5 Reasons Why Entering Awards Can Help Your Business

Most business owners are stretched when it comes to running their businesses day to day, let alone enter business awards.  So why do it?  Here are 5 reasons why entering awards can bring many advantages to your business, regardless of whether you win.

Business Awards – there’s something for everyone

No matter how large or small your business is, anyone can enter a business award competition.  And across the UK, there is a huge and growing variety of awards around.

Some, such as the National Business Awards, celebrate major national and international firms.  But there are also many geared towards small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are the lifeblood of our economy.

The purpose of business awards is simple: to recognise the achievements of entrepreneurs and small businesses, as well as their staff and other stakeholders who contribute to their success.

It’s easy to be cynical or sniffy about business awards: it’s challenging enough for most of us to focus on running our businesses day to day without the extra burden of preparing self-promoting awards pitches.  Putting ourselves forward for business awards is therefore not always at the top of our agenda.

Do you think business awards are a poor use of your time?  If so, we think you’re missing out on a huge opportunity, not only to market your business, but also to improve and expand it.

Business awards – where to start?

If you’re interested in applying for business awards, then the chances are that you’ll already know which awards are available and relevant to you and your business.  But if you’re not sure where to start, you can find out about awards through your local chamber of commerce.  Here’s a link with a helpful searchable map to find your local chamber: https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/page/join-a-chamber.

You can also search in your local and business press, or simply search the internet for awards that are relevant to your business, either by industry or by location.

Deciding which awards to enter can be challenging in itself, and the application process can take up a lot of valuable time and staff resources.  But it’s important to weigh up the time and effort it takes, against the potential benefits.  Some awards may offer monetary prizes or other benefits such as business mentoring, advice and workshops.

However, it’s not just the winning that matters, right?  At least, that’s what we always tell our children…

Why all businesses should apply for business awards

We believe that awards can help all businesses, regardless of whether or not you win.  So, recognising that most small businesses have limited resources that are usually stretched, here are some reasons why entering awards could be very beneficial for your business, and why you should consider putting yourself forward.

  1. Huge marketing opportunity

Business awards can be an overlooked tool in your marketing toolbox.  Just being nominated or shortlisted can improve brand awareness and promote your business to new and existing customers.

Awards celebrate hard work and success, but they are also great PR opportunities.  The PR opportunities that come with making an awards shortlist, or a win, mean your business will be in the spotlight for all the right reasons.

Reputable business awards can generate significant publicity across local and national press and social media, and with the award process running across several weeks, or even months, you’ve a constant source of traffic to your website and social pages.

So make sure you maximise your PR exposure and update all of your marketing materials with the award logo.  This should include your business cards (for all staff), your website, email signatures and all company literature and sales materials, including email newsletters and marketing.

It’s human nature to want to be recognised and appreciated, so make sure that people know what your business has achieved.  Achieving recognition through business awards is an effective form of third-party validation for your business.  It’s some ways it’s like receiving a glowing customer testimonial, or a 5-star review on TripAdvisor.

But in many ways, business awards are so much more effective, since the awards are usually judged by a professional body or another independent organisation.  In other words, they are more credible, more trustworthy.  More real.

So don’t ignore business awards as a valuable marketing tool.  Marketing is about increasing sales and profits.  And being shortlisted or even winning a business award can open doors to getting contracts, finding new supply channels and breaking into new markets.

Remember: all publicity is good publicity.  But good publicity is the best kind.

  1. Benchmarking your business versus the competition

Entering a business award will challenge you to look at your business from a different perspective and compare yourself to your competitors.  What makes your business stand out from the competition?  And how can you best demonstrate this to the judges?

Is it innovation that sets your business apart?  Is it your customer service?  Your diversity, growth, your investment in people and strategic thinking?  Or perhaps it’s your green credentials, your contribution to society or how you’re improving the lives of others in your industry or perhaps in your local community.

Whatever it is, it’s important to show how you are making a difference and why your customers choose you ahead of your competitors.

Simply going through this process should help you to think critically and objectively about ways you could be doing things better and identify areas for improvement.

This is a hugely valuable process, and one that many entrepreneurs rarely go through (and yet they often spend vast sums of money on expensive consultants to do it for them!).  This is just one of the ways to add value to your business, over and above any prize that may be on offer.

Of course, if your business does win an award, it can be a great indication that you’re doing things right and moving in the right direction.  But it can still be a valuable experience even if you don’t win.

If that’s the case, you can use the experience to consider what you can be doing better, what your competitors are doing differently and how you might be able to make some changes.  Once again, this might be more valuable than winning the award itself.

  1. Increased credibility and market standing

A business award win, or even a nomination or shortlisting, acts as a valuable third party endorsement for your business.  In other words, it’s a seal of approval on what you’re doing.  It will therefore increase your credibility and position your business as a trusted expert and authority within your industry.

Winning a business award clearly differentiates you from your competitors, and can provide a real competitive advantage when finding new customers, retaining existing ones, or speaking to and negotiating deals with suppliers.

Furthermore, if you’re seeking investment or funding, for example in the form of equity capital or debt funding to expand your business, then business awards that recognise your achievements can really help your case with potential investors.

  1. Motivate employees and attract new talent

Awards recognise not only the business owners and entrepreneurs, but also the hard work and achievements of your employees.  Being nominated, shortlisted or even winning awards can therefore provide a huge boost to staff morale and improve motivation.

Employees are focused on what’s great about the company they work for and can feel proud to be part of the team.  And if there’s a glitzy awards ceremony or dinner to attend, you can invite employees to join you.  These events can be excellent networking opportunities, as well as being a great night out for you and your team (though try to be lenient if one or two of them show up for work a little jaded the following morning…).

Business awards can also help you to attract and retain new recruits, too.  By pitching yourself as the best you can attract the talent you need to push your business forward.  Who doesn’t want to be associated with an award-winning company?

  1. Great for networking

Business awards are often judged by other successful entrepreneurs and business owners.  So being involved in the awards process can provide excellent opportunities to discuss your business with other entrepreneurs and people that may be able to add value to your business in many different ways.

So embrace the challenge, put your business forward for some awards, get out there and network and forge new relationships!

Unity Group has been shortlisted!

Having discussed why all businesses can benefit from applying for business awards, we hope you won’t mind us taking a moment to discuss our own achievements…

We’re delighted to announce that Unity Group has been named as one of the finalists in the prestigious Morley Chamber of Trade & Commerce Annual Business Awards 2018!

The Morley Chamber Business Awards are considered to be Yorkshire’s most prestigious and hotly contested awards.  The MCBAs recognise and reward excellence and creativity in local business, and each year organisations and individuals from all sectors compete for the coveted titles on offer.

Unity Group has been shortlisted in the Sole Trader/Limited Company of the Year category, and is a testament to all the hard work of all of our staff, as well as the trust and faith placed in us by our customers.

Regardless of the result, we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your support over the years.  Without you all, we simply wouldn’t exist.

And finally…a quick plug for Morley Chamber

Morley Chamber of Trade and Commerce (http://morleychamber.co.uk/) is an organisation for businesses, tradespeople and anyone interested in the town of Morley to promote the town, its businesses and social environment.

It also acts as a body for business people to socialise and meet other businesses with a view to developing contacts and business networks, trading together and referring contacts.

The chamber represents its members on all aspects and issues affecting them, and plays an important role in promoting and improving the town centre and local environment, to increase the appeal of the town of Morley as a shopping and commercial centre to the benefit of all local trades and businesses.