistant Of The Year – Highly Commended at the Digital Women Awards in London. It was a heady time, to say the least, and I was truly astounded to be up on the stage on both occasions when the competition in my categories was frankly huge! I wasn’t the overall winner in either category but that didn’t matter, read on to find out why.

What I hadn’t anticipated when planning for the awards was that I would attract some very generous offers of help from other business owners who had been previous award winners and nominees. Entering the awards was such a rewarding experience for them that they felt compelled to reach out and share their tips with me. So that’s what I’m doing now in writing this blog. These are the reasons why I believe every business should enter business awards.

Focus

When writing my award entry I had to answer in-depth questions and think critically about my business. It was a great opportunity to review my business in detail and plans for the future.

Brand Awareness

There’s nothing quite like free marketing! Getting my business name out on a large platform, (and on the stage) was an excellent way to get recognised by industry peers and prospective clients. Simply being shortlisted can help you improve your brand awareness especially if you put a solid social media campaign around the event.

I’ve seen a large increase in engagement on my social media posts and have had a massive uplift in new client enquiries since coming home with my awards, you can too.

Raising Standards

The nomination process was reflective and allowed me to see where I was meeting my own benchmarks and goals. The process challenged me and required me to step outside of my comfort zone and was a brilliant experience in pushing myself.

Endorsement

I’ve found that it has been reassuring for new and potential clients to see that my business has received a stamp of approval by other judges and other business owners. My clients know that this achievement marks quality and are confident to continue to put their trust in me and The PA Portal. It’s also been a great way of differentiating my business from my competitors and benchmarking myself against others from different industries in my award categories.

Customer Retention

Entering and winning business awards has shown my clients that my business is at the top of its game, reinforcing their reasons for hiring me in the first place. It has also helped to build brand loyalty as my clients are even keener to stick with me and my business which is perceived to be doing well.

Motivational Boost

I got a big motivational boost from my awards success. Knowing that I did good and was recognised for it will always stay with me especially on days when imposter syndrome creeps in, which we all suffer from at some point or another. You shouldn’t be afraid to be recognised, shouting about your success makes all the hard work worth it!

Also, if you have a team taking them along to an award ceremony will give them a morale boost and new focus at work. Knowing they’ve contributed to the success of your business is a great motivator to continue to perform. I decided to take my husband to KWIBA ceremony as a thank you and in recognition of all his support to date.

Inspiration 

I wouldn’t have even thought about entering the awards had I not seen some of my peer group pick up awards at previous events. Therefore another reason for entering which you might not even realise is that you will inspire others to do the same.

Networking

Attending the awards evenings and the run-up before were both fantastic opportunities to network and meet other like-minded business owners. I strengthened some existing business relationships and grew new ones off the back of the awards with new client enquiries also. Remember you never know who may end up being a client in the future!

Opportunity to reflect and reward yourself

If you’re lucky enough to win an award, you should take the time to enjoy the momentous moment. I did but then lockdown happened, but it’s still been great for business. When you win sit back and reflect on your achievements of how far you’ve come and reward yourself. This time of reflection could also allow you to review your business and make changes where necessary.

So those are some of my reasons why you should enter. Anyone of them will make a big difference to your business. But don’t just take my word for it.

I recently interviewed Lisa Settle, Director of Telcare Ltd who has been a Judge of the Independent Business Awards Kent for 7 years and has also judged the KWIBA since 2014 and she said “It’s every business owner’s aim to increase awareness of their expertise and business offering. Entering the awards not only does that but it introduces you to an arena of like-minded people to connect with.” She also thinks that “the process of entering is valuable too, it highlights all the hard work, the challenges and achievements that have got you to where you are now.” And that’s not all because she confirms that “coming home with an award is the cherry on the cake, being recognised for the blood, sweat and tears is often the motivation to continue following your passion and is confirmation that you’ve been doing a good job.”

I appreciate that we are in a ‘new world’ and you might be wondering what is the future of mass participation events like business awards. Lisa and I agree that in the short term there will be a natural hesitancy about stepping out into the world of live events and ceremonies but it doesn’t mean that now is not a time to start to review and draft applications for the future. Business awards will continue, maybe in a new format, but the reasons for entering, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and reaping the rewards will always stand. Which awards are you going to enter?

Would you like support to prepare your business award entry? If so I’d love to pass on some more tips to help you bring that award home. Get in touch on 07399 618 527 or email me at ann@thepaportal.co.uk

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