With so much to think about when running a business, it could be easy to overlook the subject of business awards. Plus, you may not feel that you can justify the cost and time it takes to enter, especially as winning is never guaranteed.
But industry recognition – even if you don’t come first in your category – really could bring with it a variety of advantages that can help you achieve your business goals.
With all of this in mind, we’re going to focus on the benefits of awards and then discuss the types of awards that you could consider entering.
The Benefits of Business Awards
From national business awards to industry-specific schemes, there are a host of ways for your enterprise to be recognised. And, as mentioned above, you don’t necessarily need to be an outright winner to benefit. Simply being nominated for any type of business excellence award could bring advantages such as:
Gaining Media Coverage
Perhaps the most important reason you might want to enter an awards scheme is to secure invaluable coverage of your company’s achievements. This may occur naturally or could be stimulated with the help of a press release or social media post.
Standing Out in Your Sector
Winning a business award, or just being an official entrant, can help your company to differentiate itself in terms of quality. For potential customers it could be seen as a stamp of approval that makes all the difference when it comes to choosing your product or service.
Attracting the Best Employees
It’s not just customers who may be impressed by awards results, but potential employees. If your business is associated with excellence, you might draw a higher calibre of applicants for new positions. You could also enjoy greater success when it comes to improving job satisfaction and retaining ambitious employees.
Another reason for wanting to stand out in the business awards world is to demonstrate to stakeholders that your company is performing well against the competition. This could even help to attract new investors eager to back an enterprise associated with success.
A much-overlooked benefit of entering business awards is the opportunity to meet like-minded entrepreneurs and managers at the awards events themselves. These people could become potential partners, investors or even customers of your business.
Choosing the Right Types of Awards to Enter
Entering a variety of business award schemes, or targeting multiple categories in the same scheme, can be a costly process. This is why it is perhaps better to identify and enter only the awards that will be most beneficial to your company. A targeted approach of this type will also give you a greater chance of winning. Just some of the categories of awards you could consider include:
Small Business Awards
Awards specifically for smaller enterprises, such as the British Small Business Awards and SME National Business Awards, will allow you to go up against companies of a similar size without having to take on the giants in your industry. These could also represent valuable networking opportunities and provide a good burst of PR coverage.
City and Regional Business Awards
Perhaps just as effective in terms of PR exposure could be success at a scheme such as the Sussex Business Awards, Essex Business Awards or Belfast Business Awards. These types of awards are also worth entering if you would like to position your business in the local market or if you simply want to meet fellow businesspeople from your area.
National Business Awards
If you are confident of your company’s performance, it could be an idea to enter national business awards schemes like the UK Business Awards. The opportunities for networking would be great, as representatives from both SMEs and larger organisations are often present. And a win on this level could give your company plenty of recognition in the media.
International Business Awards
If your business crosses borders in any way, you might want to set your sights on schemes like the European Business Awards. This way, you would be able to secure media coverage that targets your customers in their own countries. If you attend the awards ceremony you could also make invaluable contacts in foreign markets.
Industry - Specific Awards
So far, we have discussed general business awards, but if you want to stand out in your industry you may want to enter schemes such as the Legal Business Awards, Comms Business Awards or Business Travel Awards. The opportunities here are to potentially set yourself apart from your competitors and, at the same time, attract capable employees from within your industry.
Awards such as the Women in Business Awards and Business Charity Awards are also well worth considering as they could help to demonstrate that there is more to your business than simply doing business. They could shine a light on successful individuals in your company or bring to the fore any good work that you are doing in the community.
Making the Most of Business Awards
As mentioned previously, it is important to capitalise on any recognition your company earns from its awards entries. This could be done through your own blogging, social media and advertising activities, or through a programme reaching out to local, national and trade media. Aon for example were award the Cyber Insurance Broker of the Year and regularly makes into the top 5 of Insurance Times UK broker listing and is something we use across our marketing to demonstrate to prospective clients expertise.
It could also be useful to keep track of your entries over the course of a year and then to assess, based on any outcomes, which awards are worth entering a second or even a third time.
If treated with the same deliberation as any other business activity, entering business awards can be a cost-effective and ultimately rewarding exercise for your SME.
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This article has been compiled using information available to us up to 23/01/19.