Awards are amazing for your business but the one mistake that I see people make is thinking that this is an ALL or NOTHING opportunity.
A SUCCEED or FAIL. A WIN or LOSE. A GOOD or BAD. But the truth is winning is only a small part of the value that you can get from entering awards.
The true ‘gold’ is to be had in how well you leverage the opportunity.
Here are my top 5 suggestions for being a winner when it comes to awards regardless of whether you take home a trophy:
- Tell EVERYBODY. Being nominated or becoming a finalist is a big deal on its own. Write about it in your social media. Include it in your email signature. Share pics of selecting the dress you’ll wear and what being a finalist means to you and your vision for your business. Let your community be part of your celebration.
- Thank everyone who has helped you to get to where you are today. Awards are a celebration of you and everyone who has helped you get to where you are. Send texts or thank you cards to your mentors and best supporters who you know will be happy and excited for you or invite them to join you at the event.
- Leverage the PR opportunity. The media has to come up with new things to talk about every day. They love feel good stories especially your local paper. So put together a press release and some photos to announce your good news and get in touch with them, I’ve seen so many businesses get incredible opportunities on TV, in the paper or featured in online articles as finalists in the lead up to the event.
- Network. The networking potential from being a part of an awards event is incredible, your fellow finalists, the judges, the special guest speakers are all interesting people that you have something in common with now. I recommend connecting with them on LinkedIn or social media in the lead up to the event (especially if you’re an introvert) and then introduce yourself at the event. I’ve seen these relationships grow into strategic alliances, business partnerships and close friendships over the last 10 years of our awards, it really is a powerful strategy for your business.
- Find out about what else is happening. Especially if the awards are on in another city (or country) I’ve seen people spend hundreds of dollars to fly to an awards dinner but skip going to the conference to save money and then go home disappointed. If you’re spending time and money to go there maximise the opportunity as much as you can. Go to the conference, tee up business meetings, network with the other attendees, introduce yourself to the event organisers and keynote speakers. Do everything you can to make the most of this opportunity and learn new things, gain advice, create new connections and make the most of this opportunity to grow your business.
These are just a few ways to really make the most of an awards experience. I’d love to hear your suggestions too for really making the most of entering awards.