Last month I had the pleasure of attending the British Small Business Awards having been shortlisted for the ‘best workspace provider’ award. It was a fantastic evening and wonderful opportunity to have SiGNAL’s name recognised on a national scale. While we didn’t win our category, The Trampery very deservedly received that honour, there are many other benefits to being nominated than having a lovely evening in a posh London hotel!

From the people I met at the awards evening, to the being able to say that we rank – almost – as highly as workspaces like The Trampery, I would highly recommend entering awards like this if you get the opportunity. It’s not our first awards evening either. The Farnham Hub, a business I recently sold to the amazing Jonathan Howkins, was nominated for the ‘best website’ in the Surrey Digital Awards a couple of years ago. Again, winning is not what it’s all about. A prestigious event like this can really help put your business in the spotlight whether you win or not. Here’s why I’m going to continue entering business awards and reap the benefits of being shortlisted:

It’s not the winning that counts – small business awards

  1. It’s PR and marketing gold dust!

Being shortlisted for an award is a great opportunity to reach new customers and a wider audience than you might achieve by yourself. The clout of the organisation behind the awards, with their social media channels, email marketing database, PPC budget, PR and marketing teams, and sponsors can give your business some great publicity. Just make sure you make the most of it while it lasts!

  1. Great for networking

Attending awards is a fantastic way to meet new people and build your network. At the recent British Small Business Awards I met a number of influential people who I was able to talk to about SiGNAL and what we are doing here in Bordon. It was also a great opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from each other. The Surrey Digital Awards were good for networking too, I met a number of people who later became guest speakers at our Hub sessions, as well as prospective new members.

  1. Increases your credibility

As the ‘new kids on the block’ in Bordon it’s fantastic that an external organisation has given us recognition for what we do. It’s an endorsement from a trusted third party that is invaluable when many of our users are new to our services. Being nominated or shortlisted (and of course winning) a business award can really help you position your business as experts in your field, and differentiate you from your competitors.

  1. Helps you benchmark your success

I’ve learned lots from the other businesses that were also nominated for the British Small Business award. We were up against some very established businesses and so it’s been interesting to look at what they do and what we can take away from this process. Similarly the judges’ comments about your business, the winner and other nominees are useful for benchmarking where you are now, and what you can do to achieve more in the future.

  1. See your small business grow

If you make the most of the opportunity the combination of free publicity, third party endorsement, new connections and a clearer idea of what makes your business stand out from competitors, is a recipe for business growth. Awards can really give your small business a boost, generating new leads and sales on the back of them.

As you can see, while it’s great to win an award there’s lots to gain simply by being shortlisted. You don’t even have to hope that someone will nominate your business either, there are many awards that you can enter yourself. Here are a few local business awards you might consider entering:

North Hampshire INSPIRE Business Awards

Surrey Business Awards

Surrey Digital Awards

Toast of Surrey Business Awards

Venus Awards the “Working Women’s Oscars”

Winchester Business Excellence Awards

There are also lots of industry specific awards you can enter.