Award wins deliver credibility, it’s that simple. They also boost the profile of a business and its team, as well as getting the phone ringing with potential clients. And they’re a sure-fire way of propelling a business head-and-shoulders above its competitors.
Every business should be entering awards – no matter if they’ve been in business for 12 months or 12 years.
I started my business – The Remarkables Group – on May 16, 2012, and scooped my first award two months later. Since then, we have been very fortunate to win four awards – Emerging Agency of the Year, Australian Start-up of the Year, Women in Media and SmartCompany’s Hot 30 under 30. We’ve also been finalists for another two and were nominated for Telstra Business of the Year this year.
The impact of this recognition has been remarkable. My business was not only a start-up, but a start-up with a new offer for Australia. I had my work cut out for me proving the value of what we were offering, and gaining the trust of the industry.
The hard work paid off. In our first year in business, we secured revenue of $1.1million – much of which I attribute to creating a highly visible brand in the market.
I’ve also been honoured to judge a number of industry awards over the last year or so, so I’ve seen the other side of awards now – the great, the average and the downright “you call this an entry?” ones.
Based on my experience on both sides of the fence, here is my tried and tested system to becoming an award-winning business:
1. Research relevant awards
You need to actively search out awards opportunities – if you wait for them to come to you, you’ll be waiting a hell of a long time. At the start of every year, start an awards calendar so you know what’s coming up when – and add to it as you find new awards to enter. Ask your friends and industry contacts to share any that they find, and return the favour.
2. Plan awards into your budget
Many awards are free to enter, but some will require an entry fee. You may also have additional expenses like design time or printing. Include entering awards as a line item into your annual budget – that way if you do have expenses arising from them, they’re planned for.
3. Enter them
Sounds simple doesn’t it? I never fail to be amazed at the reasons businesses find to not enter awards. “There’s too much work on for me to write the entry” is a frequent one. But sadly the most common one by far is this: “We don’t have a chance of winning.” People allow this belief to prevent them from entering and at least having a shot at being shortlisted (a coup in itself) or taking out the main prize.
I entered my first ever awards two days after I started my business – still sitting in my spare bedroom. I did it as clients weren’t exactly banging down my door yet and I figured that entering was a way of forcing a panel of industry influencers to read about my business and getting the word out there about what I was doing.
Amazingly, I got shortlisted and at the awards party six weeks later my name was read out as a winner. I don’t think there was a more shocked person in Sydney that night.
Last year I was a judge for a very well-established industry awards and booked out a full day in my calendar to do my category’s judging online. It took me 90 minutes. I was incredulous at how few entries there were. You have a much higher chance of winning than you think – but you’ll never know until you enter!
Story continues on page 2. Please click below.
You can help us (and help yourself)
Now, there’s a way you can help us keep doing this: by becoming a SmartCompany supporter.