Money will be tight in those early days, but if you invest early and attempt to do something worthy of a business awards, the returns could pay off quickly.
Life as a small business owner can be tough. Money and time are tight. Even so, it could be worth your while investing for growth, and one surprisingly lucrative investment could be entering yourself for a business award.
True, for early stage businesses, entering an awards might seem like a luxury. It takes time, it takes money and both of those things are in short supply for small businesses. However, it all depends on what purpose you see awards serving. If you get this right, it can be an enormous boost to your business. Here’s why.
- Good marketing
Every small business needs to spend money on marketing in order to bring in new business. However, data suggests 40% of all that spend will be wasted. Advertisements may be placed in the wrong place; they might not have the desired impact and a lack of data may make it difficult to understand which channels will deliver the best results.
If you think of awards as another piece of marketing, the investment makes much more sense. Even if you don’t win, the exposure can boost your brand in ways even the best advertisement can’t. It puts you on the map. It elevates you onto an altogether bigger platform placing you alongside some of the biggest names in your business.
Aside from all the free exposure, it sends a clear message to the world: yours is a vibrant, confident, forward looking business happy to mix it with the best.
- Expanding your network
Networking is a key, if often underestimated, element of awards. Although Coronavirus has limited in person networking opportunities, there is still some value to be had from virtual awards.
In normal times, attending an awards ceremony will be more than just a nice evening out. It’s an excellent networking opportunity. You’ll have a chance to meet new partners, contacts, potential clients and all sorts of people who may help your business in many different ways.
Without the actual physical awards taking place, this networking opportunity is not as big as might previously be the case. Even in the virtual world, though, this will be an opportunity to expand your network by meeting and interacting with many different stakeholders.
- Boosting credibility
Credibility is one of the most difficult things for a small, or new, business to achieve. All the marketing material and content on your website can only do so much. You need to build up a reservoir of evidence which shows people that you are a good company, with a great product or service to offer.
If you win the award, that credibility bounce could be transformative. You’ll be able to place the awards logo on your website and introduce yourself as ‘award winning’ in all your marketing material.
However, just being nominated is a testament to the quality and resilience of your business.
Win or lose, it tells people something positive about your business, the business model and you as an entrepreneur.
- Understanding your business
Entering an awards competition is a great opportunity for you to take a look at your business, see where it is at and how it can move forward. It will help you assess your recent performance, such as how you have grown, how you’ve met your goals and how you have overcome your biggest challenges. It also helps you to analyse your businesses’ biggest strengths and weaknesses to see how you can optimise performance in the future.
Most of all, it’s an opportunity to benchmark yourself against more established businesses. Many of these will be highly successful businesses which represent where you want to be as a company.
These awards will be a chance to see where they are, what they are doing well and any lessons you might be able to learn from. Even if you lose out on an award, you can use this as a learning experience to come back stronger.
- Attracting talent and boosting staff performance
There’s a reason why managers say their best asset is their people. It’s true in any business, but particularly a small business in which a small, talented and tight knit team will make or break a business.
In a small team everyone is vital and will have a significant role to play in determining whether or not your business becomes successful. If that team is energised and enthused it will have a tremendous impact on your bottom line.
Equally, bringing in better people not only increases the talent pool, but it raises the bar and often gets the best out of your existing team. As a whole your team becomes more productive and effective helping you to deliver a better service to your customers.
This is one area in which COVID 19 has created opportunities. The need to control the spread and stay home has forced many businesses to embrace the concept of remote working. This has created all sorts of opportunities which those businesses might not have thought about at the time, including the ability to branch out their recruitment and involve talented people who may not be based within a reasonable distance of the office.
In this digital world, may teams need nothing more than an internet connection and a camera on their computer in order to collaborate effectively.
Winning an award, or even being nominated, can make you more attractive as an employer, which will help you bring the top people, wherever they are, into your organisation.
Invest for growth
The one thing standing in your way will inevitably be money. Aside from the cost of entering the awards there is also the time and effort preparing your application. However, as we’ve shown in this blog, that investment can pay off in many different ways further down the line. Money spent now can have a tremendous impact on your future.