This year, NFU Mutual is once again sponsoring the British Chambers of Commerce award in the small business category.

The awards ceremony promises to be a fantastic event which marks the culmination of years of dedication and hard work on the part of entrants and months of preparation from the organisers. But, what exactly is in it for the entrants?

When the glitter and glamour of the ceremony has subsided and the gong sits proudly in the entrance to your premises, some might question the discernible benefit of winning the award.

Given the sheer number of opportunities for businesses to throw their name into the hat, the benefits of winning are bound to differ. Prizes range from cash to coaching, workshops to business advice - some entrants want nothing more than a token for the trophy cabinet. However, many benefits come not from winning but committing the time to entering.

Brand Credibility

Business awards can give small businesses a great opportunity to make your marketing go further. By leveraging your entry, potential shortlisting and hopefully a win, you can enhance your business credibility and reputation by making reference to the award across your marketing and sales materials. Success in awards is also a great chance for businesses to gain some valuable press coverage. Think about where you want greater levels of awareness and create press releases for appropriate publications, be they local newspapers or specific trade press. Depending on the scale of the award, there may be an opportunity for you to work with the organisation’s PR team or agency in order to generate greater levels of coverage.

The process

It might seem funny to think of the process of entering an award as beneficial in itself – but, as you complete the application form you will find yourself considering things from a different perspective. Looking at your business in comparison to your peer group will likely help you to identify ways that you can improve your business, its processes and its image. This might be more valuable to your business than progressing to winning the award itself.

Employee pride and motivation

Working for an employer that wins awards is vindication of the work that they and their colleagues undertake; it is something to be proud of.  Using success to engage employees will increase morale, and research has shown engagement will likely drive higher levels of productivity and lower levels of employee turnover.

Attract talent

Building a positive reputation through award nominations and wins will enhance your reputation not only amongst potential customers but also potential employees. Successfully leveraging the awards in your recruitment activity will ensure that candidates are more likely to consider opportunities within your business.

Building your network

One unavoidable, yet positive consequence of progressing through an award is the number of events that you’re likely to attend. This will be an opportunity to network with other businesses entered into the awards (generally across multiple categories), which will give you a chance to identify new opportunities and talk to others about your business, potentially generating new business or ideas.