As a small business you are probably already engaged in several areas of marketing and social media to gain new customers, such as email, Facebook, and telemarketing. One easy and often overlooked marketing tactic you should also consider for your small business is applying for corporate awards. Being on a list of the top industry leading companies can do wonders to gain new customers and attract top performing employees. Why? Because people want to connect with winners! If a prospect or a potential employee is deciding between you and your competitor, with all else being equal, if you have won awards chances are the scale will be tipped in your favor.
Being on a list, no matter how easy it was for you to gain acceptance to it, legitimizes your business and sends a message that you are experts in your field. Plus once you are on a list, you can use that as promotional content for your website, advertising and social media. Prominently displaying plaques and trophies in your lobby will impress visitors and motivate employees to win again the following year.
There are different list categories that you can consider. Some are based on your specific industry (“Top MSP Provider”); some by sales and growth numbers (“Inc. 5000”); some for executives (“40 under 40”, “Women Who Mean Business”); and others by community service, diversity or even being green (“Best Place to Work”). It’s best to focus on your company’s or your employee’s strengths so what you excel at will allow you to stand out and get recognized.
In most cases the award applications are free. If you win, you may be expected to purchase a ticket to the awards event or advertise in the program book, but it is typically not mandatory. Filling out an application may take considerable time and in the process you may realize that your business does not have the proper systems in place to complete the data that the award application requires. Or, the questions they are asking represent best practices in your industry and your company is not operating at that level. Even if this is the case, awards measure your growth as a company and allow you to measure success to industry leaders.
Inc. 5000 (2017 award application available in January)
Alliance for Workplace Excellence (due January 6, 2017)
As a small business, you have dreamed big and worked hard, so why not get the recognition your deserves for its success? Research a few awards and make the decision to apply for one or two in the coming year. Who knows, you could be a winner!
Written By Karen Kalantzis
Karen Kalantzis is the Operations and Community Manager at Launch Workplaces, a private office and coworking community for small business with locations in Gaithersburg, Rockville, Tysons, Edgewater and Towson. Prior to working with the small business community, Karen founded Corporate Network Services, Inc. (now called Main Spring) in 1993 with 3 employees out of a townhouse basement to provide low voltage cabling for local area networks. The company flourished, and over the years expanded its offerings as a full service IT provider. Karen was named a “CEO to Know” by the Capital Gazette, and her company was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies, won numerous Best Place to Work Awards, and Washington Business Journal list of top IT training companies.