Several years ago I entered my running product in an industry awards contest that was sponsored by NASDAQ and launched at a large, well-established fitness trade show. After a few rounds it finally ended up being one of the semi finalists.
Before the trade show we were an unknown company with a brand new product, and we were struggling to get some traction and recognition with retail buyers.
Because of the contest we had buyers visiting our booth, which was hidden in the basement floor of the trade show. And at the end of the show NASDAQ had a party for the semi finalists, along with a lot of publicity.
This happened again when we won the Toyman award for innovation and quality, as voted on by consumers, and then became a product of the year in Creative Child Magazine. We got an extra boost in traffic and sales after both of them.
So, is it a good idea for small businesses to apply for awards? Do they help? Here are a few responses from small business owners:
“In the early days of our company, we won several Golden Phone Awards and
Alex Awards (named for Alexander Graham Bell). Those awards really gave us
credibility and drove additional business to the company. An industry
award is a lot more than just winning a glass trophy!”
“I won the award for best comedian at a contest at the DC Improv comedy
club. This led to many, many opportunities, including performing in 28
countries on five continents, starring in an Apple commercial, doing a
voiceover for Family Guy, and performing for the president of the United
Dan Nainan – Comedian
“Packable Pails, full sized collapsible beach pails invented by mom Melissa Reed, won the 2015 Creative Child Magazine Toy of the Year. We saw doors open in the retail industry from winning this award.”
If you think your small business would benefit from winning an industry award, here are some tips to get you started:
- Target general awards – You can start by looking for awards in small business or entrepreneurship. You’ll have more competition, but if you can land some big small business awards it’ll help your business jump ahead nationally.
- Target industry specific awards – Winning an industry award will help you become respected in your own industry, whether you’re looking for buyers for a retail product, customers for a service business or just industry recognition. You’ll have less competition and more chances of being a big fish in a small pond.
- Target most important awards– Not all awards will help your business. I won four TV and film writing awards, but only two of them were really recognized by the industry. It may not hurt you to get those lesser awards, but it also may not help you that much either. Most organizations giving the awards charge money to enter, so don’t waste your money on the ones that don’t matter.
Once you have your award, promote it everywhere you can, in your newsletter, press releases, social media, and your website. A well-known and respected industry award can do wonders for your small business.