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Ten reasons why entering awards is good for business

Entering business awards is a great way to showcase your company. Whilst winning those awards is amazing, it’s not the only reason to enter. Read on for ten reasons why entering awards is good for your business. And, as a bonus, we’ll also share tips on choosing the best awards to enter.

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In a competitive marketplace, it’s good to find different ways for your business to get noticed. Here’s how entering awards can help with that, and more.

1. Building trust and credibility

Winning, or getting shortlisted for an award is an immediate third party endorsement. It’s like a seal of approval, showing potential customers that your business is highly regarded. Once shortlisted, you can add it to your website, email, and social media posts. It will help build trust and differentiate you from the competition.

2. Receiving free marketing

Publicity in the run up to the awards is likely to mean free media coverage online, in print, or via interviews. This will raise your profile and get you in front of new audiences, which can open doors to new partnerships. It also gives you great material to create your own press releases and online content.

3. Giving you access to valuable feedback

Award judges are often those who’ve been successful in business themselves. Even when not shortlisted, they may give you feedback – and that’s free business advice. You’ll also get the chance to look behind the scenes of other entrants and gain creative ideas for your own company.

4. Benchmarking your performance

Completing an award application means looking at your business objectively. You’ll see things from a different perspective and benchmark yourself against industry standards. This can help identify strengths, but also come up with strategies to improve your business.

5. Motivating employees

Entering awards shows employees that you recognise their hard work and achievements. It helps boost morale and loyalty, especially if you’re recognising an individual or team in the application. You can also reward their efforts by inviting them to join you at the glitzy ceremony.

6. Attracting the best talent

The best employees want to work for companies recognised as leaders in their field. Winning awards establishes you as an industry leader, and high-quality employees will want to be part of that.

7. Generating new leads

Customers can choose to work with any company, or with an award-winning industry leader. By entering awards, you’ll grab their attention, show your expertise, and stand out from your competitors. This can open opportunities for new business, collaborations, and connections.

8. Increasing customer loyalty and retention

External validation from the awarding organisation can give reassurance to customers. It will help them feel safer in in your abilities to deliver a high-quality product or service. Building this kind of trust will also mean they’re more likely to stay loyal to your business.

9. Levelling the playing field

Awards can put small businesses on the same playing field as larger organisations. Every business must follow the same criteria and word count in their application. That means each has the exact same opportunity.

10. Providing networking opportunities

Attending awards ceremonies is a great way of expanding your network. The room will be full of like-minded business owners, either industry specific or local businesses. Creating new connections means opportunities to exchange ideas and form partnerships.

The best business awards are those that fit your company, and your strategic goals. In other words, no one size fits all!

You could choose local business awards, national awards, or industry specific awards. But there are many other types too such as leadership and women in business.

Award prizes differ too. Winning could mean a trophy, certificate, or kudos. But it could also mean a monetary prize or other benefit like coaching and mentoring.

Not all awards are equal and, importantly, not all are free to enter either. Check the following before picking the right award for your business.

1. Does the award align with your goals?

Think about your strategy and what might align with your business goals. What would be meaningful to those you’re trying to impress? For example, if you’re currently looking for new employees, consider awards recognising good employers.

2. Is it a legitimate award?

Your search may uncover some spam awards looking to take your money. So, check the credibility of an award. How long it’s been running, do the social media platforms look ok, and who’s on the judging panel? Awards run by local chambers of commerce, or trade and professional bodies are usually legitimate.

3. Are you eligible to enter?

Awarding organisations will have specific eligibility criteria. For example, you need to have an ‘S’ postcode or be a Chamber member to enter the Barnsley & Rotherham Business Awards. Other awards, such as a startup of the year will have a maximum number of years in business.

4. Is there a relevant category?

You’ll find awards with lots of categories, so it’s important to check whether you’re a good fit and meet the relevant criteria. The more selective you are, the better your entry is likely to be. Once you’ve chosen, look at whether you have a good story to convince the judges you deserve the award. Importantly, make sure you have tangible proof to go along with your entry.

5. Can you afford the entry fees?

Many awards are free to enter, but others can cost large amounts of money. Even free awards often expect you to buy a ticket for the ceremony if you’re shortlisted. That can mean paying for the cost of the event, plus hotel and travel, so make sure you factor it all in.

Here in Barnsley, entries recently opened for one of our best known business awards. Now 14 years old, they’re run by the Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, this year in association with Barnsley College.

The Barnsley & Rotherham Business Awards are free to enter for businesses with an ‘S’ postcode, or for Chamber members. There are ten categories to choose from. Each has a shortlist of five businesses, all receiving a certificate at the ceremony. One business wins, two are ‘highly commended’, and two are ‘shortlisted’.

“Entering our Awards is a great way to stand out from your competitors. It can also raise your profile and help you win future tenders for work. But we’re often told it feels amazing just to be on the shortlist and recognised at the event ceremony.”

Shane Young, Operations Director – Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce

It’s expected that over 500 businesspeople will attend the awards ceremony on Friday 8th November. As it’s a local award, the event is often considered one of the best networking opportunities for Barnsley businesses.

“We arrange for professional photos on the night and a video of the ceremony. Award winners get interviewed for the video, and we include them in a bulletin and social posts afterwards. It’s a good experience and the awards are free to enter so, if you fit the criteria, what do you have to lose,” says Shane. “My top tip for your entry is to be true, real, and honest. Show your passion, and don’t overthink things.”

Awards categories and entry information: https://www.brawards.co.uk/award-categories/

Ticket details for the award ceremony: https://www.brchamber.co.uk/event/barnsley-and-rotherham-business-awards-2024/

Key dates:

  • Closing date for entries: 9th September 2024
  • Shortlist announced: w/c 20th September 2024
  • Awards ceremony: 8th November 2024

Entering business awards is a great way to showcase your company and offers benefits beyond the chance of winning. Awards provide a valuable opportunity to build credibility and gain free marketing. But receiving insightful feedback from business experts can also help you develop and grow your business.

Selecting awards that align with your business goals can play a part in your overall growth strategy. Winning awards is incredible. But even getting shortlisted can be good for your business. It can help you attract new customers, build a loyal team, and create new partnerships.

“The Barnsley & Rotherham Business Awards are an established annual event on our local business calendar. We encourage tenants to get involved, whether it’s applying for an award, or supporting those recognised at the ceremony.”

Kevin Steel, Business Development Manager – The Business Village