With the awards season upon us we thought it would be a good time to look at the question many business owners ask themselves: Are business awards worthwhile?
The short answer is yes. Being recognised by the right awards can bring your business a host of benefits.
The ‘independent recognition’ can be the endorsement new customers need to start doing business with you— powerful in an age where advocacy and recommendations play such a significant role in buying decisions.
If the award relates to an attribute you use to differentiate your business from your competitors—customer service perhaps—it can enhance your business’s credibility and help you stand out from the crowd.
An award win also presents a fantastic opportunity to shout about how great your business is. Alongside the publicity that goes along with good award programmes, telling the story about your win gives you a reason to communicate with your customers.
Then, the process will invariably open up new networking opportunities. These may be events around the awards ceremony itself, or through other associated activities.
And, of course, you can’t ignore the impact an award win can have on your staff and their morale. Recognising the effort and energy your staff put into their work is vital in any business. When that recognition comes from an independent and reputable source, it carries enormous weight. And if you are trying to attract the best staff to your business, being a winner in your field will do you no harm at all!
But, if you don’t win, all is not lost. The entry process is an excellent opportunity to take stock and focus on your businesses strengths and weaknesses—something it’s often difficult to find the time to do. Your judges should also give you feedback, and you will be able to benchmark your business against others in your sector.
Where do I sign?
So it sounds like a no-brainer doesn’t it? While being recognised by the right awards can bring your business these benefits and more, the key is to understand which are the ‘right’ awards for you.
Completing entries will take time and if the awards are not right for you that time will be wasted. And so the first thing to do is to consider why you are putting your business, or teams, forward for the award and what you want to get out of the process.
Once your objectives are clear, you should assess your options and ensure they fit your goals. You should be looking at various factors to establish whether the awards you have identified are relevant.
Consider the awards’ geographical reach; does it suit your target market? At the Kent Vision LIVE event, we partner with the Kent Excellence in Business Awards (KEiBAs). We do that because we both have such a strong presence across Kent. Your geographical focus may be linked to where your customers are based, or if attracting staff is a key objective, where you want to draw them from.
You may also want to consider whether the awards you are reviewing offer categories that reflect the skills and capabilities you wish to be recognised for.
Once you have identified the awards that meet your objectives, it’s important to assess their credibility—another reason we are happy to partner with the KEiBAs. Winning an award is great, but if your staff or customers are not impressed, then it’s all been a waste of time. So ask around, talk to your employees, network and customers. Have they heard of the awards, what do they think? Do the people you speak to think they are well run and well judged?
Be honest now
Lastly, you need to ask yourself, have you got a chance. And you need to answer honestly. You won’t know for sure until you enter, but by looking at previous winners, and the judging criteria, you should get an idea of what the judges are looking for.
If you know you can’t succeed then look at another option, or postpone your entry while you work on your gaps. If you think you could win, don’t be afraid to ask for help with completing the entry process—many companies do. There is a skill to completing successful awards entries, and for a first-timer, it can be a daunting and slow task. Investing in some experienced resource can improve your chances, and if you are applying to the right awards it will be worthwhile.
And so, if you go in with your eyes open, establish what you want to get out of the process, find awards that are credible and meet your objectives, then yes, business awards can be very worthwhile.