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5 reasons why small businesses should always enter award competitions

October 6, 2014

This month we were eagerly awaiting the results of the Time & Leisure Food awards (finalist in the ‘Best Service’ category – which we won in 2013), and of the Merton Chamber of Commerce Business awards ( ‘Best Creative Sector’ runner up,  ‘Best Business in Morden’ finalist, ‘Best Hospitality & leisure business’ finalist).

You’ve prpobably noticed on our ‘What They Say‘ page that we have collected quite a few awards since we started the business in 2010. We don’t always win, but it is always worth entering, especially for a small business like us. Let me tell you 5 good reasons why:

1) It shows you are proud of your business. And if you believe that you are good enough for people to judge you, then potential customers  might think ‘well, maybe I shall check these guys out too’.

2) It demonstrates you know a thing or 2 about marketing. Because no small business can turn their back on  -at least – free PR. At best: free advertising, free coverage, free exposure, free networking. Forget about paying entries, there are hundreds of free award competitions which you can find online easily (look into your council, chamber of commerce, industry business groups, charities…). You might argue that they still charge extortionate amounts for the awards ceremony, but you have no obligation to go (although it’s a shame not to be on the official pic if you do win!). And from experience, trust me, if you’ve won they’ll find a way to get you there at a very discounted price or even for free!

3) It forces you to do a bit of business introspection. Entering an award competition is usually tidious. Some ask very in-depth questions about how you are operating your business, usually demanding concrete examples & stong numbers to back up your claims that ‘you are the best’. Most businesses are discouraged to even enter at that stage because it requires so much time and effort to put together a valid case. However it is all beneficial for you to do it because it will force you to take a look back at what you have been doing, why & how, and to evaluate by yourself whether it’s even good enough to present to a judge. I remember wanting to enter a ‘best entrepreneur’ award a couple of years ago and when I looked at the questionnaire I realised I did probably more by becoming a mom that year than by what I did growing my company! Sometimes we are so much thinking about the future of our business that we forget to analyse what happened in the past. That introspection is a brilliant way to pinpoint what’s been good thus worth bragging about in your entry and what could be improved.

4) It gives your business credibility. A ‘multi-award winning’ caterer always inspires more confidence than any other caterer because it gives potentital customers the impression that even though they might have never heard about you, some ‘professional entity’ had you tried and tested and therefore they are more likely to get in touch. Even if you don’t win, it always makes an impression on your website or below your email signature to say you were a finalist, or a runner up (don’t forget to feature the awards logos & pictures everywhere : a picture is worth…blablabla..!)

5) If you win, it boosts your ego and confidence – if you don’t, it calls for a reality check: someone out there is better than you. Whom? Why? How you can you beat them next time?

Hope that inspires you for this month 🙂



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