South Africa has numerous awards designed to recognise the achievements of our homegrown industries and entrepreneurs. It’s a great way to celebrate excellence and can offer multiple business advantages.
Whether your business is starting out or even if it’s already well-established, you can benefit from entering the right awards.
Here are my reasons for putting yourself forward:
1. Maximise brand visibility
By being shortlisted or winning an award, your brand is thrown into the spotlight.
Credible awards can generate significant publicity, and with the process spanning weeks or even months, you have a steady stream of content you can use on your website and social media platforms. So, use it.
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Share your involvement on social media, use the hashtags associated with the awards and connect with other businesses involved. You can also use comments from the judges commending your business, in press releases, in your newsletter and place the award logo on your marketing material.
2. Evaluate your business model
The application process forces you to look at your business from a different perspective.
In entering, you need to make sure you stand out from the rest. Look at what makes you different: innovation, diversity, growth, customer service, investment in people or strategic thinking. Review what works and adds to your success, and what hinders business growth. And if you don't win, this process might even be more valuable than winning the award itself.
3. Networking opportunity
Awards tend to be judged by successful entrepreneurs, and by being shortlisted you have a chance to discuss your business with industry leaders.
During the awards process, use all opportunities to meet fellow entrants, forge new relationships and learn from your peers. They're there because they're also an achiever, and there are always things to learn.
4. Increase credibility
An award win, short-listing or nomination is a form of a third-party endorsement. And as such, it increases your credibility and positions you as an expert in your industry.
As a winner, it differentiates you from your competitors and can provide a competitive advantage when attracting and retaining customers. If you're looking for investment, an award win demonstrates that you are recognised as the best or holding great potential.
5. Celebrate your team
Awards recognise the hard work your team has placed into your business.
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So, you can use a shortlist or win to boost staff morale and motivate them. You wouldn't be where you are without them, which is why it's important to acknowledge their contribution.
6. Differentiation can be distilled
Awards allow you to benchmark yourself against others and will enable you to stand out from the rest. To gain maximum value, do your research and choose an award aligned to your business and values.
By carefully selecting the right category for you, you can find a niche which makes you stand out from the rest. If you can show how you make a difference, and how you are different, you can create a differentiator that means customers pick you over your competitors.