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Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the QLD Telstra Business Awards and present the MYOB Small Business award.

In addition to being inspired by the businesses involved in the awards program, it also got me thinking about the substantial benefits of entering business awards.

In 1996, MYOB won a Telstra Business Award and even today we take pride in winning this award, which gave us the inspiration to continue to grow and expand on our vision to make business life easier for Aussie business owners. It might sound clichéd, but the benefits for our team were as much about the journey as the award itself. The process enabled us to take a step back and re-assess our business plan and direction with a fresh perspective that has helped our team in the long run.

And that’s one of the positive outcomes the entry process for awards programs can deliver for your business, giving you the opportunity to take a fresh look at your business, open your mind to new ideas and providing the motivation to achieve even more than you have already.  In the end, it’s the process that’s just as important and significant as the outcome.

There are numerous business award programs in Australia, which can be a great springboard for you to continue growing your business and your brand. Awards programs also recognise the tremendous job you, and your teams, are doing.

If you’re thinking of entering an award, be sure to give yourself the time to do your application justice and make sure the person completing the entry is a competent communicator. Set out a clear strategy for winning by understanding the judging criteria and the specific requirements of the awards. The majority of business awards require you to concisely explain what you do, what you’ve done and where you’re going, so get staff involved in business planning and developing your business vision. This will have the additional benefit of improving staff engagement and morale.

For applications that require financials, ‘crunching the numbers’ can give you a better understanding of the overall health of your business – although I would emphatically say that this should be a process undertaken regularly regardless of any awards!

Speaking to a judging panel can be good practice for future speaking events, and the actual awards evening is a great opportunity to meet key industry contacts and network with like-minded businesspeople.

If your business is nominated as a finalist and/or wins an award, there are even more benefits that national exposure and publicity can generate – not to mention the windfall of any prizes – but you do need to be proactive to leverage the win. Work it!

A great way to do this is to issue a media release to help your business gain as much media coverage as possible. Also, let your customers know through a direct mail campaign – perhaps with a ‘winner’s promotion’ – and be sure to include “award-winning” and the award logo on all future correspondence, advertising and promotional materials.

Being involved in an awards program can provide fantastic opportunities to enhance networks, business relationships, marketing opportunities, team and client engagement and business planning.  Business awards can also be an effective vehicle to increase sales, gain credibility and generate exposure, but it’s important to note that the application process is not for the half-hearted – it requires a committed approach and a lot of work to be worthwhile.

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Julian Smith

Julian Smith

Julian Smith is responsible for MYOB’s corporate affairs, government and public relations in Australia and New Zealand and is also New Zealand general manager. The qualified lawyer has spent much of his career at large multinationals in a range of senior legal, sales, marketing and customer management roles. Julian is a regular keynote speaker and business commentator and sits on a number of government and industry boards and advisory panels. Julian can be found on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/JulianTSmith">@JulianTSmith</a> or contacted via email Julian.smith@myob.com

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