How applying for business awards can boost your business
Like many business owners, I’ve always wondered whether applying for business awards is really worth the effort?
Is there any benefit to paying an entry fee and for someone to help write or proofread the application? Do I have the time to research the right awards or put the information together?
Not all awards are created equal. But winning (or even applying or being nominated) can be an enormous boost for your business.
I’ve asked several amazing business women I know to share their experience of applying for business awards (and winning).While not all awards are created equal, winning (or even just applying or being nominated) can be an enormous boost for your business. #awards #AwardWriter #BusinessAwards Click To Tweet
Build connections and brand awareness
During her four years in business, social media specialist Katharine Crane from Crane Creative has entered many awards and won two.
For Katharine, it’s not the nomination or even the win that is the real prize.
“For me, the highlight is not winning. It’s the connections you make when you’re in a room full of amazing people. I’ve formed some valuable business relationships and genuine friendships through entering awards.”
Katharine also makes the point that applying for and winning awards is valuable marketing for your business. Using the PR spin to get your name out there is great for brand awareness.
Personal and professional affirmation
Journalist and Copywriter Zoe Simmons says she was incredibly nervous to apply for her first award. But she’s glad she did. She won the Silver Young Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the 2021 Stevie Awards for Women in Business.
“It’s been a rewarding experience, both professionally and personally. I’ve struggled with my own value, but winning an award was really affirming.”
Like many business owners, Zoe also struggles to ‘toot her own horn’. But now if she’s doubting herself or her business, she re-reads the judge’s comments . She said it helps her remember she is brilliant, even if she doesn’t always feel it.
“It’s also fantastic for my clients, because it shows that I can walk the walk and talk the talk. It’s given me and my copywriting business more credibility. And it’s pretty awesome to refer to myself as an award-winning journalist and copywriter!”
Establish credibility in your industry
All In Advisory Founder and Principal Aly Garrett has definitely seen the value of entering and winning awards.
When she started her accounting firm in October 2018, it was 100% female led and owned. One of her strategies to overcome the very conservative market was to enter awards and build credibility
Since then, Aly and her team have won many high-profile industry awards, catapulting the firm into a position of industry leadership.
In three years, the revenue base has grown to $1 million, and they now have 10 team members. Aly doesn’t believe they could have done this as quickly or successfully without entering awards.
“We get asked regularly to present, run workshops and presentations, and get interviewed for blogs and article. Winning has allowed us to punch above our weight in the industry”.
Transform your business and direction
For Vanessa Bamford from Vision Beyond Business, being recognised as a South Australia 40 under 40 finalist made her realise she no longer needed the validation of awards.
“I no longer needed to win awards to feel like I was an entrepreneur. I let go of the ‘success’ I was chasing and became more purpose driven and impactful than ever before. I’m now recognised as a thought leader and entrepreneur;”
The award gave Vanessa a platform to be seen by others and recognised for the difference she’s making. Like Katharine Crane, she met some incredible humans doing incredible things.
A path towards business growth
During her 16 years in business, Sarah Sanders from A Sprinkle of Magic has won 9 awards. These include Best Party Entertainer and Highly Commended Party Provider in Australia in 2021.
While living in Roxby Downs in regional South Australia, she won BHP Billiton’s Outstanding Business, Best Small Business and People’s Choice award at the regional awards on one night.
For Sarah, winning these awards has helped her grow her business. It’s also instilled confidence in her customers that she’ll deliver what she promises.
Awards also help with marketing, whether it’s word of mouth or being approached by newspapers. Sarah pointed out that awards also make great social media content.
Like others interviewed for this blog, Sarah also mentioned the confidence boost she has received by applying for awards.
“Award processes have many steps and you know how hard all the nominees have worked. Nominations, judging criteria to complete and submit, and shortlists. It’s daunting and a little overwhelming. So when they announce your name on the night, you know it’s an honour to be chosen.”
It’s not just about winning
While it’s an effort to write an application, Erin Huckle from Chuckle Communications always tells people to go for it. Just putting together the award entry can be a great exercise in creating amazing content about your business. You can repurpose that content in your newsletter, as a blog, across your socials and on your website.
“If you are lucky enough to become a finalist or winner, it’s a great credential to shout about and a powerful hook for PR. It’s cheesy, I know, but you really do have to be in it to win it!”
My experience as an award sponsor and writer
Last year, I decided that rather than enter an award, I would sponsor the SA Woman Quiet Achiever Award. It’s not a cheap exercise, but it felt good to contribute because I know the impact they’ve had on previous winners. It was also great exposure and personally, being able to sponsor an award felt like a big milestone.
I’ve also written award applications for clients. Like grant applications, they require a fair amount of input from the client themselves. The real value of engaging a copywriter is the perspective that comes from an independent third-party. You might not think what you’ve done is anything special, but chances are it’s just what the judges are looking for.
Some final thoughts on applying for business awards
This year, I’ve set a goal of applying for at least one business award. So I thought I should share some things I’m doing to prepare.
- Chatting to people in my networks and looking at the websites of people in my industry to see which awards they’ve applied for.
- Keeping an up to date list of my client testimonials to use in my application.
- Organising a copywriter to review my application – not just for accuracy but also because I know how hard it can be to talk up my own achievements.
- Searching for awards that align with my values, have a strong process and an excellent reputation. There are definitely some awards where you’ll win if you pay the entry fee. But what’s the point if everyone is a winner?
I’d love to hear about your experience of applying for a business award.
What did you find were the biggest challenges in writing an award entry?
How did you find good awards to enter?
Over to you
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