It doesn’t matter what size your business is as a broker or how long you’ve been established, you can still receive great benefits from entering a business award. Awards vary in scale and style but you shouldn’t rule out entering those which may not initially seem the perfect fit. While local and more niche awards may appear to be the best option for smaller brokers or those who have started more recently, it can still be worth considering national and even international awards if you believe in the work that you do.
Why you should enter
You may be thinking that entering awards takes time, effort and in some cases cash investment that you simply don’t have allocated for such an event. While these are all good reasons to pause for thought, once you have weighed up the potential gains that entering and winning awards can bring, those investments may look like less of a risk. It’s also worth noting at this stage that while winning an award is fantastic, the act of participating brings value of its own.
There are a wide variety of benefits to consider, besides the chance at a shiny trophy, they include:
The process of properly preparing your entry for an award requires you to put your own business under scrutiny. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the things that are working well and pinpoint the things that could do with some improvement. Your goal doesn’t have to be to win the award, it could be to determine what might stop you from winning so that six or twelve months down the line you’re well positioned to win the next one.
Entering industry awards can result in really positive coverage. If you’re shortlisted then your brand awareness will take a boost as you're placed in front of a new audience. Being in the running with established and successful competitors sets a benchmark for the quality that potential clients or collaborators can expect from you. Checking out the awards that your competitors are taking part in can also be helpful for deciding which ones to enter yourself. Awards will often provide entrants with collateral to advertise their involvement: make the most of it by including the logo on your website and social media and informing your existing audiences.
There’s a reason that award-winning brokers refer to themselves as such. Being nominated, shortlisted or winning an award is a third party endorsement of the quality of your work. Not only does it encourage potential clients to trust in your brand, it also demonstrates that you show pride in your work. A business that is eager to put itself under the scrutiny of judges demonstrates that it is a business that believes in what it does. To take this one step further, you could apply to represent the industry by taking on the role of a judge yourself.
Everybody likes to be recognised for their hard work. Receiving a nomination, being shortlisted or securing a win is great for the morale of you and your colleagues. Awards are an opportunity to shout about the great things you do and focus on the positives, they’re also a good excuse for a party. Award ceremonies, which we hope to see returning in the not so distant future, offer countless chances for networking. Furthermore, when you demonstrate that your business is making strides for recognition you may attract the new talent that you’re looking for.
Once you’re convinced about the benefits of awards you need to decide which ones are right for you. You can find local awards through your local chamber of commerce, a good old-fashioned google search will also provide you with options. Consider looking at award-winning brokers in your space whom you admire and research the awards that they have entered. While the decision-making is unique to your business, there are some useful things to keep in mind:
Do you have the turnaround time required to prepare your entry? If the deadline is a while away, does it fall at a time that is particularly busy for you?
Who are the judges?
A good award will be judged by independent experts. Entering those awards can be a great opportunity to get your business in the minds of industry leaders.
How much does it cost?
Some awards have higher barriers to entry than others. Once you factor in ticket prices for awards ceremonies, travel and accommodation, those costs can add up.
Where will the ceremony be held?
If you’re nominated you’ll want to celebrate. Is the ceremony being held on the other side of the country, is it realistic that you and your team can attend?
Some awards require more time dedicated to preparing an entry than others. Look carefully at what they are asking from you and make sure you have the time to deliver that properly.
Once you’ve decided on the most suitable awards to enter, you need to get your application right. There are businesses which specialise in producing award entries for others, which is an option, but there are certainly things you can do yourself to improve your chances.
Know what you’re good at
Depending on the exact nature of the award you’re entering, make sure that the work you provide is an example of you at your best.
Understand the brief
Showcasing your best work is great, if it fits the category of the award you’re entering. Make sure that what you provide in your application is relevant.
Learn from the best
Look at previous winners, what work did they display? What made them win? Can you use a similar approach in your entry?
Spend the time
Don’t underestimate how long it can take to put a good entry together. If you have the capacity to designate hours to an awards strategy team, that can be a good place to start.
There’s a lot to be gained for brokers who use industry and business awards to their advantage. Awards can be a powerful tool in your wider marketing strategy with positive effects on morale, customer retention and business growth.
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