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Plan to Achieve

The launch of the Business Achievers Awards last week dovetails nicely with our own pumping up of the need for business planning and our promotion of a new Business Planning Tool.

The Business Achievers Awards competition is in its 20th year and is probably one of the biggest and most broadly based competitions on the island with categories to appeal to most businesses of all sizes across sectors.

We have a micro-site dedicated to the Awards as part of Small Business Can. You’ll find case studies of past winners. You’ll also find information on benefits of entering, categories and tips for filling in application forms.

Here are some good reasons why you might want to consider adding ‘must enter business competition’ to your ‘business planning to do’ list!

  1. The application process is an opportunity to reflect on what your business is all about and clearly articulate your USP.
  2. 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.
  3. It will give you time to reflect on new angles and perspectives to overcome obstacles or to plot new strategies for growth.
  4. 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. You could get your business national and even international profile.
  5. By working the competition – filling in the forms correctly, engaging with local 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.
  6. If you progress through the competition there are some 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 yourself! They are given to you after the competition for your website and other marketing material, and they will impress!
  7. Working the competition will also give you access to a big network of people that can help your business grow. The politicians always turn up. You’ll meet 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…!
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!


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