I was lucky enough to be invited to the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards’ ceremony last week as the guest of Cleankill Pest Control. Veterans of award ceremonies, they were shortlisted in two categories – ‘Business Person of the Year’ for Managing Director Paul Bates and ‘Best Employer’. Unfortunately they didn’t win either category but by attending they did get to celebrate the success of others operating in the Gatwick Diamond region. When you consider that this represents around 45,000 companies, not winning is hardly a surprise. Therefore, being downhearted doesn’t really make sense. In fact, being a finalist is a real achievement, in itself.
If there is a good chance your business won’t win, it is reasonable for you to ask: “Why enter business awards?”
Cleankill may not have won on this day but the day before, at the British Pest Management Awards organised by the British Pest Control Association, they were named ‘Company of the Year’. Over the years, Cleankill has also had its fair share of success at the Gatwick Diamond Awards – ‘Green Business of the Year’ (2017), ‘Responsible Business of the Year’ (2019) and runner up for ‘Customer Delight’ in 2019. Cleankill are certainly a company that knows the value of entering business awards, as can be seen in their online trophy cabinet.
There is more to business awards than winning.
So, here are my top seven reasons for entering business awards:
- They teach you about your business. Not all business awards are the same. For example, the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards have categories that make you focus on a single aspect of your business, e.g. customer service, environmental impact, training and development, etc. The effort taken in answering all the questions and relating them to the particular category will help you see the realities of your business, enabling you to make necessary improvements.
- Promote your USP. Cleankill is also a great example of a company that has used business awards to promote their unique selling point (USP) – it is an environmentally aware pest control company. Because this may not sound like an obvious match, they have used business awards to promote this approach. A USP that comes with an award is one which is worth promoting. So, in addition to the Gatwick Diamond Business Award for green business, Cleankill has also won similar awards at the Croydon Business Excellence Awards, Seahaven Awards and South London Business Awards.
- Awards come with feedback. If you win, that’s great - but even if you lose, the feedback from the judges will help you improve your business. The judges are objective, often work in your area, and they know about running a business. This is invaluable advice. One client even gained a valuable new customer after a visit by a judge and business owner who was really impressed by what he heard.
- Winning is great for your staff. These events are a great opportunity for you to remind your staff they are appreciated. The cost of taking them to the award ceremony is easily offset by the loyalty it engenders, the morale it boosts, and the fact you are demonstrating your respect for your staff. If you aren’t lucky enough to win, just being together at a social event can be very valuable.
- Increased business visibility. If you win, you can talk about it in the trade press, local press, on websites and in your social media. This is a great way to let your customers know they are working with a leading service provider. However, you mustn’t forget about the win after the initial round of press. Use it on your website, email signature and on literature. It is an achievement – be proud of it. Generally, we advise clients to stop using them at around 18 months as they become irrelevant but, until then – use it! Awards can differentiate you from your competitors.
- Awards define quality. Winners are, by definition, the best. Since these awards are often judged by local business leaders, being independently judges as the best in an area is a great boost for your company. Because most business communities are quite small, this will give you an amazing advantage over your competition.
- Your name will be heard. Whether you win or lose, by the end of the evening your name will be heard by a fair number of potential clients who are at the awards ceremony.
Obviously, we all like to win but the chances of winning can be very small – for example, 1 in 45,000. It is therefore very easy to find reasons not to enter – cost, they can be time consuming to write, you may not know how to write an award entry, and they may require you to focus on areas of your business you prefer to ignore. In the end, though, the positives far outweigh the negatives.
When you consider business awards in these terms, perhaps the question should be: “Can you afford not to enter?”
Over the years, Blueberry PR has worked with a number of clients on their successful award entries, including Cleankill, Catsfield Christmas Tree Farm, Ridley Inns, Millbrook Design and Print, Neva Consultants and Kent Fire and Rescue Service. To learn more about we can help you enter business awards, contact Suzi on 07590 591140