Do you have to win an award to benefit?
There is no doubt that entering awards can be a bit daunting. Putting yourself forward for anything where you will be judged can make you feel vulnerable, but think about it logically; the judges are looking for success stories! They are not looking at your failures – they are looking for your best points. When you look at it like this you can see that there is nothing personal about it and therefor no reason to feel vulnerable – it is all about scoring against a set of given criteria – and you need to do your best to match that criteria. If you do not win, it is not because you failed, it is because someone else met the criteria a little bit better.
So, once you have overcome the nervousness and plucked up courage to enter, what good will come of it?
1. You will have spent quality time examining your company
When was the last time you gave yourself permission to step away from the coalface and really look at what you are doing well and what your business journey looks like? Just doing this brings its own benefits; you will make changes as a consequence. A dispassionate analysis of your business will have you facing the hard truths you have lived with and chosen not to face; it will also have you celebrating your success when you actually think about how you can measure it!
2. You will gain free publicity
The organisers of the awards will be looking to make a lot of noise in order to encourage entries. If you publicly state you are entering they will likely celebrate with you and with your permission use your example as a company willing to share their success story = free publicity and an association with success! Even if you don’t win, the early association will stick; you have cleverly used the opportunity and declared that you have faith in your business; confidence is contagious!
3. You become part of ‘The Club’
Whenever you do anything like enter a local award you are automatically accepted into the Club – those that have also entered; you share that experience, you have that in common. As with all organic networks it opens doors, it gives you common ground and an opportunity to meet other companies you may want to build associations with at a later date.
No matter how big your team, knowing you are going for an award instils a sense of pride and real camaraderie; you are all in it together. Your company’s achievements are also theirs. It also helps with recruitment and retention; a successful business with engaged staff is a far more attractive proposition to one with little or no motivation for success.
5. Being a finalist is almost as good as winning!
If you are shortlisted you will still get a huge amount of kudos. You will probably be entitled to use the awards logo on your stationery, website etc etc. Everyone will know that you have got right down to the last three and that means that you have been recognised, and recognition is what awards are all about. there is no shame in being pipped to the post – you have another chance next year!
Entering local awards is all about demonstrating that you are confident in your business, it is about learning how to tell your story of success in way that is understandable. It forces you to really look at your business as you try to explain it to a third party who may know nothing at the outset of reading your application and that is never a bad thing to be able to do.
As one of the organisers of the Taunton Deane Business Awards, of course I am hoping you will take up the challenge of sharing your successes with us, but as a marketer I am saying to you – look at the opportunities they bring and grab them. You have to be #InItToWinIt but you don’t have to win it to grab the benefits!