Here are some good reasons why you might want to consider adding ‘must enter business competition’ to your ‘to do’ list!
The application process is an opportunity to reflect on what your business is all about and clearly articulate your USP.
It’s an opportunity to work on your business rather than in it by stepping back to look at achievements, challenges, market trends and areas for improvement.
As such it gives you an opportunity to dust off and update the business plan.
Competitions are also about PR, marketing, selling…spin. They’re an opportunity for you to raise the profile of the business for free. Entering the competition will get you into the local press. It’ll probably get you into the regionals and it could get your business national and even international profile.
By working the competition – filling in the forms correctly, engaging with local Ulster Bank reps for the competition, turning up at the networking events, volunteering to give quotes and elbowing yourself into photos, you will get marketing material that’s ‘independent’ for your website and other marcomms. If you progress through the competition there are programs such as Ulster Bank’s Business Achievers Awards that produce corporate videos for all of the short listed companies. These are done by professional companies with editors and designers. You probably cannot afford to produce these yourselves! They are given to you after the competition for your website and other marketing material, and they will impress!
Let your business grow
Working the competition will also give you access to a big network of people that can help your business grow. For obvious reasons the politicans always turn up. You’ll have access to state agencies. You’ll meet all the local and national enterprise support agencies. Bankers, funders, journalists, other successful businesspeople…the big national Awards are a veritable who’s who of the great and the good in business. And you’ll be one of the stars of the show…just by entering. And if you win…!
When you sit down and take the time to apply to a competition, you’ll realize that you have a team supporting you. It illustrates the importance of the support of family and its role in moving your business forward. You’ll see the staff that have and are stepping up to the mark.
You’ll probably get your management involved. Sometimes just by reflecting and internally acknowledging what you’ve achieved together is a major win in its own right.
There are many different competitions out there from local and regional awards to national events. Aside from all the benefits listed above, the winners often benefit from superb packages which may include cash prizes, mentoring, free PR and much more.
Look here, we wont deny that it takes time to enter. We’ve worked with Ulster Bank in particular to get the form down to a fairly slick 20-30 minutes. But even if it takes more time, you owe it to yourself, your staff and your family to give it your best shot.
Even if you’re not short-listed you will benefit from working ‘on’ your business. You can use the knowledge to plan future strategies and identify weak areas. It’ll help you make your business stronger and better. And that’s what it all, eventually, boils down to!