I suppose it is fair to comment that I might be a bit late in asking that question, as entries for this year’s Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards have now closed, and the judges will be well into the process of judging.
But the whole experience of being part of those Awards for the past three years has got me thinking about what awards are all about, and why small businesses should enter; and hopefully, why they should party hard when they win!
So here are some reasons, which I think are compelling – hope you do so as well.
Measure of performance
One of the main problems with running a small business is that owner-managers get so close to the day-to-day operating part of their business that they sometimes lose the ability to evaluate the quality of what they are doing. An external judgement by a panel can be a good way of bringing us back down to earth with a bump!
The Big Picture
Related to that first point is the reality that the tightly structured nature of the awards processes means that we are forced to think a lot more about why we are doing things than our more usual concern with what we are doing and how we are doing it.
The future focus built into many awards judging criteria is that owners are required to think forward (which can of course be planned) rather than reflecting on the past, which is a bit beyond the reach of even the best of planners!
I know that it would be painful for the owner-manager of an enterprise to be told that customer service is sub-standard, or that credit control processes are sloppy. It would be worse not to be told those things, because the owner-manager would be unaware of the shortcoming and therefore carry on in serene confidence that all is well.
Awards let you find out who is doing better.
True, you would not win all the awards that are available in any given competition; and of course, there is a fair possibility that you may not win any. But the success stories of those firms who win an award, and the things they did that helped them to get there can provide a whole range of ideas for directions that you can take your firm to improve its performance.
This is true both during the awards process and the post awards ceremony.
If we engage the staff in preparing the entry, and incentivise them with the promise of a table at the gala dinner if we win a finalist nomination, the staff would get a real buzz, realising that they have been recognised as excellent in some way.
Awards offer the chance to secure another competitive advantage.
Companies winning awards would have a ready-made add-on to their marketing profile. You should ask yourself the question, “How would ‘Best Small Business 2013 Award’ or ‘Business Excellence in Innovation 2013 Award’ look on our letterhead, business cards, and website?”
You will probably gather from this that I am a strong supporter of the Awards concept, and of the benefits that small firms can get from going through the process.
I hope that your firm is one that has already seen the benefits in that respect – if not, there is always next year!
Ken Simpson is Business Development Manager of Unitec Institute of Technology based in Auckland. Unitec is the Sponsor of the ‘Business Excellence in Innovation’ Category of the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2013.