So, what’s in it for you?
Filling out an entry or application for an industry or business award can feel like just one thing too many to do. It’s a great idea, we hear you say, but I’m so busy… Maybe next year? Well here’s some advice from businesses who have made the time to enter past award programs that might make you think again.
“The Awards Program win provided positive recognition amongst our peers in the industry. Being a smaller organisation, the win also provided the opportunity for us to be acknowledged by Government.” – SA Prawn Co-operative.
“The 2015 Awards Program put us in touch with a lot of other amazing South Australian business owners and managers who I would not have met otherwise.” – Podpac
“The experience taken from the application and feedback process were invaluable – delivering insights and feedback from industry experts at no cost.” – Bickford’s Australia
“Just going through the process and answering the Awards Program questions for entry is valuable. You spend time honestly evaluating your business and taking the time to talk about all the great things you are doing.” – Ceravolo Orchards
“To show our Award at international trade shows gives potential customers the confidence that ‘Yes, Fleurieu Milk take pride in their products’.” – Fleurieu Milk Company
Strategic use of available award programs can have a very positive impact on your business. And while everyone wants to win, there are still advantages to be had if you don’t quite make it to the very top of the heap.
Let’s take a look at some of them:
The P word
It’s about profile, people. An award win is a story for your local media, the trade media, and your customers and potential new markets. This is your chance to showcase your achievements and stand out to customers and consumers in a new way. The fact is, award wins get a business noticed. And that’s got to be good.
The other P word
You know that precis of your company and your products (AKA the introduction to your business plan) that’s in your head but not on paper? The answers to the questions for the award are probably also the basis of that business profile you need for the business plan your accountant and your bank really wish you would get around to writing. Those words can be tweaked and used everywhere from your website to your next grant application or a development application to your local council. Going through an award application process effectively gives you the gift of a small window in time to work on your business instead of in it. Take a moment, check the view through the big picture window, and who knows what inspiration might leap into life?
The M word
The M word is ‘motivation’. Let’s look back from the big picture view back into the engine room of your business. Your team are there, and they’ve helped you achieve great things, right? Think about this: research shows that to keep people motivated to step up to the next big challenge, you have to regularly celebrate the successes already achieved. Taking time out to say “wow, we really did that!” delivers very real team-building benefits. It’s time to show your appreciation of their contribution.
… and the other M word
…is ‘market’. Winning an award, or achieving a position on a short list of finalists can be a powerful marketing tool if you leverage it well. If there’s a winner or finalist logo, use it on your website and in your email signature. If there’s not, put it in words. What you are telling the world is that a set of independent, credible judges found your products and business to be amongst the very best. In these days of consumer scepticism about the claims businesses make in their marketing, this can be a powerful tool to help you stand out from the crowds.
Listen to what the experts can tell you
The process of external evaluation for an award gives you a highly cost effective opportunity to benchmark your business against your industry and your competitors. Depending on the award program, you may also have a chance to obtain expert feedback from the judges or to access specialist coaching and support. Look for those opportunities in the fine print of the awards you are considering entering and take up all the offers available. Every bit of information and advice you can access through award programs could help you position your business for success.
These are just a few of the benefits of creating time in your schedule to enter one of the many industry, business and product award programs available. Look locally, look at the state and look nationally for these opportunities. You will soon find the process of preparing one entry will deliver another benefit too – the more you do, the faster the process, because each time you are likely to be able to use previous entries as a starting point.
As Ceravolo Orchards told us, “the publicity from winning an award has been fantastic. Many people have approached us to congratulate us on our award, offer their support, or ask to work with us.”
Isn’t it time to find out if you are an award winner?
Listen to what a few of the 2016 finalists has to say about the advantages of entering their businesses into the South Australian Food Industry Awards Program.