Happy New Year to you all. It’s well past that point, but let’s start the year on a positive. If you weren’t aware, I won VA of the Year Scotland 2017 at an awards event in Glasgow on 19th January. It’s amazing and I’m thrilled to have won. Thanks very much to BeMyVA who run the VA awards and to the Society of Virtual Assistants (SVA) for hosting the event.

What does an award mean for businesses? Well, for a start you need to be in it to win it. There are a lot of industry awards out there, just waiting for your submission. It’s one of those things that you cannot wait around for someone to invite you to join…that’s not the way they work. You’ve got to step up and put yourself out there.

Awards get people talking about you. There is no denying awards are of great benefit to a business. If you win, the leads and new business from an award could be amazing for you. If you make it to the finals you will usually be asked to attend an event for the announcement – what an amazing networking opportunity. Everything is ready for you to turn up and talk about your business. You can build a social media strategy that not only comes from your engagement but also from the organisers who will promote your business as part of the awards. They want to talk about you as much as you want them to talk about you – it’s great for promoting their awards as well and promoting it.

Make sure you look at local, regional and national opportunities. Chances are there are local business awards in your area. Awards give you visibility and are a way of showing other businesses that you are promoting excellence in your speciality. Even if you haven’t really engaged before within the awards network, there will be a variety of criteria that awards will be judged on.

Below are a few awards that could be relevant for you to investigate for 2018:

The British Small Business Awards
http://britishsmallbusinessawards.co.uk/
The British Small Business Awards event is the leading celebration of the UK’s small business sector, recognising the nation’s best sole traders, micro businesses and small companies – as well as the services providers and advisers that support them.

UK Business Awards
https://ukbizawards.com/
The UK Business Awards are an exciting daytime event created to recognise and celebrate the organisations, teams and individuals who are achieving business excellence. A vehicle for sharing best practice, the awards enable the organisations who enter to promote continuous improvement, learning and personal development.

FSB Awards
https://fsbawards.co.uk/
The Federation of Small Business (FSB) awards showcase the best small businesses from the length and breadth of the UK, offering national recognition for those who have made the biggest impression over the last 12 months. Expert smaller business judges will select category winners in 12 areas across the UK.

Rural Business Awards
https://www.ruralbusinessawards.co.uk/
The aim of the Rural Business Awards is to give recognition to businesses operating right across the Rural sector. The CLA define rural businesses as fitting into three broad categories – Land Based businesses, Land Related Businesses and Other Businesses located in rural areas. Our category selection this year aims to draw together businesses from across these three broad areas to acknowledge the breadth and depth of opportunity presented by the Great British countryside, as well as to celebrate the achievements of our rural businesses, from engineering through to artisan food producers and professional services organisations.

Make sure you’re aware of the awards deadlines if you’re thinking of submitting. These may be regional so check the details carefully. Some awards will also have a fee to enter, but it won’t be much so don’t let it stop you from powering on. I’m so proud to have been named a Finalist of the Farm Business Innovation Show Business Services Awards 2017 and Winner of the VA of the Year Scotland Awards. My confidence and enthusiasm for promoting my business has had an enormous boost and I can’t emphasise enough the doors it could open for you too – you just need to take the first step and enter.

Need some help to enter?

If you are thinking that you’d like to enter for an award in 2018 and are not sure where to start, why not get in touch and we can discuss a strategy for your submission. Email me at louisa@blueninja.co.uk and get a conversation started. I’m happy to share my journey with you.  You never know where winning an award will take you!