Who are Business Awards For?

Business awards are a curious exercise.

They’re often not what they appear. They’re not, for instance, a chance for you to be celebrated and recognised by your peers i.e. The other businesses in the room. They don’t particularly know or care who you are.

This can sometimes make the ceremony feel a little insincere. A lot of businesses look at awards simply as a PR exercise. When you’re trying to get new clients, it’s nice to have some silverware in the trophy cabinet.

It’s not so much about the award, it’s about what the award means.

I find it funny then, that there are so many awards that require you to apply to be considered. Small business has become so laser-focused, that outside of the people you’re impacting, your business can still be largely anonymous.

The result is that you’re not actually recognised for doing great work. Rather, the award forces you to hustle for your worthiness by telling a panel of judges just how great the work you did was. As a consequence, the award is often won by the business who tells their story the best. Not necessarily who did the best work.

The other shoe really drops if you win an award, take the stage and realise that still, nobody really cares. They weren’t there for you, they wanted to win themselves and you might have just cost them their chance.

But that’s okay, because it’s not for them! In fact, a business award should really only be won for two groups of people: Your team and your customers.

Entering an award to prove that you’re the best is a bit silly in reality. It’s a self-congratulatory process that is proved according to who? An honest award might be named “the best according to someone” award.

On the other hand, entering an award to give recognition and credit to your team is a nice thing to do. We did it, we made this happen! You get to celebrate how far you’ve come as a group.

For customers, it can also be satisfying to hear a company you care about has won an award. “I was right!” They get to think to themselves. “I’ve been with them for years.” The elevation of their status makes the announcement a story worth telling. It’s also a great way for you to deepen and reward the trust you’ve earned with them over the years.

Which is done by living up to the promise of the award that you’ve won. Not just when it suits you, but every time you work with them.

Mike Drysdale

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