Forgive me for appearing a little knackered today, however last night I was up in town until midnight at the UK Private Business Awards. Those of you who know me personally will be aware that we have had a flurry of awards this year – well this wasn’t one of them – I didn’t even get round to the finalists. Outrageous, I know!! 😉 However it was very important to go to see and be seen to network and to see what the criteria is for next year.
Because you can bet your bottom dollar I will be applying until I win.
So why do we go for awards here at Diamond? I’ll let you into a secret – I didn’t for a while, genuinely believing in my crazy oppressed head that self-publicity was a bad thing, believing that if we were good enough people would find us on our reputation alone – but that was bollocks. I took the plunge and it has been transformative. You have to go out and seek this publicity – it won’t come to you.
It’s all to do with creating a newsworthy story about us and increasing our profile rather than hiding under a bushel. The ability to meet and network with celebs also helps generate a newsworthy tweet or two. And I thought I’d share a few tips as we started in earnest applying for awards and it has gone hand in hand with our revenues increasing so one can’t help but think it aids your business trajectory.
So here are my top tips to turn your business into an award-winning business.
Choose wisely – there are literally hundreds of awards out there, and the whole awards process does take a lot of time. We match the awards to where we want to be – now and in the future. So regional awards have served our local PR well from a depot perspective here in Guildford, but for the wider reach of Diamond Logistics as a brand it was important to look at national and international awards – hence a few Global and European applications this year.
Choose what is going to reflect what you are doing – I am trying to inspire a whole nation of entrepreneurs so winning entrepreneurial awards and Business Excellence awards feeds those business aims – and choose awards that your audience may know about or at least when you tell them about your win they will recognise as being to relevant to their interest in you.
Focus your attention – if you apply for lots your entry can get diluted in the melee. When I applied for Entrepreneur of the Year I didn’t apply for anything else because that was the win I wanted and I put all my effort into that.
Choose something winnable. I am not going to win CEO of the Year against competitors who are running £400m a year businesses just yet, but Rising Star or Most Ambitious Company is very possible – and the PR benefits will be similar – so choose wisely.
Incorporate your team – it’s not just about you so bring your team into too. Our Bournemouth depot, Birmingham franchise, Derby franchise and my team and directors here at HQ have all made the finals or winners of awards – it not just about me, it’s about the team. And it is amazing for morale.
Keep on trying. Many of the awards we have won in the last year we have won on the third of fourth application. So that persistence and consistency that I prescribe as being the necessary trait of any entrepreneur needs to be applied to your awards process too. Just because you didn’t win this year – don’t let that put you off until you have won.
We have created our own internal annual awards now which incorporate our national network and our team – it’s a big gala event that we hold in palatial surroundings and it really matters to people. That real sense of ceremony and appreciation for their efforts does amazing things for morale, so I can thoroughly recommend it.
Obviously you can’t win them all, and I know a lot of people say getting through to the final is a great accolade – but I can tell you now all my previous finalist certificates have been mothballed and replaced by wins of the same awards, and I like those a whole lot better. In this case it’s not just the taking part that counts – it is absolutely the win that has the ability to propel your business forward so go in hard, go in strong and persist – the PR and profile that results can and will have a great impact on your business.
One final note – after your win – tell everyone who needs to know – stakeholders, team and clients and suppliers. It builds real credibility and can often build a reputation perhaps grander than your current status, and that can be very important for a variety of reasons – my bank, my financiers, my potential clients and franchises all see these awards as making my plans even more credible and that is a good thing when we are aiming high. That external verification by peers is very important and can open many doors. Not to mention the prizes can be fab – my BMWs have been a particular treat after the First Woman Awards – not to mention getting to meet the nation’s favourite Clare Balding – so go for it.
So a summary reminder;
- Choose wisely
- Choose something that reflects where your business is going, not just were you are
- Choose something winnable
- Include your team
- Do your own awards
- Persist and go for the win – even if it means lots of attempts
- Publicise your win
I look forward to hearing all about your successes really soon!