Being nominated or winning a business award recognises business excellence but the benefits don’t end there. 

1) The opportunity to evaluate your business
The entry process can be time consuming and justifying the time to enter awards can be difficult. Try to see this part of the process as a much needed opportunity to review and reflect on your business journey and successes. Some awards ask for a business plan, others ask probing questions and nearly all ask for supporting evidence such as client testimonials. It’s important to give the entry process the time it deserves.  Use it as an opportunity to assemble a team from all parts of your business and conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis on your business. This will help to evaluate what you do well and pin-point the excellence or best practice that your business demonstrates.  Regardless of the outcome of your entry this part of the process can kick-start a strategic review of your business and may lead to other opportunities. 

2) A boost to staff moral
Awards can go a long way to making employees feel valued and can be seen as an acknowledgment of  the hard work and commitment that your team show. They help employees to understand how the work that they do directly contributes to the success of your business.  

3) A chance to build your network
Pre award preparation will often require you to speak with or meet the judging panel in person or a visit to your business premises.  The panel is quite often made up of esteemed members of the business community and the awards provide an opportunity to establish a relationship and showcase your business to them.  As well as the judges, you will also have the opportunity to meet with your peers and local business support providers at the awards ceremony.  

4) Increase your business credibility
As well as improving how your business is seen by your employees, who are your internal customers, being an award nominee or winner is also a way to improve how your business appears to the outside   world.  Awards can help to demonstrate how you are a leader in your industry to both suppliers and customers alike. This helps to provide assurance or reaffirms why you are good to do business with. Include your awards success in your sales pitch to make your business stand out from the crowd.  Check that the award is credible and that it is respected within your sector. Look at past winners, sponsors and judges to help you decide.  

5) Raising awareness
Regardless of whether your business wins, being shortlisted for an award generates the opportunity for a news story. Use your social media channels, newsletters and company email signatures to let people know that your business is a nominee or an award winner.  In addition to the marketing opportunity for you the awards organiser, sponsors and local press will also publicise your businesses involvement and success.  Some awards will require a public vote and this is an ideal opportunity to engage with your clients and ask them to vote for you. 

6) Helps to attract new talent 
An award winning business can have the edge over a competitor when it comes to attracting new talent.  Who doesn’t want to work for a business that is seen as an exemplar of best practice or innovation?  Imagine what holding the award for ‘Employer of the Year’ could do for your recruitment! 
For those of you who have now been persuaded to give it a go the first step is to decide your motivation for entering. This will help you to choose the right awards to enter and answer the question of whether you should you focus on local or national awards. Awards have multiple categories to enter such as ‘Social Enterprise of the Year’, ‘Website of the Year’ and ‘Growth Business of the Year. Categories can present opportunities for specific industry sectors, as well as highlighting the achievement of special projects and initiatives your business has undertaken and recognising individuals within the business.  Next, make sure that the award is credible and respected in your sector. 

Remember that the awards entry form is where you need to sell your business story and its successes. Take the time to complete this fully because without passing the initial application stage you won’t get the opportunity to show the judges that the reality at least matches or is better than what you have presented on paper. 

Good luck! 

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