If you had told me 18 months ago, when I started my business, that I would soon be attending my third Awards Ceremony, I would have laughed!

Back in March I was fortunate enough to attend the annual Kent Women in Business Awards (KWIBA) in Maidstone, Kent where, for the second time, I had been nominated for an Award by several of my clients.

And boy; what a night it was!

It was only afterwards, when my husband and I were sitting in bed (eating cheese on toast for our midnight snack), that it occurred to me: I own a successful business.

Ok that sounds weird, but anyone who knows my story knows that I haven’t had the easiest of journeys. Like many other women in business, it’s taken me a long time to arrive at this point in my life. The transition from being an employee to being a business owner has been a long one. I may have started my business a year and a half ago, but the truth is it’s taken a while to fully shift my mind-set to one of a business owner, let alone one who’s ready to accept that she’s arrived!

To be considered for an Award is amazing. Not only is it an amazing accomplishment for me but, more importantly, it’s recognition for my business.

Awards logos

So why are Awards important and how can they help you to build your brand?

As a designer my main priority is my clients, but as a business owner, my main priority is to grow my company and position it in the best light in order to win more clients. This is where the power of Awards comes in.

First thing’s first: filling out an Award form is pretty daunting; after all they tend to be quite long and usually require you to dig deep and talk yourself up, which can be really hard when we’ve had the importance of modesty drilled into us since our school days. So why bother?

Well, to put it simply… Awards can REALLY help your brand – especially if you win.

Let me give you 5 reasons why Awards are worth it, even if you don’t win:

1. Business appraisal

If ever there was an ideal time to stop and reflect, this is it.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the ‘doing’ that we forget to stop and reflect on how far we have come. Going through the Awards process gives you the perfect opportunity to stop and think about your achievements.

What was interesting for me about attending this year’s KWIBA event was that I could measure myself against where I was last year. I realised that both myself and my business have come a long way. My thinking is different as, somewhere along the way, I had a shift in mindset. I also realised that my vision and my goals are bigger than ever before because I also recognised that our only limitations are the ones that we place on ourselves.

2. Visibility

Just being shortlisted for an Award can help drive brand awareness and put your business directly in front of all a whole new array of customers.

The free marketing that comes from being associated with an Awards event can have a huge positive impact on your brand and who doesn’t like a bit of free marketing?

3. Awards help define quality

Let’s face it, if you have been nominated for an Award then you must be pretty good at what you do. You’ve been nominated for a reason, so be proud that you’re on the right track.

4. Motivation

There’s nothing like an Awards ceremony to leave you feeling inspired and motivated. Just being there amongst all those amazing businesses gave me a much-needed boost!

Sometimes running a business can be hard work and draining. It’s hard to switch off as there is constantly so much to do. It’s easy to get caught up in the little things and forget why you are building your ‘empire’ in the first place.

5. Build contacts

 These days, when you’re nominated for an award, you tend to get sent a little banner to use on social media. This banner is your best friend! It can help you identify other nominees so that you can start conversations with them, and it helps you get noticed by other people who will want to know all about it.

Then there’s the ceremony itself, which is one big networking event!

Summary

All in all, whether you win an award or not, the whole process is a rewarding, invigorating and exciting one, so don’t be afraid to apply for awards, or ask your clients to nominate you. Your business is worth celebrating!

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