Ever since before I started my business I wanted to with the South Australian Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year Award. I started my business when I was 23 so I thought I had plenty of time. It got closer and closer to the age cut off before I finally bit the bullet. I nominated myself!
To make a long story short (because I know you're dying to know!), I didn't win. Really, it wasn't surprising at all. However, what was a thrill was that I was one of three finalists in the category. I was so proud! And it was a thrill to share this with my family and my team.
That could have been the end of it. I could have posted my finalist logo on my website and in my email signature and left it at that. Yet the best part about the awards came afterwards. Perhaps not all Awards are like this, but the Telstra Business Women's Awards, especially in my state of South Australia, has an amazing alumni. Since the awards so many more opportunities and clients have come my way. It has honestly been one of the best experiences of my business life, not only for the marketing opportunities, but also for the confidence it instilled in me.
So, should you enter Awards too? I say yes!
Apply Before Your're Ready - Honestly, what's the worst that could happen? You're not going to get mocked in front of a crowd of people. You're not going to be called to be told you were wrong for applying. The worst that's going to happen is that you don't hear anything back, or you simply get a thanks but unfortunately......response. The best thing, you become a finalist or, even better, win an award!
The Application Process is Fantastic - Most awards have a somewhat rigorous process. It is a great opportunity to evaluate your progress and to recognise how far you've come. As business owners we don't often sit down and think about all the things we have achieved, we're usually striving to reach the next goal. We need to stop and acknowledge what we've done every once in a while, it's good for the soul.
Be Confident In Who You Are - What I have learnt from my awards experience is that we all have a story and things we can share with people. The ladies I had the honour of joining as part of the awards were a rather illustrious group. Yet I've gotten to know many of them very well, and my neck isn't quick as stiff after lowing their pedestal just a touch. They in turn have been genuinely interested and supportive in me and my business. It really has been an honour to become a part of this group, and I didn't even win an award!
Take Advantage Of The Media - As soon as you are identified as a finalist you need to take advantage of the media. Have media releases ready to send to key outlets. Share the news on social media. Write about it in your newsletter. Even write a blog post. Even if you don't win an Award, newspapers, particularly those local to you, love to share good news stories like these. It is a prime opportunity to get your name out there - you must make the most of it.
I challenge you now to take action. Research potential Awards you could be a part of. Identify at least one that you will nominate yourself for. Then set the date that you will do this by, preferably within the next 12 months. Go on, do it! I assure you it will be a positive experience for you. Accepted my challenge? Please share your results below! Which Award are you going to nominate for? Did you get a phone call?