Updated: Mar 24
Written by: Annette Densham, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
There's a good old saying 'you've got to be in it to win it.' They're not just hollow words. If you have started a business or growing a business, it is because you have a solution to a problem. You want people to know what you do and how you can help them. So the name of the game is to stand out. That means putting yourself out there.
When it comes to business awards, many in business have preconceived ideas about the process; not based on fact, but bound up in personal belief systems, misinformation, and assumptions. There are many reasons people don't enter, including:
I've not done enough (there are many awards with start-up categories)
I'm not good enough (that is impostor syndrome talking. Pick up a pen and brain dump all the wins you've had in the past year, and you'll see you are good enough. Why not you?)
I don't want to give financials (most awards I know don't want your figures; only percentage growth or client growth or other achievement markers)
It's all about ego (well, maybe some are, but most are a celebration of a business's achievements)
My clients are not impressed by awards (maybe your prospective clients might be impressed, PR is all about perception and putting yourself out there)
It costs too much (yep, some do have an entry fee, some don't. If you have to pay one, count as a marketing cost)
I'm waiting for someone to nominate me (don't hold your breath, if it is to be, it is up to you. Why wait?)
It's all about showing off (it depends on how you look at it. I'm biased - awards are a great op to benchmark, reflect, and step up. What's wrong with celebrating your wins?)
What if I don't win, I'll be embarrassed (maybe you don't win, but I can guarantee that your followers and supporters will be impressed you had a go. Who wins everything anyway?)
I'm not sure what to do (ask :) )
I'm too busy, I don't have enough time (outsourcing is your friend)
My business is too small (there are so many awards for small business, from solo businesses to small businesses with 20 employees)
I don’t do anything glamorous or earth-shattering (there are so many awards for so many industries, niches, and categories, which I guarantee I can find one to fit any business)
I bet everyone wins or makes the finals (there are some awards that are truly ego-based, but after 10 years of writing submissions, there are far more that have a rigorous process you have to go through. Only the ones who make an effort and meet selection criteria get through)
I'll wait till next year when I have done more (maybe you will, maybe you will find another reason not to enter. Chances are you have done enough given the wide variety of awards out there)
I'll be a judge so I can see what the process is (awards have really clear selection criteria so you can see what the process is. Being a judge doesn't necessarily make things clearer - judges are human and make human decisions, and what is right for one award may not apply to another).
One thing is certain, if you do not have a go, you will never know what the outcome might have been.
Awards are just one element of a robust profile building plan. If you want to stand out, then you have to be prepared to do things that make you uncomfortable; the joys of small business marketing.
Until you go through the awards process, you have no idea of the serendipitous outcomes awaiting you -- the boost to your confidence and your team's, insights into your business you'd never have had if you hadn't dug deep through the awards process, the gravitas money can't buy, and the credibility that comes from putting your business out there.
What have you got to lose?
Annette Densham, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Multi-award-winning PR specialist Annette Densham is considered the go-to for all things business storytelling, award submission writing, and assisting business leaders establish themselves as authorities in their field. She has shared her insights into storytelling, media and business across Australia, UK and US speaking for Professional Speakers Association, Stevie Awards, Queensland Government and many more. Three times winner of the Grand Stevie Award for Women in Business, gold Stevie International Business Award and a finalist in Australian Small Business Champion awards, Annette audaciously challenges anyone in small business to cast aside modesty, embrace their genius and share their stories.