Putting your business forward for an award can reap a host of benefits and values beyond the trophy and title. Hilary Campton, founder of marketing consultancy V Formation and creative director of the Midlands Family Business Awards, explains why.
For any business, entering awards requires time and energy, but the investment can return dividends, both internally and externally.
One of the clearest benefits of winning an award can be the immediate boost to workplace morale, particularly if employees have been involved in the entry process. Employees enjoy working for successful companies and winning or being shortlisted for an award gives you the opportunity to recognise your employees for their contribution to the business – as well as gaining an edge in the recruitment market.
For many previous Family Business Awards winners, it was all about the team effort, and they were quick to share their successes with their people.
Perhaps the value to profile, reputation and market positioning are more measurable, and in particular for existing customers, there's the reassurance that they have made a good choice in working with a business that has been recognised with a prestigious award. For prospective customers, an award win can set you apart from your competitors, and can help persuade a potential buyer to appoint your business.
Then there's the judging process itself. We've had some interesting feedback from companies reaching the final interview round of the Midlands Family Business Awards. Whilst most agree it is a daunting prospect, judging, in fact, proved to be a supportive and highly useful consultation process. The awards finalists had the rare chance to discuss their business with successful business leaders, who often gave them serious food for thought for how they could create an edge to maximise business potential and plans.
Very often there are also opportunities to build contacts, meet and network with other award participants, businesses, potential customers and advisers, building the all-important network of contacts within a forum for business development and best practice knowledge exchange.
But how to choose - there are so many great awards initiatives, from the national schemes such as the Queen's Awards, Insider's own portfolio of events, to those for specific types of businesses, including the Midlands Family Business Awards. But it is by selecting the award schemes most closely aligned to you, your business and the messages you wish to convey that you will gain the maximum value.
A strategic approach to entering awards gives you the opportunity to take a step back from the business, assess your achievements, and consolidate this for the award entry. Identify the features of the business that really matter to you and your customers – whether client service, working to support the local community, or raising your environmental credentials and standards, and then identify and utilise an award to help you position the business as an expert in this field.
The right award and any successes within it will raise profile and brand awareness, and entrants should always strive to embrace this and take advantage of the PR and profile opportunities it brings. More than this, it will provide recognition of your hard work, bring a positive and celebratory vibe, differentiate you from your competitors, and provide an independent seal of approval and quality.
And awards can really be fun – if you're a finalist the excitement of the awards ceremony is electric, and to be a finalist or even crowned a winner delivers so many internal and external benefits.