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FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards – why it’s worth it (and what to do!)

By Gary Smith, Co-founder, Prism – IT at Work

Following a decade on the business awards circuit, FSB member Prism – IT at Work is the headline sponsor of FSB’s 2018 North West Celebrating Small Business Awards. Here, Co-founder Gary Smith provides some top tips to help firms come out on top.

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We first entered the world of awards in the year of 2007 when a business associate nominated us because they felt that people should know about what we do.

In the years that followed, we have gone on to win, lose or reach finalist status in dozens of awards. We’ve enjoyed the ride while making the best use of the experience possible. 

We’ve even learned how to put on our brave happy-for-the-winner faces as and when required. It seems you really can’t win ‘em all, but it’s not all about winning. The awards circuit is fabulously fertile ground for growing your business profile, not to mention high net worth networking. 

OK, so now you’re sold on the idea, how do you get started on the competition circuit?

Pick Your Fights


There’s no shortage of choice when it comes to deciding on the business award you want to go for. Some are industry specific, some regional and some national and the permutations of all three range far and wide.  

To start with, choose a regional category to stand the best chance of standing out and upping the recognition factor. 


Take some time to research the category that suits you best in terms of ability, achievements and future business plan. No point entering best baker of the year if you’re a butcher, eh?

Enter the Ring


Depending on the award, preparing your entry can either be a breeze or a dreadful drain on time and resources. 

In any case, make sure your time and effort isn’t wasted and stick to the rules. Be mindful of prescribed word counts, for instance. Always give the judges what they’ve asked for, nothing more and nothing less. 

Pay attention to detail and be prepared to spend whatever time it takes to gather all the information the judges require or create stunning visuals to make your entry stand out. 

Weigh up the Odds


Check out who you’re up against. This is almost as good as competitor analysis, just done by someone else. 

Some of the finalists we’ve competed against have gone on to become clients, suppliers – even business friends. 

Work the Ceremony

You don’t have to attend, but if you give the award ceremony a miss, you’ll be the one missing out. Get involved.

The awards ceremony is a great opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and share the experience with your clients, team or potential backers. 

No matter whether you win or lose, it really is the taking part that matters, so make the most of the event and network like mad. 

There is often a pre-event or post-event publicity opportunity as well as a programme on the evening that you your business can feature in. 

Even if you don’t win, there’s always the consolation prize of great content for your social media channels, newsletters and advertising. 

There really are few other occasions where a good SME can be recognised and get the chance to tell everyone about it so unashamedly for the next 12 months. 

So, go for it. Make awards part of your 2018 marketing plan. It’s worth it!